Kirkus Reviews calls the debut novel of this young English teacher and rookie but life-seasoned novelist “unexpected, thought-provoking storytelling.”
Now resides in: Shreveport
Degrees: B.A., English (’06); M.A., secondary education (’09)
What brought you to Tech? I first chose Tech because I wanted to be a journalist and loved their program. I soon learned that writing true things was not my strong suit, and switched to studying fiction and creative writing instead.
Why did you choose this career? I’ve dreamed since I was 10 or 11 about becoming a writer -- it’s the one thing I always knew for sure that I wanted to do.
Tell us about how your idea for “Where Things Come Back” developed: I got the idea for “WTCB” while driving home from Tech one weekend when I was a senior. I heard a story on NPR about a town in Arkansas where a thought-to-be-extinct woodpecker (the Ivory-billed) had been spotted, causing the small town to be thrust into national celebrity. I decided, right then, that I had to set a story in a place like that.
You were on campus for a guest reading; how bizarre/interesting was that? My very first public reading was a Louisiana Tech in March 2011 and it was quite bizarre to have former professors showing up to hear me speak. I loved it though, and was so pleased with the turn out of students and teachers alike.
Was a lot of your writing after school? Between classes? During the summer? While I was in college, I was always working on something; after class, in class, and all summer long. This first novel was started my senior year, but I finished it about a year and a half after I graduated from Tech and started teaching.
Tell us about your young teaching career; what have the students taught YOU? I’ve been teaching public school for five years now. I’ve taught English in every grade from 6th to 12th. Although I am about to take a break from teaching to focus on my writing career, I have learned a lot about life from my students over these years. The most important thing I’ve learned is to be patient with myself, which something seems impossible or unlikely. I just try harder, like so many of my students in the past have done.
Where you see yourself in five years? In five years I hope to have released at least one more novel and to have found a city that I can finally call home, either on the East Coast or the West Coast. I hope to be actively writing and possibly teaching creative writing at the college level.
Your best memories of Tech…: were actually in-class. I remember the small groups in my creative writing and literature courses. I loved being able to connect with other students and share ideas about writing and critique each other’s work.
Your advice to Tech freshmen today: Don’t lock yourself into one idea for your future; you may find out that you can do so much more than what you’ve settled on.
Your advice to Tech’s future writers: Be vigilant in your pursuit to share your writing with the world. Don’t let rejections foil you -- they are inevitable and a necessary step to becoming a real writer. Also, be humble, but don’t ever doubt your writing skills. If you’re good, own it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s…: to never stop looking at the world with wonder and to find any way possible to share what I see.