I’m an American author, originally from Oregon, now living overseas. That gives me some excellent real-life fodder for Abbie and Edward as they criss-cross the continent, running into cultural difficulties and dilemmas. It’s possible some of these situations actually happened to me…likely, even. So I write for me (and people like me) who feel a bit out of place at times.

I’ve been married to Mr. West for more than 15 years, and we’ve got two great kids. Being a full-time mama means I’m a part-time writer; it means I write a bit slower than the average author, but it doesn’t impact their quality (though it does sometimes impact dinner’s quality…). Also, it means that reading counts as work…I’ve got it rough, I know.

My love of books I caught from my grandmother, who worked in a library and always made sure she had classics and new releases for me when I came in. (Hold list? What’s that?) She was the best, and I know she’d be proud of my work now. She’s also one of the reasons I became a teacher, to help infect the next generation with a love of books.

My love of fantasy started with Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede–I resonated so deeply with Cimorene and the expectations she was determined to buck. I wanted way more out of life than society seemed to be offering me, and her fighting spirit supported me in that. (I’ve got book Twitter for that now.)