It’s time for #PimpMyBio! Every year Pitch Wars hopefuls post fun profiles of themselves to share with the community. Pitch Wars is a contest where the prize is a mentor to help you revise your book. Learn more about Pitch Wars at organizer Brenda Drake’s website.
I moved to South Africa.
See, I was born here and my parents moved us to New Jersey (of all places) when I was still in diapers. What was supposed to be 18 months turned into nearly 30 years. My parents looked at their retirement options and decided that returning to South Africa was their best bet. Then they asked if I wanted to go with them.
I’ve always been curious about this other life I could have lived. I have family who I hardly know. I’ve never been able to picture myself staying in one place forever. And I was in a good position to make a major move–no SO, no kids, no mortgage. As they say, do it when you’re young.
So now the three of us live on a beautiful stretch of coast, on a lake, beside the mountains.
I’m really, really happy I made this move. And I’m really, really lucky. I’m freelancing with a contract from my old employer to keep me afloat, and have been able to dedicate way more time to writing. I think it shows in the quality of my work. I see it in the progress I’ve made on every project. It’s a Good Thing.
About My Book
This year I’m entering IN HER OWN SKIN, a YA contemporary fantasy. It’s about selkies, people who can turn into seals. They’re a popular legend from Scotland, though their stories are often very sad. I have a thing about women in mythology who get screwed over get the short end of the stick. Selkies–and their half-human children–fall into that category. So I dreamed up a story about the daughter of a selkie and how she learns who and what she is.
You can read the query on my Projects page, under the accordion.
I’m still stunned to note that IHOS is a finalist in the YA RWA Rosemary contest. Course, that’s evaluated based on the beginning of the novel, not the whole thing. I know my beginning and my query have game, because I made it into Query Kombat this year, too. I’m applying for Pitch Wars because a) don’t self reject, and b) you don’t know what you don’t know.
How I Work
I’m all about the pre-work. Before I write a word, I have to know what’s going to happen. I don’t just outline, I timeline and draw maps and do beat sheets and whatever else to be sure that I know the story inside and out. Once upon a time, when I was a baby writer, I would seize upon an idea and plunge right in. Those stories never went anywhere. Good pre-work saves my bacon.
Alas, that also means that come revision time it can be hard to see what still needs work. I rely heavily on my CPs for fresh perspective, and I lavish love on them for their insights.
I am not afraid to tear the manuscript apart. I’ve done that repeatedly with my 2015 entry, and each time I learn something about what that book needs. (That book is the one I did a lot of learning on, so it’s got baggage. But it will see the light of day someday!) I also know when to put something down. My 2016 entry has some major fundamental flaws in it, and I’ve shelved it. Never say never–but it’s probably never. I think the selkies have a shot, though.
And Now For Something Completely Different
Besides well-timed absurdist humor, I also enjoy gluten free cakes, naps, the art of Alphonse Mucha, Oxford commas, and writing with Lady Gaga on repeat.
The Google can’t find me a good gif of John Cleese going, “Gooood niiiight ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!” so you can enjoy the full sketch instead.
Check out other Pitchwars bios here.