Saturday, January 10, 2009

Author Bio

I have always enjoyed writing and found it to be a healing experience to put words on paper and re-examine them. I was first published and duly recognized in a county-wide writing contest for fiction while in the eighth grade. This gave me the courage my peers had tried to wipe from me and I continued writing, although mainly for my friends and my school newspaper.

My parents being sensible folks, I was encouraged to set aside my interests in writing stories and instead pursue a career in teaching. I earned my Bachelor’s degree and gleaned every strange bit of knowledge I could in the process. I married, we moved several times and I taught middle school for one of the largest school districts in the United States. Teaching social studies honed my love of research and my ability to work with all personality types. But writing was still on my mind. I created independent comics, developing a better understanding of proper visual pacing. I also started a writer’s club for students and taught a drama class. Both taught me valuable lessons about reading.

After five amazing years of teaching (some easier than others), I felt the undeniable need to move back north. We did and discovered I was pregnant. My husband continued teaching, I freelanced, took care of our son most days and got reacquainted with my parents and brother.

But my mother developed cancer. Sarcoma. The once avid hiker, sailor and traveler--the woman who made decorative birthday cakes for the kids at the local homeless shelter and taught the physically and emotionally handicapped to be vital parts of society had a leg amputated to save her life. And for a while the scans, x-rays and other tests came back fine. Mom was a survivor.

But cancer is a tricky beast and sarcoma's not well understood because it lacks research funds. Nodes on Mom's lungs were missed during an x-ray and just a few short months later, she was dying. They pulled out all the stops. We switched hospitals and they did all they knew to, too.

And then they said she had one month left to live. They were wrong. One month was an optimistic estimate. When my mother’s cancer stole her from us far too young, I stopped creating everything.

There was no art—there were no words for six long months.

But I believe writing is a catharsis and I started again, fresh. I began freelancing and have written different pieces for several fascinating companies, both domestic and abroad. Articles I've done for a South Korean publishing company will be used to help teach children English. Web content I wrote for an Irish non-profit will help slowly regreen parts of the Emerald Isle. Ghost stories I researched for a popular online site... Well, let's face it. They were to entertain folks (me included).

I have never had much time for entering contests, but I entered Textnovel.com’s first-ever writing writing contest where I was a double finalist and then the overall winner for my YA paranormal novel “13 to Life: A Werewolf’s Tale.” I had written it in just under five weeks and earned some very loyal fans thank you all--you rock!).

I've been interviewed by CNN.com regarding my Textnovel win and my thoughts on everything from online publishing to cell phone novels in America and I'm currently setting up speaking engagements. I LOVE to talk to people about--well, nearly everything.

And, happily, 13 to Life is growing into a series of books being brought to you by a major publishing house starting in 2010.

Life is good, and love goes on long after those we love are gone.

Have faith, remember your loved ones, represent them well and fight the good fight!
~Saoirse