I was the nice, quiet kid who read a lot. I had friends and could be social when I was in the mood or circumstances called for it, but I was a bit weird. One of my favorite things to do was find a quiet place in the woods and tell myself fairy stories. While other kids played sports, I curled up with a book or listened to Beatles records with my oldest sister. (For those of you who missed out on records, the best part was the LP covers. They were huge canvases for art and often had the lyrics inside or on the back, so we could follow along and analyze them in a way that’s hard to do with downloaded songs on our phones.)
In high school, I had requisite crushes on cute guys, but I also had a thing for Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe and Romantic poet John Keats. I was a drama geek who memorized the soundtrack of A Chorus Line years before I ever saw it. I listened to music in my room for hours. The Beatles were still sacred to me, but I also learned lyrics by Billy Joel, Elton John, and others. Starting to notice a pattern here—words and stories?
It was no surprise to anyone that I became an English teacher. I loved reading and writing with teenagers. And sometimes they did, too. There’s nothing more rewarding than giving a teen a book and watching them fall in love with it. And a class NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project led to writing my first novel and a new passion connected to words.
Skip a few years, and here I am, writing young adult historical fiction set in my home state. I hope to inspire and entertain teens (and those who love them) with stories of old Alaska. I am still marching to a different drummer, as there are few of us in this particular niche. But I couldn’t be happier about my current calling. It feels right for me, and gives me joy. Whether it’s researching, writing, connecting with other writers, or hanging out with teens, teachers, and librarians, it’s all fun, interesting or both at the same time.
How are you marching to a different drummer? What are the rewards you’ve found in doing that?