TL;DR: I'm a writer of books, some short, some long. I'm a reader of books of all types. I'm a wonderer of words, space, science, nature, real food, fake data, Halloween costumes, motorcycle gears, and young souls. For the full story, keep reading...
My nonna, on my father's side, learned bookbinding just for fun. With her hands and a wooden press, she created beautiful embossed leather bindings for old books that had lost their covers or new books that deserved better ones.
When I was born, or sometime thereabouts, she found a collection of Emily Dickinson's poems edited and illustrated for younger readers, an impressive feat given that she lived in Italy. She sliced open its unsatisfactory paperback covers and bound it in a woolen hardcover, embellished with her own needlework of butterflies and long grasses and even the title and poet embroidered down the spine. To this, she added an extra case that folded around the treasure like an envelope but with yellow satin ties to seal it shut. And she gave the keepsake to my mother as a gift to me. The title of the collection is I'm Nobody! Who are you?
My nonna must have known I would become a writer. She always knew more than I did.
Fast forward 18 years, and I'm elbow-deep in Bio 101 books at the University of Virginia trying to navigate my way through whatever course of study that would land me at NASA as an astronaut without having to take the Air Force pilot approach. I tossed in a poetry writing class just to lighten the load. By the following semester, I had confirmed my major in English Literature and Language.
The year was 2001, hardly a space odyssey. Many life changing events were afoot in the world at large. For the purposes of my story, the catalyst moment was the release of a movie based on a series of books I had not yet read. I could not let that be. I picked up The Hobbit (to start at the very beginning) and was sliced open and rebound like the book my nonna gave me. Adventure, fantasy, unlikely heroes stitched themselves into my skin. Within a matter of months, I began to write my first story.
Five years later, I'd earned my degree, completed a novel (a different story from the first), and failed to find an interested literary agent. So I moved to New York to get closer to book world's beating heart. I eventually found my way into publishing for a year, as a Publicity Assistant at HarperCollins Children's Books. It makes me smile even now. So many books, so many authors, so many events celebrating the very best art form in the world! So much to be a part of that it left me very little time to write my own stories.
I needed space. I needed time. Little did I know I needed my nonna. In 2007, I moved to Italy "temporarily". Over the course of what would become seven and a half years there, I became a translator (my writing career's first love!) and that very first story idea I'd had back in college unfolded into an epic fantasy series, spanning the centuries, and beginning in a little town an hour or two down the coast from where I lived.
I would try several times to find an agent for that story. I would also move back to America in 2014 with a husband and dreams of a house with a picket fence and young ones of our own to read to. And all the while, I wrote stories. And all the while, I sent stories out. And all the while, my stories remained my own.
My first son soon enough arrived, and with him, so many books, so many authors, so many quiet moments at home celebrating the very best art form in the world! The opportunity for inspiration was unrivaled. Then came a Christmas when I wanted to give my son a very specific book. A book about a rocket ship. In the end, I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I wrote him a story instead.
And that brings us to today and your eyes on this page and my hands staying up far too late typing this out because I quite like how this story is going. I can't wait to read what happens next.