I’m from Boulder, Colorado, though my roots are planted in a small Kansas town. My grandmothers were the first storytellers in my life. Grandma Martha told of her parents emigrating from Germany. Grandma Helen liked to remember the adventure of living in Los Angeles for a year as a newly married young woman. And great Grandma Kelly’s childhood in Kentucky hired out as a maid told like fiction in my young mind.
Perhaps since those early stories, historical fiction has always appealed to me. I love learning about the past from interesting and engaging characters.
I began writing my own historical novel, set during the 1918 influenza pandemic, in 2009. The inspiration came during the swine flu outbreak. My husband and two young daughters and I were living in Spain at the time and non-essential travel was discouraged, fever checks occurred at airports across the EU, and people worried about the mounting death toll. Then, 200,000 worldwide deaths alarmed us, and I kept wondering what the devastation of 50 million dead looked like. Learning scientists and historians believed the 1918 flu may have originated in Kansas further hooked me.
Since then, I’ve devoted countless hours to researching, writing, and revising. My idea and how to tell the story flourished once I discovered the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver and found my people and honed my craft. My short story The Enemy Within inspired my novel and received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers, and I was accepted into The Book Project—an intensive two-year program at Lighthouse that supports writers in finishing their book-length manuscripts.
My husband and I met on a blind date in college. We have two daughters, fiercely independent young women now, who I remind myself I encouraged. 😂 We travel as often as possible, and I credit my travel blog for creating my good daily writing habits. When not immersed in writing, I enjoy downward dogs, camping, and hiking. A sun-kissed tomato from my parents’ garden in Kansas might be my favorite food.