I was born and raised in Opelika, Alabama. Though at first a slow learner in reading and writing, once I began to do so, I grew to love it. My father always told me that to be a great writer, a person must learn to form pictures with words. Since my brother was the better cartoonist and visual artist, I worked at creating stories. Role-playing and an excellent education in English throughout high school honed my skills further. Attending Auburn University, I majored in English. Throughout my life, creative writing and anything that makes it better, easier, or more worthy, has been that which appeals to me most. Often, to understand this world, I have taken my knowledge to imaginary ones to toy with. I have jokingly told my students that "writing is my default setting" and what I would do if I had to decide on one thing to do forever. Writing is much less a thing I do, but a place and time, a brief leap from the boundaries of the mundane.
Drinna, a young Kunjel girl, finds herself awake in a world her parents have only talked about, The Sea of Grass. It is a place inhabited by dangerous creatures, vicious enemies, and even poisonous grasses.
What’s worse is that she was preparing for a rite of passage where she learned to control the rage of her people. Without the guidance of her people, the rage could be both a strong ally, and a lethal enemy.
She has only her knowledge of this place to help her. She must learn to use her parents’ guidance, question long-held beliefs, and trust herself or she won’t survive.
As if this was not bad enough, someone is watching for her, chasing her, waiting for her to make a mistake in order to capture her or worse….
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
A) Drinna is the reaction to what I, as a teacher, have seen in many classes, among many teenagers. Anger. Quite a few teenagers these days have found themselves storing up within quite a great deal of rage, like my main character. I felt like I needed to address this. I was blessed in many, many ways growing up; the same cannot be said for quite a few students I've known through the ages. Drinna is a character designed to show how our anger can be both a friend to us (when appropriately used to motivate us) and can cause harm to ourselves and others. There is an appropriate use of anger and many inappropriate uses of anger. The kunjels as a race of creatures shows that anger is neither sinful nor necessarily wrong, if applied properly to our lives.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
A) This novel took my about seven drafts, the shortest of which went over thirty or so pages. However, the final copy, once it gelled, took me the better part of a year to write, so I guess all totaled it took me about a year and a half from the first attempt to put anything down on a page to when it was published in '10. At first, the novel was going to be an experiment in writing both in English and a made-up language, and then I just kept going and going and there it was. I was, again, blessed with the opportunity to write as a substitute teacher. While the students worked, I wrote. Unfortunately, as a professional educator now, I find it much harder to write. The sequel to Drinna has been a tough one to get cranked out.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
A) The ability to live in a world I create and be able to escape there from time to time. I find writing is a default method of self-soothing. If I can write about it, I can wrap my brain around it. That's another thing, I think: it is also motivation to educate myself and read further. When I learn something new, I almost always try to figure out how it compares to my own little patch of fantasy. Do my people act the same? I like to ask questions in my writing of that nature, and answer them through a story. I love to consider how tweaking one aspect of the real world ripples through the fantastic, too.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
A) Promoting it. I have discovered as I have emerged into the professional world of writing that I HATE PROMOTING MYSELF. It's not that I do not believe in my writing, or that others will enjoy it. I believe those things, but I feel like such a pimp trying to get it out there on the market and trying to advertise it as though it were the next greatest thing since Tide with Bleach. My stories are like my children, and I want them to stand out because of their merit more than their merchandising. It is a grim reality that I must face that I must learn better how to promote my books to other people if I ever expect to sell them, but I hate to do it.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
A) Jared Gullage, the world famous novelist, because that is what I eventually want. I know, that's kind of a trick answer to the question, but truthfully, I have enough trouble being me. If I were to answer the question correctly, however, I would probably say I'd like to be...J.K. Rowling maybe, or Richard Adams, or maybe J.R.R. Tolkein, or one of the British authors who have really done their homework, because I would love to be able to download some of their knowledge without having to do the hard stuff myself (wouldn't anyone, really?). I would like to be one of those people who can really be meticulous and detailed in their notetaking and have some notes all done about some of my stories. I guess what I'm saying is that I would love to be one of those above and really delve into my own works and take good notes and set some groundwork while I've got their self-discipline. Then, I'd like to write as myself.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A) Hmmm. I think it's some kind of Hawaiian jam/jelly my neice brought me from her trip to Hawaii. It was delicious, but now it's been in there so long, I think I may be scared of it now.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A) More from Trithofar, the world where Drinna comes from. I hope to work out a sequel to Drinna soon, and perhaps have it published by eTreasures. But I've got some other stuff out there from Trithofar, and I'm working on some more. I hope that there will be some more novels about it soon.