I was born in Memphis, TN on March 6th, 1990 and have lived there all my life. I'm the middle of five children and have an older brother, older sister, younger sister, and younger brother. I learned how to read when I was very young. Before I learned what words even meant, I liked to invent my own stories.
I was homeschooled from preschool until high-school graduation. My father is a librarian, so he constantly was bringing a variety of books home to me. For a long time, my favorite thing to do each day after school was work on my own stories about a little girl my age named Kate. Kate did a lot of things I did, and she did many things I dreamed about doing. It was through this first character I created that my love for writing began, and I liked to surprise my dad with these stories when he got home from work. I had no idea what plagiarism meant and didn't know anything about the craft of writing; I wrote what I wanted and rewrote parts of books I read that disappointed me. When I wrote, it was as if I left my world for chunks of time and got to visit another. Once, someone asked me if I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I thought for a moment and said that that was silly--why would I want to be something that I already was?
In my high-school years, I was shy. I worried a lot about school. I started taking college courses at the community college near my home when I was only 16, and I felt a lot of pressure to excel. English was still my favorite subject, and I quickly decided to be an English major. I had my first poems published when I was in college, and my concentration was in creative writing. It wasn't long before I learned that writing for children and young adults was the area in writing I cared most about. All my worrying about grades paid off, and I graduated summa cum laude from The University of Memphis in 2011. In 2012, I started graduate school at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and studied creative writing for young people. This means that I got to study and write stories for young children just learning how to read (picture books), but I also got to work on middle-grade stories and works for young adult readers. I graduated from graduate school in 2014.
As I've gotten older, my shyness has disappeared more and more. I now teach college English courses, and nothing brings me greater joy than helping my students and making writing more fun. I often joke that I worry about my students' grades more than they do! When I'm not writing and teaching, I'm spending most of my time with my husband, Kyle. We enjoy traveling, watching movies, cooking, and going to bookstores (our favorite date spot!). I also have a sweet Yorkie named Boston, who sits in my lap whenever I'm writing. Because I like to read my work out loud, Boston is 90% of the time the first one who gets to hear new ideas.
My writing has appeared in Hieroglyph Literary Journal, Balloons Lit. Journal, The Perpetual You, Southern Writers Magazine, and on the Dear English Major website. I also write for Memphis Health + Fitness Magazine. When it comes to health-related topics, I'm passionate about spreading awareness for eating disorders. I've written about my personal experiences with the illness anorexia, and you can read about it on the Beating Eating Disorders website, as well as through the National Eating Disorders Association. Anytime that my work is published, I'm hopeful that in some way, I can encourage, inspire, or entertain someone else.
The Growing Rock is my debut novel. Set in 1937, it's a book of historical fiction and centers around 14-year-old Caroline and the struggles she must handle with coming of age and complex family dynamics. Researching the Great Depression era has been one of the best experiences and challenges I've ever known. I have learned much more about Tennessee's strong southern heritage and the hardships that so many, including my grandparents, faced during this time in history. I am beyond delighted to see Caroline's story in print and to share it with you.