Q: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer, and how did you get your start?
A: I realized my passion for writing when I was in fifth grade. Everyone in my class had to write a children’s book, and I chose to write about my dog, a Dalmatian. After that, I constantly wrote short stories and advice columns for pet health as a teenager.
Working in a health care agency, I rewrote a client’s employee training manual. That was when I realized I could make money writing for businesses. I started several health newsletters in Lubbock, and, in 2013, I found the wonderful world of ghost writing online.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
A: Cassandra Clare is the author of my favorite series, The Mortal Instruments. The books spoke to my desire to make the world a better place. Plus, it was closely related to my fiction stories.
Mary Shelley is my other favorite author. I have no idea why, but Frankenstein helps me focus. There is something so unique and special about that book. It makes me think about what could be and how it’s perceived.
Q: Are there any tools that you find invaluable while writing?
A: I love my AP Stylebook Add-In for Microsoft Word and Microsoft OneNote. In fact, I have more than 100,000 pages of notes in OneNote!
Q: We hear you run a bird rescue—how fascinating! How did you get involved?
A: My best friend, a Quaker Parrot named Chaska, passed away shortly after Christmas 2013. At the time, I did not have the money to take him to the vet. So, I decided to dedicate myself to helping birds that never had the chance to know the bond we had.
At most, I’ve cared for 15 birds at once, but I haven’t had a foster parrot in almost a year. I miss the chatter, but I know that it means that fewer people are buying parrots without considering the full implications. I do have two budgies that I adopted wholeheartedly, Neo and Azul, but they are perpetually nervous and afraid of everything. However, they do like to sit on top of my monitor and poop on it. Sigh.
Q: You’ve got a strong background in the medical field; how do you keep up with industry trends?
A: I have many friends still working in the hospital. I listen to them talk, and I subscribe to about 20 different health care magazines. Every morning I read the “The Journal of the American Medical Association” and “The Journal of Commerce.” Believe it or not, manufacturing trends often coincide with changes in health care standards.
Q: Have you noticed industry-wide changes or shifts in content related to the medical/health field?
A: More clients want content that speaks to the real-world implications of medical treatments on both personal and financial resources. With 2017 characterized by an ongoing health care debate in politics, health care affordability and touching on each topic’s relationship to the health care legislation seems to be a new trend.
Q: When working with a new client, what are the most important things you need to know before starting on a project?
A: The client’s time zone, future content plans for the next piece, and pain points. Depending on the topic, I will even propose my ideas for future projects, and it tends to bring me more work. In fact, my consistent clients started with me asking those questions.
Q: What does your workspace look like?
A: I have a blue (read: “Barney-colored purple”) room that I use for my office. I have an executive desk that I bought at a garage sale for $5, which I almost set on fire when I found it was home to a wasp nest! I have a 32” external monitor, bookshelf, whiteboard, and stand for my printer as well. There are dozens of writing quotes, tips, and notes scribbled across my walls. At any given time, hundreds of puzzle pieces cover my desk, too.