Q: First tell us something about yourself?
I am a curious human who is constantly motivated to learn something new and make every day count. I grew in up the Midwest, born and raised in NW Indiana. The oldest of 7 (4 brothers and 2 sisters) all who still reside in Indiana. I have traveled across the US following my original dream of being in the fashion retail industry. I studied Apparel Merchandising, Business and Photography at Indiana University Bloomington and started my merchandising career in Arkansa working for Walmart. From there I lived in San Francisco where I worked for Walmart.com, NYC where I worked for Macy’s and most recently Minnesota where I worked for Target. I am married to a wonderful, funny and supportive husband, Matt. We have three strong and talented daughters, Elle (age 3), Emma (age 8) and Nina (age 11). They are my daily inspiration! I love the journey of parenting, the highs and the lows. I am passionate about paving a path for my daughters, allowing them the freedom to be their authentic self and make a difference in this world.
Q: How and when did your journey start as a writer?
From retail executive to children’s picture book writer. After 20 successful years in corporate retail I made the decision to resign. I resigned from pushing myself to climb higher up the corporate ladder in exchange for the freedom to slow down and find purpose. I wanted to be more present, spend more time with my family and discover more about myself. I have always been a curious human and creativity has always filled my soul. With the luxury of time and space to let my creative mind wander, I decided to explore writing. My journey started with the idea of creating a keepsake book for each of my children. Each story being unique to their personalities and real life experiences. While it started as a hobby, it has evolved in to much more. I am, a self-taught writer who is inspired by motherhood. It is the beginning of my writing journey and I am looking forward to sharing my stories and my journey with the world.
Q: When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
I started writing right after I resigned from Target, October 2020, during the peak of the pandemic. It was a wonderful outlet for me as I closed the door on one chapter of my life and welcomed another. I have always kept a journal of my children so it was a natural transition. I just took what I have been documenting for years and starting formulating ideas and themes. I had to do a lot of research though because writing a children’s picture book is not as easy as one many think. I took classes, read, connected with writers, expanded my network and immersed myself in all things writing. My first book, titled Finding Bunny, is self-published as of 3/16/2022. It is available for the world to enjoy! This book is based on my youngest, Elle, and her best friend, Bunny. She has had Bunny her entire life and it’s almost the size of her (as a 3 year old) so you can imagine how large it was in her crib when she was just an infant. The story is about her friendship and connection to Bunny but also her emotional journey of losing Bunny. It resonates with many parents and children who have a favorite stuffy and have misplaced it once or twice. Plus it has a nice little twist at the end!
Q: Tell us something more about your books?
I am currently working on my second manuscript which I plan to release in October 2022. This story is about my middle daughter, Emma. She is a strong, brave and adventurous little girl who loves to jump, flip and climb everything. She is pretty fearless. Except when it comes to bed time because she is afraid of the dark. I know there are many books about children’s fear of the dark but I am excited about this story and how it will come to life through illustrations. It has a unique perspective that I can’t wait to share. It is a story about the power of your mind and thoughts. As quick as your mind can imagine up spooky images in the dark it can just as easily create magic and peace of mind. Emma is the hero of her own story and figures out just what she needs to do to conquer bed time and her fear of the dark. I am currently working with a fabulous illustrator to bring my vision to life, Ellie Beykzadeh.
I have a few more manuscripts in the works but they will not be ready to publish until 2023. One is about my oldest daughter, Nina, who is my stepdaughter. This story shares the parallel perspective and experience of two sisters navigating a blended family. I love how this story will showcase the emotions of both children, one from a married family and the other from a divorced. A topic many families can relate to.
The other book I’m excited about is more comical. It is about having embarrassing parents and all the things parents do that make our kiddos cringe, from kissing them in public to singing and dancing in front of their friends. The main character works up a plan to change her parents from embarrassing to cool but of course it backfires.
Q: Why do you choose kids as your reader ? is there any specific reason?
I have so much inspiration as a mother to three daughters that I can’t help but choose them as my readers. Plus I still consider myself a kid at heart.
Q: How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
The ideas are all inspired by my every day life of parenting. I could write books on books on books about the experiences I have with my children and I know many parents can relate to what I have to share. We are all in this together. Raising children takes a village and sharing our stories is a great form of connection. Some one once told me there are no new ideas in children’s picture book writing, they have all been done. But what makes your story special is just that, it is your story with your spin on it so find your voice.
Q: Do you want to leave any message for your readers?
It’s never too late to find your passion or discover a new one. It doesn’t matter if you have been on the same path for 20 years. You can always chose a new path. It’s not about the end goal, it’s about the journey and the memories built along the way. The ups and the downs. So take that risk and do something you have always wanted to do, that thing that brings you joy and you can’t help but think about when you wake up till when you go to bed. I promise it’s worth it!