I grew up in rural Minnesota and spent my childhood either climbing trees or searching the racks at the local library. As a kid, my love of words and commitment to looking at the world from a unique point of view led many adult mentors to encourage me to pursue a career as an author when I grew up.
And so I did.
When I turned 45 and was no longer afraid of my own voice.
I have now written four young adult novels: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE, SEARCHING FOR GRACE, TAKING THE STAND, and GRAVITY. Though The Crossfire Trilogy and Gravity are quite different, each one of my books is character-driven and explores the journey of young adults, often marginalized, who are bound to discover the courage to create an authentic life…if the journey doesn’t break them.
My passion for creating art that accurately reflects the contemporary young adult’s life often leads me to write scenes some adults might find uncomfortable or objectionable. However, I write without apology for either content or language choice because it’s too damn important to me that my books might help my young adult readers to see themselves in my characters and not feel alone in this world or, more importantly, imagine a future they have the right to pursue.
In 2014, I won the Saints & Sinner’s Literary Festival’s Emerging Writer Award for my first novel, CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE. My most recent book, GRAVITY, is the grittiest book I’ve written and explores what occurs when we leap so far we are forced to face the shadow self that lies within each of us and allows us to betray the ones we love the most. GRAVITY has recently been named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the Children’s and Young Adult Category as well as a finalist for a Golden Crown Literary Award in the Young Adult Category and has been nominated for a Stonewall Award.
And now for a few fun facts about me…
I was hell on wheels as a kid. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:
I melted crayons on hot water registers, broke our console-style record player by standing on it because it was fun to go round and round, hid inside racks at department stores (hence, my mother’s prematurely greyed hair), tamed a squirrel and named him Charley, and spent most of my childhood reading Archie comic books while sprawled on the highest branch of the highest tree I could climb. Getting the idea?
At some point during elementary school or maybe junior high, I was—apparently—an awkward little boy with love beads and possibly a severe neck injury.
None of this has been confirmed, but ya gotta admit…the proof is pretty damning.
Speaking of the ’70’s, I readily admit being disgruntled about not having lived as a Flapper in the 1920’s. Someday God and I are going to have a long discussion about his decision to drop me right into the era of elephant pants and banana seat bikes. But until I get God’s explanation, I’m recreating the life I should have lived by residing in a quaint 104 year old home I am lovingly restoring to its original beauty. It’s an echo of Deco and a labor of love.
Onto a completely different subject: it might surprise you to learn that I am a BIG fan of tattoos and have three. My favorite one was inspired by the song Blackbird by the Beatles:
But my tattoo isn’t only about a song I love. It’s about times in my life I hated. Times of brokenness. Times when wishes I cherished were blown to bits. Times when I was certain everything I loved was being scattered when, in reality, I was learning how to fly on broken wings. In other words, it’s about the strength I gained by surviving the darkest of days.
Well that was a bit of a downer. Time for another weird fact about me:
And last, but certainly not least, I am owned by possibly the cutest and sweetest dog on the planet. Meet Bella, stealer of socks and hearts ~ the only girl I know who can pull off epically bad hair days with style. She hates squirrels and cats with equal ferocity, tolerates most people, and gives her tummy to the select few she deems worthy. Not sure how I got lucky enough to have her in my life. Maybe it’s God’s way of apologizing for messing up the whole “I shoulda been a Flapper thing.”
Still curious about me? Really?