On April 4, 2018, I wrote the first two chapters of The Story Seer on my phone at 5 in the morning in between online ESL classes I was teaching from my basement. Remember when I said I was trying all kinds of things to find my dream? Yeah, this was part of that.

I decided to just to “see what happens” during my 1/2 hour break, and before I knew it, I had 2700 words and ten pages.


While not many of those words ended up making it to the final draft, those two chapters set a precedence for my writing. If I was going to do it, I was going to have to squeeze it in.

So, I began writing my novel, in the midst of being a full time stay at home mom to three kids (ages 6, 4, and 1, and later on, while pregnant with #4), teaching 15 hours a week (from 5:00-8:00 every morning), holding a pretty substantial assignment at church, and supporting my husband who travelled a ton for work.

Looking back, I’m still not sure how I did it.

But here’s what I do remember:

Writing one-handed while breastfeeding my toddler.

Writing in my bed while my preschooler napped next to me.

Writing in the car pick up line waiting to pick up my first grader.

Writing at the playground.

Writing at basketball practice.

Writing into meal prep time and feeding the kids cereal for dinner.

Writing while the kids watched TV for four hours.

Putting the kids to bed at 7 and writing until 2 in the morning, then getting up to teach at 5.

Waiting until my husband fell asleep, then sneaking my laptop out from under my bed.

Taking my laptop to my hair appointment and writing with foils in my hair.

Are you seeing a theme here? I had to learn how to write anywhere and everywhere, fitting it in when I had the chance or making sacrifices when feasible/possible.

Soon, all those little 15-20 minute writing sessions began to add up. By February 2019, I had over 100,000 words and a first draft.

Double whoa.

But the more I wrote and the more I obsessed about this new passion, one question became blatantly obvious.

Would anyone ever read this?

How I answered that, next time!


Every good dystopian story needs a villain, right? Think President Snow in Hunger Games or the Volturi in Twilight. Remember, it’s the high stakes and the crazy circumstances that will really make the ordinary people and relationships shine.

So then why, for the life of me, couldn’t I think of a good villain for my “epic love” dystopian?

Maybe I just needed a few crazy circumstances in my real life.

The summer of 2018 was a rollercoaster ride for my family. My sister had her first baby, wildfires raged near my parent’s home in Northern California, and my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma—incurable brain cancer. I spent many days with my dad, driving from visiting my sister and her baby, up to the hospital to visit my mom, and back again. We talked about many things, from the sacred to the scary to the funny to the ridiculous.

I cherish those days and those conversations like you wouldn’t believe.

One conversation I remember in particular, was about my dad’s worry and anxiety concerning the fires back home.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could just send some rain?” he’d said. “Just send enough rain to put out all the fires. Wouldn’t that be something?”

Yes, technology like that could save so many lives and might literally save the world from the effects of climate change.

But, in the wrong hands, watch out.  

-cue the spine shivers-

It was a morally grey issue, one where both sides of the coin could make an argument. One where there’s not necessarily a right or a wrong answer. And you know I like my villains like I like the walls in my house—grey.

That day, The Seers were born!

So now that I had my story spark, and I had my villain, when on earth did I find the time to actually WRITE A BOOK?

The answer to that, next time!


I’ve struggled with the feeling that I am ordinary for quite a while.

I am a middle class white, 34-year-old, housewife with 4 children who lives in a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs, drives a minivan, roasts a chicken for dinner and binges Netflix before falling asleep next to her husband every night. There are literally thousands, tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of human beings in the world that fit that exact description.

Let’s be honest—I’m not special.

I was reading Stephanie Nielson’s book Heaven is Here when something inside of me clicked. Stephanie Nielson is also a middle class white, 30 something, housewife with 4 children who lives in a big house in the suburbs,  probably drives a minivan, roasts a chicken for dinner and binges Netflix before falling asleep next to her husband every night. But my gosh, is that woman remarkable.


Because in the midst of living that very ordinary life, Stephanie Nielson was in a plane crash that burned over 80% of her body. Yet, she managed to overcome that struggle to become one of the most popular “mommy bloggers” in the country. She was the same person she’d always been, but her circumstances changed, making the resilience, faith, endurance, grit, and determination that she’d always had more apparent.

So I guess in a way, everyone is special, but also not. It’s the special circumstances that bring out the specialness in people.   

As I was grappling with this discovery, I began reading a lot of what I like to call “epic love” stories. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, said love helps save the world. Books like Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi or Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Dystopian-type books where it’s their love against the world. Spoiler alert: their love always wins. A part of me was feeling a little jealous of these imaginary characters and their “epic love.” I wanted to have that. Remembering the story of Stephanie Nielson, I realized I already did.

What would happen if I took the love story of a twenty-year-old statistics student and a twenty-two-year-old pre-law student, let’s say? If I took their super ordinary love story- things like going bowling with friends, stopping on the side of the road to look at fireflies, strolling through the park, maybe even their wedding night- but instead of the boring world that it happened in, I framed it in a dystopian world. What would happen then?

This idea became the first building blocks for my debut novel, The Story Seer. And I realized what happens is, you turn something that the world sees as ordinary, and make it extraordinary. Because with the right circumstances, every love story is special.

Including mine.


It was a simple question, really. One that most people could easily answer. Children, in particular, seem to have a million of them.

“Be a professional basketball player.”

“Make a video game you can go inside of.”

“Be a famous singer.”

“Invent real-life unicorns.”

Dreams. They’re full of them.

When did I lose mine?

As you read last time, in my early 30s, I went through sort of a literary awakening, where after a decade of not reading, I suddenly read over 70 books in one year. It felt good, great, even. I felt more like me than I had in a long time. But something was still missing, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Then, one day out of the blue, my husband, Daniel, asked me the question, “What is your dream?”

I thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it.

For years my dreams had all been family-centered. To get married. To have kids. To be a stay-at-home-mom. To buy a house. But now that I had accomplished those, did that mean my dreaming days were over? What about the next 40+ years of my life? With four little kids were my dreams merely reduced to one day showering every day? Or one day having a clean house again? Surely, the rest of my life was worth more than that.

Finally, I answered.

“I guess I don’t have one.”

Daniel looked at me like I had just told him I didn’t have a home or anything to eat or a friend in the world. With a confused expression he simply said, “I can’t imagine a life without dreams.”

When I asked him what his dreams were, he was easily able to rattle off a fairly sizeable list of professional, personal, and family goals. That was the day I realized my life was really missing something.

So, off I went, in search of a dream.

I started practicing the piano again. Maybe piano was my new dream. Nope.

I got a part-time teaching job. Maybe teaching was my new dream. Nope.

I got a part-time statistics job. Maybe having a career was my new dream. Nope.

The more things I tried, the more things failed. But the one thing that wasn’t failing me, was reading. And the more I read, the more I felt pulled to the same dream I had had as a child. To have a love affair with words. To tell stories no one else could tell.

To be an author.

Now, I just needed to find my story.

How I found it, next time.


“Your writing is a disgrace to the English language.”  I actually had a teacher in high school tell me that.  It’s no wonder that I chose to study math in college, the furthest thing (in my mind) from reading and writing. I was not creative, not poetic, and NOT a writer. I tried to embrace that. I even went back and got a Master’s Degree in Statistics just for fun.

As a child, I loved to read and write. My dad was an elementary principal who engineered his own reading program, which he helped to implement in school districts around the country. Like him, I always had a book in my hand. I grew up reading adventures from Roald Dahl and Beverly Clary. I devoured Harry Potter when it came out in middle school and couldn’t get enough of Edward and Bella in Twilight as a teenager. I loved to write short stories and was a veracious journaler. In third grade, I proudly declared I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

But somewhere along the way, that fire faded.

Maybe it was that the books got a little less exciting. The classics are classics, right? And everyone should automatically love them, right? But to some (cough, me, cough), the classics are just downright boring.

Maybe it was that reading and writing felt like work. I was suddenly made to read books I didn’t like and then write long essays about them. Even to the most enthusiastic reader, that sounds a little like drudgery.

Or maybe it was that teacher. The one who put the final squash on my love of reading and writing. Perhaps I wasn’t the best at writing theme papers on those real page-turners he chose. But that didn’t mean that I couldn’t write at all, did it? I was led to believe that yes, that is precisely what that meant. And I did believe that for nearly two decades.

Fast forward to my early thirties. Holding fast to the idea that I. Was. Not. A. Reader. Or. A. Writer. I had worked in insurance and banking as a statistician for several years. Spreadsheets and SAS code were my jam, and I liked it that way. My most recent career, however, was as a mom to four curious, adorable little humans. My oldest, my son Logan, was just beginning to read. I loved watching him devilishly fly through literary works of art such as Captain Underpants and Goosebumps. He would often stay up late into the night to finish an extra good chapter or work on illustrating his own comic book. His enthusiasm was contagious. I vowed not to let him succumb to the same fate that I had. I had to keep his love of reading and writing alive.

I knew for my children to be readers, they needed to see me reading. After all, it was by watching my dad teach and love the English language that the spark had once been aglow in me. But first, I needed to lay some ground rules. Number one: I wasn’t going to read anything I didn’t want to read. Screw the classics. I would go for genres and books geared toward lovesick teenagers. Seeing as that was the stage of life I was in the last time I actually enjoyed reading, it seemed like a good place to start. Number two: if I wasn’t liking a book, I wouldn’t force myself to finish. I didn’t owe anyone anything. Reading was going to be fun again, and if it wasn’t, I would quit and start something else. And finally, I was going to stay the heck away from “book people.”  Anyone who would trample on what little confidence or flame I had left.  People like my high school English teacher.

So, off I went to my local bookstore, in search of something entertaining to prove to my son (and myself) that I was a lifelong reader, and he could be one too!  Perusing the young adult section, my eyes glazed over with all the options. It felt crucial that I pick a book I would like, but where to start? I finally decided on The Selection by Kiera Cass because it was sparkly and had a pretty girl in a big, flouncy dress on the cover. If this book wasn’t for me, none of them would be. Little did I know, that book would change my life.

Turns out, The Selection was indeed the perfect book. I inhaled it, along with the other two books in the series, in less than 48 hours. Fast-paced, romantic, with just enough action and intrigue. Where had this book been all my life? I thought books like this only lived on the New York Times Best Seller list, awaiting their turn to be made into blockbuster movies. Ya know, once in a blue moon type of books. But here it was: a book some ditzy girl stumbled into a bookstore one day and chose it for its pretty cover. It was unknown, and it was fabulous. Was it possible there were more like it?

The next book I tried was Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Again, I gorged myself on the series, being held hostage by the stories late into the night. And it just kept happening. Each series I tried, I loved. Reading books like Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Delerium by Lauren Oliver, and Rush by Eve Silver felt like uncovering hidden gems. Reading was fun again, and I was having a blast.

I felt like I had been dying of thirst and had finally been given water to drink. Within a year, I had read 72 books. Exactly 72 more than I had read the previous ten years combined. My soul was awakened and transformed. I felt more like myself than I had in years. But there was still one thing lacking. A thing my husband uncovered when asking me one simple question.

“What is your dream?”

The answer to that question… next time.