My love affair with books began at the age of six when I first cracked open Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In that moment, I both caught the bookworm syndrome and began diving down rabbit holes. (“Diving down rabbit holes” in the figurative sense—meaning I asked lots of questions, remained skeptical of easy answers, and felt insatiably curious about the world. Once, I did try to dive down one in the literal sense. But I only ended up with mud all over me and a handful of rabbit turds. Drat!)
By the time I reached the age of eighteen, years of reading and diving down those rabbit holes had made me subversive. (Yeah, it happens.) Raised in a conservative evangelical household, I attended an evangelical liberal arts college. While there, I learned that using “biblical” as an adjective earned me good grades: (i.e. biblical economics, biblical Starbucks caramel macchiato.) But in an environment where I was supposed to solidify certain “biblical” truths about the world, the opposite happened and I questioned everything I had been taught to believe. I read Madame Bovary and promptly became a feminist. I became an English major and then a liberal. Finally, with the encouragement of my creative writing professor, I decided that I wanted to be a writer.
Soon I left evangelicalism and Indiana for graduate school at the University of South Carolina—an ironic long-distance move taking me into the heart of the Bible Belt. A literature professor seemed like a pretty awesome job for a writer, and I quickly dived into studying nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature, children’s and young adult literature, and women’s studies. I developed a twisted interest in solving the Jack the Ripper murders. It’s still a cold case for me, but a few years after graduate school, I published my first book, Ripper, a young adult paranormal mystery about the murders.
Now, in my thirties, I’m still diving down rabbit holes. If I had a TARDIS, I’d spin it wildly all over time and the universe to explore my questions. But since I don’t have one (sigh…), I explore rabbit holes mostly through writing. I write about everything from Jack the Ripper to Jesus. I love writing young adult books, historical fiction, and articles about faith, politics, and parenting. And yes, I’m still subversive. At children’s birthday parties, I’ve been known to turn conversations with other moms away from serial ear infections to Fifty Shades of Grey. Furthermore, an Episcopalian now, I can often be found in my priests’ offices asking angsty and heretical questions.
Apart from writing, I work as an Assistant Professor of English at Columbia College, a liberal arts women’s college in Columbia, South Carolina. When not writing or teaching, I’m spending time with husband, Shawn, and two young (and yes, also subversive) children. For fun, I like to binge watch Dr. Who, run with my lab, Annie, daydream about Mr. Darcy, practice yoga, and eat anything and everything chocolate.