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About Me — As a Writer

After graduating from The University of South Carolina with a major in English, I started an MFA program. During those three years, I won the James Dickey Award for short stories three times in a row (in the first year of my Ph.D program, I was quietly banned from submitting). I was a top-ten finalist in the novel-in-progress category in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Awards, an international contest held in New Orleans, in 2006; the same year, I was a semi-finalist in the novella category.

After quitting my Ph.D program and having three sons, I began writing nonfiction. My essay on the Ferguson riots, "A Mother's White Privilege," went viral in 2014, and is  currently used by by the Anti-Defamation League, among others, as a teaching tool. "What Normal Looks Like" also went viral, and earned me a job with Scary Mommy, where I worked until 2020. From 2016, I also wrote for both the print and online versions of ADDitude Magazine, the only magazine dedicated exclusively to ADHD.

I live with three boys, three large dogs, and a very saintly husband. We love to kayak and hike. When I'm not writing like it's running out of style, I listen to a lot of punk (everything from pop punk to hardcore, but I truly believe the failure to gatekeep Machine Gun Kelly has led us to this darkest of timelines). Speaking of timelines, I'm sort of (totally) obsessed with The Magicians, both in book and TV form (hence the twitter handle). 

 

I can beat you in Mario Kart. No, really. I can. Unless you're a member of my gaming group.

Next question: why the gay young adult romance? My husband teaches high school. While he had plenty of LGBTQIA+ books to offer his students, none told about the South — what it's like there, what they do there, why they live there — indeed, how they live at all (bonus points if you get the reference). I wanted to give his kids something they could find themselves in. And as Flannery O'Connor says, "If a story is in you, it has to come out." My town really does have an annual Nutcracker Battle. West and Malcolm came from real life. And on and on. Moreover, as a queer woman, they've helped me, in a roundabout, sideways sort of way, understand my own sexuality and coming out experience. 

My favorite place on Earth is Death Valley. Don't ask me about books, but right now, Piranesi and House of Leaves, Moby DickAbsalom, Absalom!, Go Down Moses, The Great Gatsby, The Magicians (trilogy), Fight Club, and Pigs in Heaven top the list. Oh, and of course Look Homeward, Angel. Ask me tomorrow. 

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