In college, I had a summer job at the Latham Circle Mall Waldenbooks (of blessed memory). The manager made me a keyholder, so I was tasked with getting to the mall early, opening the rattling grate, turning on all the lights and setting up the registers. If I did that fast enough, I then had twenty minutes to put away newly-delivered books. Sometimes—just sometimes—I’d leave a tiny little gap in the science fiction section for my unwritten book like a penny cast into a wishing well.
It felt silly, but I kept on doing it for years and years and years, and wherever I went, it always reminded me of my big dream to have a career in writing fiction. I’d do it even when I wasn’t writing because I was blocked, even when I wasn’t writing because I was working eighty hours a week trying to keep my video business alive, even when the brainweasels made me 100% sure I’d never finish a novel —or that finishing a novel was “for other people.” (Hint: It’s not. It’s for you. Trust me.)
So that’s me: ridiculous optimist and danger extrovert, the extremely loud person in your group of friends who will tell you it’ll get better so often you’ll want to punch them in the face. I love people. I hardly relax. I have a bit of a racecar mouth. I’m a slight workaholic, a voracious reader, a photographer, and an absolute fiend for weird coffee (especially Fresh Market’s low-acid lavender chocolate). I just had a baby, so I spend a lot of time delighting in all the marvelous little faces she makes. My favorite drinks are seltzer water and elderflower lemonade. My favorite reel is “Nine Points of Roguery,” unless it’s “Lexie McAskill,” but that really depends on how well I played that day’s ceilidh. In the Kirk vs. Picard debate, I choose Avasarala. I love the thrill and creative high of getting the shot, still or video. I enjoy getting entirely too involved in community theater, everything about autumn in upstate New York, hanging around the house with my extremely awesome husband, and marathon write-ins with friends. My professional resume has journalist on it, as well as teacher and photographer and cinematographer and fiddler, and I once got to film a Klingon wedding. I intend to dye my hair interesting colors until I’m dead.
In 2015, I sat down for National Novel Writing Month and promised myself that this time, I wouldn’t let writer’s block get me. That I wouldn’t allow other commitments to mow me down. That I would reach inside and write a book that was everything I wanted to read when I was eighteen and dreaming in a tiny mall Waldenbooks. Turns out that it’s not pennies in the wishing well that get you to the other side of the bridge–It’s hard work and optimism and lavender coffee and support from friends and time to grow.
I’m delighted to meet you, Debutante Ball readers, and delighted to be here. In a little less than a year, I’ll walk into a bookstore and instead of making room for empty space, I’ll find Architects of Memory between “Or” and “Ot.” I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you!
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