How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pen in my hand! I have vague memories of run-on sentences written in pencil, and floating above my body in a world of fantasy, followed by my teacher circling excessive ands and inserting carets where periods should have been. I’ve been a sponge for good stories my whole life. My big brother Tom introduced me to Tolkien’s epic stories before I could even read. That’s when I first got hooked. Then, high school was a pivotal time. English class was my cherry on top. Inspiring stories poured in, and just as quickly began to flow out.
Just after college, I got my first job at a financial company. I learned a lot about 401ks and investing, but after about a year, I felt the soul-crushing effects of not chasing my dreams, so I abandoned ship. After an interesting and seemingly-fictional sequence of events, I landed a job as a newspaper journalist (one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had). Unfortunately, it didn’t pay the bills, so I found another all-time favorite gig as an editor at an educational publishing house. I got to do a ton of fun historical research and develop educational content, and I worked with so many fun people. But, prompted by a friend/co-worker, I started dabbling in code to give my nerd side some attention, and now I’m a software technical writer. Tech writing is on the driest end of the writing spectrum, but the structuring skills I’ve acquired have proven to be invaluable, and have enabled me to successfully organize my wild thoughts into a novel.
What are some of your favorite authors?
Anita Diamant, Dan Brown, Elizabeth Kostova, Jhumpa Lahiri, Audrey Niffenegger, J.K. Rowling, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne Rice, and of course the beloved Shakespeare, Chaucer, Marlowe, Virgil, and Ovid… to name a few.
What’s your favorite book?
This is always such a hard question. I enjoy so many different genres and writing styles, and cannot choose a single book. My affinity for a book also depends on my emotional needs at a given moment. If I am drowning in real-life tragedy or grief, I prefer an escape into fantasy. I love historical fiction, and any adventure with supernatural forces at play. A few all-time favorites are The Red Tent, The Da Vinci Code, Women Who Run with the Wolves, The Lord of the Rings, and Interview with the Vampire.
What made you want to be an author?
My way of dealing with the real-life demons and various apocalypses that have stormed my life is to throw myself into other worlds (via reading or writing). Creating my own world, with my own characters, is extra cool because they are with me all the time, growing and evolving in my mind every single day, and they help me to process the pain and the joy that I experience in my journey through life.
Where can I find out more information about you?
Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest.
Tell me a little bit more about yourself?
My two children and my husband are my world. Our little ones are magical miracles, and our family is my safe harbor and my most beloved treasure. My love for them inspires my writing profoundly, and provokes my ever-deepening empathy for others.
Just before I started writing Strega, I lost my Dad. About a year before I finished writing it, I lost my brother Tom, and I also became a mother. I was 36 weeks pregnant when I lost Tom. Writing helped me to process these experiences of such devastating tragedy and such profound joy by expressing my emotions through my characters. The emotional pendulum has not stopped swinging. Since Strega was published in 2013, I’ve lost my Mom and I’ve given birth to my second child. If not for my writing, I would have imploded long ago.
Aside from writing, I love exploring nature with my children, and seeing the world through their eyes. Music, dance, art, and imagination is always abundant in our home, and we live for our adventures together.
When will Strega be available?
Strega Book I is available now.
How many books will be in the series?
I have at least three books planned, but I would love to write more in this series.
Where did you come up with the idea for Strega?
I was driving to work, down a super cute country road with cows on one side, an open field on the other, and trees arching overhead. The sun caught one solitary tree in the middle of the field and it shimmered with silver light. This brief 30 second experience took me out of my reality and sparked the very first thought of waking from a dream that wasn’t just a dream. I thought about it the whole way to work, and all day. That night when I drove home, I stopped in that very spot and started scribbling down the first ideas for Strega on a piece of scrap paper.
How much research did you do for Strega?
A ton. I love history, so it was really fun for me. After reading The New Penguin History of the World (from dinosaurs to the Gulf War), my fascination with the Roman Empire (especially its dark side) emerged. I’ve always loved stories of ancient Greece and Rome, and a world run by gods, but I wanted to know more and I really started digging deep until I entered Etruscan territory. It was in this world of Rome’s predecessor that I uncovered serious treasure.
How long did it take you to write Strega?
With research, writing late nights after work, and weekends, it took a grand total of three years.
When will the next book in the Strega Series be available?