1. What are some of your favorite books or authors?
Believe it or not, I really love fantasy books…perhaps because I like to stay plugged in to what my kids are reading, or maybe because, at heart, I’m just a kid myself. My current fav’s include Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series and all of the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. But when I’m in the mood for something a little more uplifting and …er…age-appropriate, I love to pick up anything by Mitch Albom, Richard Paul Evans, or Jason Wright. And of course, my all time favorite book is Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl.
2.You studied many subjects in college, how did you wind up writing and what made you switch to book writing?
I did enroll in more than my fair share of majors—journalism, communications, pre-med, pre-law, German, and film, just to name a few—but ultimately graduated with a B.S. in psychology. Then I threw everything I’d learned out the window and earned an MBA. After landing my first job in business, I found myself frequently answering the question, “So, what do you do for work?” My most common response was, “Oh, I mostly just respond to emails all day long. How about you?” Long story short: corporate work was boring me to death. I came home each day amazed and confused at the monotony of it all. I’d hoped it would be stimulating, but instead it was just exhausting. So one day during lunch I decided to start writing a novel—something I’d always wanted to do—and the rest, as they say, is history.
3. Do you have any rituals that keep you writing or get you started?
A Diet Dr. Pepper is usually a good start, but I wouldn’t say I have any particular rituals. However, you might find it interesting that I frequently write with thick, bulky, rifle-shooting headphones over my ears to block out all sound. I find it much easier to get inside my head when the only thing I can hear is the space between my ears.
4. Your books inspire hope and love, what inspires you to write about such positive stories?
Hmm…tough question. I think most of it is simply that I am personally drawn to stories that are uplifting in one way or another. When I turn the final page of a book and close the cover, I like to walk away feeling like I’ve been touched in a positive way, and so when I sit down to write I have that same basic goal in mind. The other contributing factor is my children: Nothing is more important to me than the happiness of my family, so when I’m writing I try to think about what things might be important for them to read as they get older. In the back of my mind I hope that what I put into a book will someday help my kids get through life’s little trials.
5. How did you come up with the misfortune sayings that are in Sophie's fortune cookies?
Most of the misfortunes just sort of ‘grew’ naturally out of what Sophie was experiencing in the story. Those were the easiest ones to write, and probably the most meaningful. The rest came from pouring through thousands of actual fortune cookie sayings and just tweaking them to have a more pessimistic flavor.
6. How do you straighten yourself out after life has given you a curve?
More Diet Dr. Pepper helps offset the curves!
Just kidding. I think my recipe for getting through things is no different than anyone else’s. I lean on the most important things in my life, namely my faith, my family, and my friends. With a combination of those three F’s, all curves can be straightened.
7. Sophie lacks happiness. What do you think is the secret to happiness?
Confucius say, “The secret to happiness is recognizing it.” (Note: as far as I know, Confucius didn’t really say that, but it sounds better with his name attached.) But seriously, it’s way too easy to dwell on the bad things in life. Acknowledging—and being grateful for—the good things, however small they may be, makes life much sweeter.