I live in Colorado, but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where my mother was a police detective. I always wanted to help her solve crimes and did give my two cents on some of my mom's cases whether she asked or not. I secretly wanted to be a detective, too, but I was way too conflict-averse (scared) to go into the crime-solving business.
I've had a few jobs: candy striper, sales, waiting tables, IRS tax collector, corporate manager, and office lady at a middle school, among others. I enjoyed most of those jobs (and they provide great background for books), but I landed my favorite job of all when I became a writer, the thing I dreamed of doing since childhood.
Okay, but write about what?
Readers often ask writers where they get their ideas. I found plenty right at home. Not only was my mom a street cop, she also worked as a crime investigator for the district attorney. My stepdad is a criminal lawyer and former public defender which means I got to see both "The Law" and "The Order" from both sides of the courtroom (and the dinner table). My husband worked many years at a police department and now runs a city courtroom.
They say you should write what you know. I didn’t need to be a detective to figure out what I ought to write: crime fiction. I began with No Place Safe, a memoir about growing up during Atlanta Missing Children investigation on which my mother was a lead detective. That book has been optioned for television by ABC Signature studios and Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley. I'm still a little freaked out that my teenaged life might one day be on TV.
But that story was so dark, and very real. I soon realized that, though I like writing about crime, I'd prefer to make things up. I never expected to write for teens until my agent pointed out that I tended to write in a YA voice. So I began the Langdon Prep series and had so much fun writing it, I decided she was right.
Now when I sit at my laptop to spin a story, I know how lucky I am to finally be doing the thing I love..