First, let me say that I’m not the type of writer that secludes herself inside a bubble plotting my next novel or creating character profiles. This is not to say I don’t do these activities, because I do, but I find that my writing is better when influenced by other artists. For this reason, I actively seek collaborations in mixed media and have worked in theatre as well as with musicians, painters, and historians.
I decided early on in my writing career that I needed to say “yes” to projects that made think outside the proverbial writing box. Here are some of the fun projects I’ve gotten myself into: I’ve created scripts for a living history project at Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery called Sunday in the Park. Digging through census records and news articles from the late 1800s to 1950s, I was able to raise the dead and educate guests about the people who were part of Atlanta’s early landscape.
I collaborated with a musician who wrote a musical composition to accompany my short story, “The Gordy Hall Haunt,” which was performed at Reinhardt’s Contemporary Arts Festival in the Falany Performing Arts Center. Think of a soundtrack for your stories.
I’ve enjoyed mentoring middle school kids through the Wren’s Nest Scribe program–a program that provides one-on-one mentoring and teaches kids the craft of writing fiction. The anthology debuts every year at the Decatur Book Festival. One of my favorite readings was when I worked with an American Sign Language interpreter who translated my fiction into American Sign Language. Through my blog, I have created collaborations with writers and artists. There’s so much more, but the point is: GET OUT THERE AND FIND WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND YOUR WRITING!
I graduated with my MFA in creative writing from Reinhardt University’s Etowah Valley Creative Writing program. I am a current member of the Atlanta Writer’s Club, which permits me to continue to workshop with other authors. I am also a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, Broadleaf Writers Association, and the Georgia Writers Association. All are great resources for publishing, networking, and offer wonderful monthly events and annual conferences. In addition to my next novel, I’m working on a literary project with friends of William Gay where we are documenting reoccurring settings, characters, and references to fables, fairytales, local legends, and much more in order to map out his fictional world and build his legendarium. So many projects and not enough time!
While I consider myself first and foremost a literary fiction writer, I have gravitated into the horror, weird fiction, and magical realism genre. I still stick true to my form which is the short story, but I have discovered ways to expand my short story world by writing linked narratives connected by characters, town, and theme. This method has been used by such authors as Elizabeth Strout and Alice Munroe and is typically referred to as a composite novel or a short story cycle.
I am a long time Atlanta resident and live with my husband, son, cat and two hounds in the Old Fourth Ward. Before moving to Georgia, I lived in rural Missouri for seven years amongst horse farms and farmers. The town of Lawrenceton and the surrounding area was the inspiration for my book, The Bystanders. I am seeking publication for The Bystanders, while working on a novella titled “One Man’s Graveyard is Another Man’s Walmart,” and a linked, short story collection called The Dandy Chronicles.