Fewer than 5% of writers make a living writing stories. So, almost every book you see on the shelves, was written with stolen time (4:00 am wakeups before getting the kids ready. Missing weekends and family gatherings. Skipping lunch.) This isn’t to mope or whine. Instead, it’s to celebrate novels, books, stories, essays and more. It’s to celebrate the drive writers have to tell their stories!
We write because we can’t not write.
I work as a Web Content developer, translator, grant writer, storyteller, library/cultural consultant (my frustrated dream is to have studied library science and become a youth librarian … maybe later??), and writing novels is one of my great loves. Frustrating, maddening, hard, and worth it.
From: Carson City, NV (born in Carson Tahoe Hospital, went to Gleason, Bray, Bordewich, Carson Junior High, Carson High). I went ALL the way to Reno, Nevada (a whole 45 minutes away) to college. (Ha! And you thought I was a homebody.) Yes, I moved back in with my mom and dad in my late twenties for a few months. (All writers do).
In 1997 I moved to Colombia, South America. I’ve lived abroad ever since. (I’m almost to that tipping point where I’ll have lived more years abroad than in the States. This is weird to me.)
Interesting (perhaps) Facts:
- My parents are of Basque/Norwegian heritage. We’d make chorizos in the garage. Kringle and lefse for Christmas. And my big sister, Carrie, and I used to take Basque dancing classes at the JT in Gardnerville.
- I’ve lived in Spain, South Korea, France, and Colombia. (And I’ve backpacked and traveled in over 26 countries around the world). So, if you need to know about the best way to see the world on ten dollars/day, let me know! (I also know which countries have the best toilet paper. These things are important.)
- My daughters speak English with a little Colombian accent.
- I love going to the movies alone.
- October is my favorite month. Halloween and Nevada Day are my favorite holidays. Colombia does not celebrate Nevada Day. This is distressing.
- My husband used to cultivate heliconias and export them, and he named a flower after me. (That’s Heliconia Heidi –>).
Authors: JD Salinger, Steinbeck, Markus Zusak, Francisco X Stork, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Shaun Tan, Jacqueline Woodson, Oliver Jeffers … so many! (And HUGE LOVE to Northern Nevada SCBWI with Suzanne Morgan Williams and Ellen Hopkins … my first crit buddies).
Books: I’m obsessed with books about mountaineering, my favorites being Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Mirculous Survival by Joe Simpson (spoiler alert: he lives!) and Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan.
Daydreaming (I’m really good at this and justify it because I’m an author. Right? I don’t need to be a fully productive member of society at all times), running, traveling, chasing shadows and blowing bubbles with with my daughters, dancing with my husband, caffeine therapy sessions, laughing, laughing, laughing, and trying to figure out safer ways to cross Pereira’s streets (due to flexible interpretation of traffic laws here in Colombia).
FAQ’s and Info for Writers, Book Worms, Readers, Teachers and more:
What’s for dinner? Do I have to go to school tomorrow? Mom? Mom?
Let’s be real. I’m not JK Rowling and don’t field a barrage of questions from adoring fans. Which is fine. So most of my personal FAQ are much like yours.
That said, some of my most interesting and repetitive questions I’ve received during school visits, via e-mail, and in general include:
How do you get the pages in the book? (3rd grader)
I defer to Wonderopolis (check them out!) and their incredibly concise answer! The little boy thought I glued my books together in my garage and was distraught to hear I don’t even have a garage.
Have you ever read your books?
While writing my novels, I live with my characters for a year or two or three! So by the time my editors say, “That’s a wrap,” I take their word for it, cross my fingers, and don’t read them again. I’m afraid I’d be horrified at glaring flaws.
Do you pick your titles? Cover art?
No. And yes? Titles are usually a brainstorm between an editor, publisher and author. But the final say is with the editor/house, which is fine. And cover art is in the house’s hands as well. I’ve always had amazing editors and publishers who cared what I thought about the cover art, and I’ve never been disappointed. I’m fortunate in that regard.
Can I get an ARC or review copy of your book (or even a Word, PDF, a copy chiseled in stone, or copy of one of your others)?
No. Okay. I probably should expand on that. Nope. 🙂 Really, I’ll tell you why now. Authors, contrary to what many think, don’t have unlimited access to ARCs or even copies of their books. My ARCs that I receive are reserved for a: my favorite charities and raffles b: my favorite bloggers (who are established and NEVER ask for review copies because they know that, after years of blogging and establishing their reputations, how the game works) c. family and friends the book is dedicated to d. my own publicity and marketing. And that’s about all I can do. There are many ways to get review copies and the world of blogging (and reviewing) is much like that of writing. Research the market, how to get books, who to approach (never authors themselves) and get to work. It’s important as a reviewer or blogger to establish your reputation so that authors know who to go to. I could go on and on, but I just need to URGE you to take the time to study the market and how it works.
Also … if you’re asking for one of my previous titles, GO TO YOUR LIBRARY! Or buy one. I know everyone’s strapped for cash, so that’s why I’m #1 proponent of libraries. Your library can get you ANY BOOK you want that’s in print. It’s magical.
Can you donate a book to my charity?
I often get form letters (Dear Author …) from schools that are looking for silent auction books. I so so so understand that you’re trying to raise money. I used to respond to each letter personally until it dawned on me that oftentimes the schools or representatives aren’t even aware of who I am. Sometimes I get “My kid loves your book, can we have one for the auction?”
Be SPECIFIC. I can guarantee you if I get a personalized letter, I’ll actually consider it. If I get one that tells me specifically WHY my books would be good for your auction, I’m all ears. It’s just a little frustrating to get these blank “Dear Author-type” letters. Authors have feelings, too!! (AND most have very limited numbers of books to give away — see above — so we need really GREAT reasons for donating).
Again, if somebody I know personally asks for a donation, I’m almost 100% ready to say, “Yep! Where do I send it?”
Do you have discussion guides?
Absolutely!! I have them for each book:
Do you visit book clubs, libraries, schools and more?
Yes … and no. By SKYPE, anytime! It’s just kind of hard to visit places and fly all the way from Colombia … But because of the magic of Internet, I can now go anywhere. Check out how, right here.
In Colombia, I love visiting schools and storytelling and giving writing conferences to teachers and sharing the beauty of words and stories.