So what had happened was...
I was born and raised in South Carolina, a proud child of the 80's. Also, my dad is Puerto Rican, and my mom is super white. I have neither a Hispanic or Southern accent. No clue why. Growing up, I was awkward. I didn't understand fashion at all (not that I do now) and was never into what was cool while it was actually popular. But I didn't mind it so much because I had a few really great friends and wonderful outlets. By high school, I was a seasoned dancer, diehard theater buff, and in a chamber choir that at one point was tied for third in the nation competitively.
My great ambition when I graduated high school was theatre. I wanted to be a performer in the WORST WAY! I took a semester off, did a bunch of local shows, taught at a theater camp, and went to Coastal Carolina University in the spring majoring in Musical Theatre.
After making a fantastic mistake and essentially following a boy to a different school (and state) I went to Radford University and switched my major to Music. Then Communication. Then History. Maybe a year into college, I was over theatre (though I still love performing) and decided that what I would really like to do was go on staff with the campus church and just be helpful to students. I settled on History because I could finish it on time after switching so much, and because I liked listening to the stories.
Then, those plans were thwarted, too. I met a guy who I kept rejecting but whose heart was set on me. He somehow talked me into moving to Blacksburg, marrying him, and having babies together. I'm still not sure how he did this... well played, Mr. Cass. After that, my main hope was to be a good homemaker and stay at home with our kids when we had them.
In 2007, my world was shaken by a local tragedy, and I took it pretty hard. Over the course of the following year, I tried a lot of things to get myself together resulting in me sitting down to write a story where my character had to deal with my problems so I wouldn't have to. The distance from my head to the page helped me step back a bit and cope with all the things I was feeling. I ended up not finishing that story because I woke up from a nap with the idea that would become The Siren and HAD to get that written. After I got into the habit of writing, lots of ideas came, including The Selection and handful of others that are waiting their turn.
Once I started writing, I felt like an idiot. How had I not known I loved this all along? Seriously. Dancing, singing, acting, history... it's all just story telling. And I love it.
I self-published The Siren in 2009 (while I was five months pregnant) after not having a lot of success querying it but aching to give it to the handful of followers I had. Their support was a lot of what made me want to continue to try and share my stories with people.
In early 2010 (when my son was just two months old), I started querying The Selection and was lucky enough to find a wonderful agent in Elana Roth. Sometimes I still can't believe she took a chance on me. After a few months, Erica Sussman at HarperTeen snapped up The Selection, and it came out in the spring of 2012 (while I was six months pregnant with my daughter). Now I'm a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and I'm thrilled to have the chance to share my stories with the world.
I currently live in Christiansburg, VA with my hubby and two kids and spend my free time playing on tumblr and twitter and eating cake.