Who Am I?

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You can read my short, official author bio in the sidebar on the other pages of this website. But since you’re here, I’m guessing you want me to talk about myself more…mwahahaha!

My Faith

First and foremost, I’m one of God’s kids. My purpose in life is to know God, to be known by Him, and to make Him known to others. Writing is one way that I pursue this.

I became a Christian when I was six years old, but I didn’t start getting serious about my faith until I was twelve. I was just going through the motions of being a Christian, but God began convicting me with Scripture and I realized that my life didn’t match up with the Bible’s description of God’s people. I wasn’t pursuing God diligently; I wasn’t producing fruit. So, I pulled out an old One Year Bible I had and made myself read the entries each day.

Praise God that He uses even our stumbling and begrudging steps to bring us closer to Him. Over time, I started meditating more on the Scripture I was reading, instead of just flying through to get it done. When I’d finished reading through the One Year Bible, I kept spending quiet time with God, and He used that to grow me and increase my love for Him.

Then I became an adult. Suddenly, my faith started facing all kinds of tests as situations got thrown at me that felt way too big and scary: driving, a job, college, and so on. Chronic anxiety certainly didn’t help matters. But God used all of this to make my faith more “real.” This is when the rubber had to start meeting the road, because if our faith doesn’t follow through into the way we act and handle life, it’s not real faith (see James 2:14-26).

God opened my eyes to the reality that Christianity is not a lifestyle or a set of rules. The Christian life is Christ Himself, living in us and doing His work through us (see John 17:3 and 1 John 5:11-12). And that’s what makes life so extraordinarily exciting.

God is still growing me, but my story so far is one of His unending faithfulness. I’m so thankful for His love that doesn’t let us stay the way we are, but keeps drawing us closer and wooing us to know Him better.

Throughout my life, God has used fiction—particularly fiction written by other Christians—to show Himself to me and help me understand life better. That’s a gift that I want to pass on to others through my own writing.

How I Started Writing

I’ve always been fascinated by stories. My parents tell me that I would sit with books and stare at the words even before I learned to read. I would also watch two-hour movies without fidgeting. My parents read to me all the time when I was a kid, and once I could read on my own, I started devouring every book I could get my hands on. I spent many an afternoon at my local library, accumulating a pile of books and audiobooks to check out.

I’ve been writing almost as long as I can remember. Even when I was learning my alphabet, I would scribble letters in old notebooks, and when I got a little older, those letters became little stories, each a few sentences long. As I grew, so did the length of my stories. I realized early on that I enjoyed writing and was good at it, thanks to elementary school teachers who gave me opportunities to write and praised my work.

When I was about eleven, I decided I wanted to be a novelist when I grew up. I finished my first novel manuscript (unpublished) when I was about twelve or thirteen and I haven’t stopped writing since. I kept reading and writing in my spare time, working on a number of different projects through my middle and high school years.

Then I entered college and, despite the weird looks and warnings that I would never be able to get a job, I got a degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing. That’s what I felt God calling me to do, and the experience I gained during those four years was invaluable to my writing. While earning my degree, I took some screenwriting classes and discovered that I love writing movies as much as I love writing novels.

I officially became an author in 2016, when the academic journal Young Scholars in Writing published my essay, “One World to Rule Them All: How J.R.R. Tolkien Used Original Intertext to Create Middle-Earth” (you can read it here).

How I Fell for Fantasy

Growing up, I always enjoyed fantastical stories and movies. I remember being obsessed with the Mulan animated film when I was little, and I think that helped ignite my love for epic hero’s journey stories (with swords, horses, and dragons!).

I also discovered The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid and that remains my favorite book series to this day. I had an audiobook of The Silver Chair that I listened to so often, I can still recite the first few minutes from memory. I loved the world Lewis created and the way he was able to reveal God’s nature and personality so well through his allegory.

I first read The Hobbit when I was nine and The Lord of the Rings when I was twelve. Then I watched the movies (take notes, kids: books first). This was my first foray into adult epic fantasy, and I was blown away. Tolkien’s work just clicked with everything I loved most in stories. I immediately became a huge fan and knew this was the genre of stories I wanted to write. (You’ll notice I wrote my first novel about the same time I encountered The Lord of the Rings).

I’m still a huge fantasy fan (sci-fi too) and I get ridiculously excited when I discover a new book or movie to love in this genre. I’m also excited that the Christian speculative fiction genre has really been taking off in recent years!

Where I’m at Now

A year after my essay was published, I had an article published and also got to write a guest post for the blog Go Teen Writers. Shortly after that, I applied to write for Area of Effect magazine, got permission to do a guest post, and was offered a Staff Writer position after turning in that first article.

I also wrote an entire feature film screenplay, entitled To Kill a Secret. This screenplay placed as a 2018 Quarterfinalist in two international competitions, BlueCat and Scriptapalooza. I’m still revising and marketing To Kill a Secret and hope to start working on a second screenplay in the near future.

I’m now writing for Think Christian magazine as well as pursuing other freelance opportunities. Area of Effect magazine evolved into an anthology book, and the first volume, containing three articles by yours truly (*squeal*), was published in early 2019.

Most of all, I’m continuing to work on my novels and screenplays. The novel I’m currently working on is an extreme revision of my very first novel (yes, the one I wrote when I was thirteen) and its current title is The Edge of the Sword. You can learn more about this project by reading my blog post.

Fun Facts

  • My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:11 (you probably gathered that from my homepage). If you’re curious to know the “why” behind this, private message me through my Facebook page and I’d love to discuss it!
  • There is no such thing as too many books. It’s not our fault if bookshelves weren’t designed like the T.A.R.D.I.S.
  • Tea, never coffee. I’m super obsessed with tea (particularly loose leaf tea from Adagio).
  • I have a wardrobe, but it stubbornly refuses to open a portal into Narnia.
  • You can ask me about my favorite novels and movies, but you’re going to get a list (I’m a novelist and screenwriter, remember?)
  • I believe in happy endings.
  • I attend renaissance faires and pop culture conventions (because they’re super fun!).
  • I love old-fashioned writing things: wax seals, parchment paper, old typewriters, and fountain pens. Also snail mail (remember that?).
  • I have met three of the nine actors who played members of the Fellowship of the Ring (Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, and John Rhys-Davies).
  • I used to run an Etsy shop where I sold handmade jewelry. I closed it so that I could focus on my writing, but I still make jewelry for fun.
  • I love classic books as well as contemporary (come on, original Sherlock Holmes stories? Jane Austen? Charles Dickens? Beowulf? Can’t beat ’em).
  • My brain has come up with way too many story ideas and even though I’ve gotten pretty good at working on one at a time, the others give me sad looks when I ignore them.
  • I have a large vocabulary and about half of it consists of movie quotes.
  • I have been to several English country dances and done some of the line dances seen in Pride and Prejudice films.
  • I am obsessed with music and I love creating inspiration playlists to listen to while I write.
  • I come from a family of writers (seriously, even the “non-writers” in my family are writers). My dad wrote a book; my mom has worked as a fabulous writer and editor for years; my oldest brother Sean has a beautiful blog of theology meditations and poetry; and my older brother Brian wrote a book and tons of really prestigious articles (like, published-repeatedly-in-The-New-Yorker prestigious).