Biography

I began my writing career in Mrs Myer’s 5th grade class at Barcelona Elementary School. We were asked to write and illustrate a story for the kindergarten class. Knowing nothing about copyright, I unabashedly turned Don Bluth’s film The Land Before Time into a story about horses called “Katie’s Adventure.” It would have all stopped there except that a fellow teacher picked up my story (unknown to her, I watched anxiously as she flipped through it) and told Mrs Myer that it was so good she didn’t want to put it down. That little bit of praise was all I needed.

C:\Users\User\Downloads\20160817_133847.jpg

Very bad poetry followed based loosely on Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. I read anything that involved (in no particular order) horses, fairy tales, magic or horror. This carried me all the way to age 16 when I discovered Johanna Lindsey and the romance novel genre. It took me a whole summer of reading up to two romance novels a week to discover that publication didn’t always mean quality. Three hundred pages of characters that could have solved all of their problems with one honest conversation encouraged me to think seriously about story conflicts. As I closed one particularly frustrating book I thought, “I can write better than that.” I studiously kept notebooks full of story starts all summer but high school, Alanis Morsissette, and finding a me-shaped place in the world that might also pay the bills regulated my writing to hobby status.

 

 

After a long foray into waitressing, pig-hauling, hotel room cleaning, insurance call centres, and banking, none of which were me-shaped, I decided that what I really needed was a college education. I was surrounded by glossy college brochures advertising everything from marketing to teaching textile designs when my husband performed a miracle. He gathered all of my materials into his hand and said, “If you didn’t have to get a job at the end of your degree, and you could study anything you wanted, what would it be?” Without hesitation I said creative writing. He tossed all of my brochures into the garbage and said, “Then that’s what you should study.” And I did.

I have a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. I am a lecturer in creative writing at Bangor University, a member of the Pontio Writing Group, and a peer reviewer for Bangor University’s cross-disciplinary journal The Dovetail. I am still not very good at poetry but I enjoy teaching creative writing in weird and wacky ways that are designed to remind students and professionals that writing is fun. I love coffee, cats, and all things related to creating art through words. I still haven’t found that me-shaped hole in the world, but thanks to a little help from my readers, friends and colleagues, I am making one.