My parents always told me stories as a child. Here’s a picture of all of us soon after I was born.
My mother used to make up silly stories about how the giraffe got a long neck or the elephant got its trunk. Everything my father told me was a tall tale. He was a storytelling master. I loved the sound of their voices and the way their words took me to another place. I was making up stories long before I could write them down. Can’t you see the stories brewing in this baby’s eyes?
When I did learn to read and write I started creating right away. I wrote about talking trees in a magic forest. The stories had accompanying pictures of groups of straight trees with three branches that stuck straight up out of their trunks. On the end of each branch was a bright red apple. The trees would walk around on their roots and have adventures. I wished I still had some of those stories, but they’re long gone.
Stories poured out of me all through school. Most of my teachers encouraged my writing. Here is a picture of my seventh-grade class. I’m the third person from the right on the second row in the puffy blue shirt, brown belt, and white skirt. Fashion was really interesting back then, wasn’t it? I wasn’t happy that day. I have no idea why.
I even got in trouble in high school for writing a story about a school shooting. Nobody appreciated that one. My parents had to meet with the teacher. He wanted me to see a counselor. That was a mess. I never wrote about mass shootings again. Instead, I stuck to much more pleasant topics like dying of terminal illnesses. It was a dark time.
By college, I knew that the only thing I was interested in was writing. I also knew that writing wasn’t a lucrative career, so I studied photography and multicultural studies. (Much better choices.)
Upon entering the real world of working adults I gave up writing and bounced around from job to job before deciding to teach English in Korea. That was the best idea I’d had up until then. Here I am on a sunny day in Taejon, Korea.
Giving up writing was useless. No matter how much I tried to ignore them, stories tugged at me. After years of only sporadically writing poetry and flash fiction, I decided to commit to writing a novel. It took ages to finish and the final product kind of sucked, but I knew I could do it. I could finish a book, so I wrote another and another.
I write because in order to really be myself I have to. I write because I love stories and I want to share those stories with you. Knowing that someone else reads and enjoys my work is amazing and humbling. Thank you for reading my books. I am very grateful.