I've spent the last four years in a middle school library-- reading middle school literature and hand selling those books to my students. Unfortunately a Reduction in Staff (RIF) due to budget cuts left me unexpectedly unemployed and lost. Not only did I miss the staff and my students but I also missed being surrounded by all those books.
I've always loved writing but it wasn't something I could fit into my busy life of family and work. I started writing my memoir about 15 years ago-- ignoring the fact that memoirs are only interesting if they're about famous people. I just wanted to tell my stories, the things I learned, the things I didn't. To reflect on my life as a child through my now adult eyes.
Then I fell in love with middle-school fiction. Of course at first it was a requirement for my career-- I mean how can you get kids to read the books you are offering in your library if you haven't read them yourself, right? But I soon fell in love with middle-grade fiction, fiction designed and created for our most receptive readers. I found myself not just reading so I could make recommendations but reading for me.
I started my first novel the first summer of my unemployment and after given a deadline from a friend, finished by that Christmas.