"Everything is story fodder." ~ Suzie O'Connell
I'm pretty easy to sum up. In fact, I can do it in five terms. Writer. Small-town, mountain-loving girl. Hobby photographer. Nerd. Fiercely loyal friend.
That's the short version. Here's the longer one.
I wasn't your typical kid with a million and ten ever-changing dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had just one dream—to be a writer. From the moment I wrote that first story all the way back in second grade about the mouse who went to the sea, I was hooked. I devoured books across a wide range of genres, enthralled by the words and stories and the images they painted in my mind.
Of course, as anyone knows and as everyone tried to tell me, it's difficult to make a living as an author. You need a fall-back career, they told me. So, I headed off to the University of Montana–Western and earned a bachelor's degree in—big surprise—literature and writing. And after that, I tried out several careers including copy and print center manager and high school English teacher, and always, I came back to writing. No matter what job paid the bills or how many hours of my day they used up, I'd stay up until the dark hours of the morning lost in my stories.
As it turns out, writing was my fall-back career. I've been writing full time and supporting my family with this writing gig since 2014, and in July 2017, I landed on the USA Today bestseller list.
No other job has ever felt so right.
I didn't do it on my own. I have to thank all the people who supported me throughout the years and especially my fans. Seriously. Without my readers, I'd still be scraping minutes together here and there to write. Not many people get to live their dreams, so if you're here, reading this, I humbly thank you, too, because you had a hand in helping mine come true. In return, I hope all your dreams come true, too, if they haven't already.
You might be asking, at this point, if writing is all I do. While it is the largest piece of me, there are plenty of other things I enjoy. Like playing in the mountains of this beautiful place I call home—Montana, naturally—with my husband Mark, our daughter Maddie, and our golden retriever Reilly. There's also that piece above, the "hobby photographer" one. I love photography, and if I'm not writing, you'll often find me with camera in hand trying to capture those perfect moments and landscapes. In fact, I've taken most of the photos you'll find around this site.
I also said I'm a nerd. I am. Not just the bookworm kind of nerd, either, though my nerdiness does revolve around my favorite books (and their movie counterparts)—Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Lonesome Dove, The Hunger Games, Nora Roberts' Sanctuary (which was the book that got me hooked on contemporary romance) and Northern Lights, and so many others I'll never be able to list them all. I'm the kind of nerd who likes to surround herself with the nerdy things she loves. I have several swords from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies in my office—Hadhafang, Narsil, Legolas's fighting knives, and Bard's giant Black Arrow (you know, the one that killed the dragon). Plus some of the jewelry. At one point, I had more books than clothes. And then there are all those times when my best friends and I would belt out "Come What May" and "Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge and "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera back in college. Okay, we still do that every chance we get.
Hey, I'm okay with being a nerd. I embrace it. Being a nerd is fun. And you meet the best, most interesting people who share your interests when you indulge your nerdiness. Even the word is kinda fun. Say it with me. NERD.
The last part is pretty self-explanatory. My family are my friends, my friends are my family, and I would do anything for them.
So there you have it. That's me.