I write fiction with hints of whimsy, glimmers of fantasy, and strokes of the supernatural. My debut novel, CURIO, a young adult steampunk fantasy, sets coming of age and first love against the backdrop of steam-propelled greed and societal repression.
Story is on my heart and in my blood. My mother, best-selling novelist Donita K. Paul, raised my brother and me to love the written word, and there was never a time when the craft of writing wasn't part of my life whether it was making stories out of my required vocabulary sentences at school or reading the Brontes, Anne Rice, or Patricia Veryan.
After college I focused mainly on raising my young boys, but in 2006 a miscarriage shook me. I began writing novels and found healing and a reconnection to my creative soul. Ten years and five novels later, I've found my heartbeat in Young Adult fiction and speculative elements that allow me to translate my faith in metaphor and symbolism.
I'm passionate about sharing the message that we are beautiful, accepted, and strong the way we are, and yet there is no shame in our vulnerability and struggles. Funny that I would choose to champion authenticity through fantastical fiction.
In the real world, when I'm not writing, I love spending time with my husband, boys, and our house full of animals. We're a geeky household so it's Star Wars and Marvel and Minecraft and I couldn't be happier with those fandom choices. My husband, also an artist despite his convincing engineer cover, has joined my fictional worlds by brainstorming, beta reading, and lately, creating his own Steampunk art. I love nothing more than to rummage through antique shops and watch the maker in him come alive.
About my Faith
Narnia and Middle Earth shaped my faith almost as much as my mom's nightly Bible readings. To have a concept of God that includes a lion who isn't safe and the epic scope of good versus evil in Lord of the Rings and then to encounter legalism in churches and private Christian schools made for confusion and frustration with evangelicalism. The angry God I saw represented and the rules--particularly those that sent harmful messages about my body--did not fit in the big, wild picture I had of a universe of infinite story and the Deep Magic behind it all. Seriously, there were more important things than whether my skirt made it all the way down my long legs to my knees and why weren't we talking about fairies more?
I rebelled, not against God but against standards I found ridiculous. I had fun, got in trouble, wore combat boots and listened to The Cranberries, U2, and Nirvana. I know, the horror.
Looking back on that now, I understand that it is safe and good to question things because in that exploration you discover truth, parameters that make sense, and the real freedom that is grace. Questioning and rebellion against repression are part of any "punk" genre, and in writing from that mindset I feel challenged and alive. I'm thankful for the wide, wonderful faith base I received as a child, and even for the years I spent in legalism because they flavor my writing with the pursuit of individuality and a broader understanding of the mysteries of God.
The biggest problem facing Christian artists today?
We are so afraid He will abandon us, and so we put Him in everything with our hands and our mouths and our rules, but the truth is He was always there. He is in the story I haven't written yet. He is in the song with curses and naked longing. He is in the disturbing art that asks, "Why, why, why?"
We must let go of our fear and belief that if we don't say His name He will disappear and instead approach art with the glorious anticipation of meeting Him in ways new to us, but not to Him.