1. How did you end up at Santa Clara University?
My parents were Broncos and were married in the mission. Nine of my relatives went to SCU as well and so did my brother and sister. I was wearing Bronco gear before I even knew where Santa Clara was, so I guess you could say I was born to be a Bronco.
2. Who was your favorite professor and why?
I can’t narrow it down to one, which I think is a good thing! Professor Vallor’s philosophy courses helped broaden my mind and made me a better storyteller. Professor McIsaac’s creative writing classes made me fall even more in love with telling stories. (She also helped edit a very early draft of Waiting at Hayden’s!) And Professor Malone taught practical career advice that helped me better understand the industry I was trying to break into.
3. What is your favorite memory of your time at SCU?
Leading Search retreats and teaching fitness classes at Malley!
4. Where did you live while you were a student?
On campus, I lived in Dunne and Sobrato. Off-campus, I was in a house on Monroe Street near Blinkey’s.
5. What was your favorite Benson food?
Sushi Wednesday’s. Is that still a thing?
6. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A novelist! I’m a firm believer that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to if we are patient enough and take actionable steps in the direction of our goals daily. I know what it’s like to have a dream in your heart that takes years to accomplish and I hope anyone reading this gives herself/himself the gift of following your heart wherever it’s trying to lead you.
7. What inspired you to write your first book?
Growing up I was a huge Nicholas Sparks’ fan and my freshman year at Santa Clara I came up with the idea for a love story of my own. I took a gap year after that and moved to Charleston, South Carolina, the setting of The Notebook, to give myself the time to get that story down on paper. That story is the one in your hands: Waiting at Hayden’s! It was published ten years later.
8. What challenges did you encounter when you wrote Waiting at Hayden’s?
What challenges didn’t I encounter? Writing a book is hard and publication is even harder. I heard that in almost every writing class I ever took and from those pursuing more traditional career paths. That being said, so what? If I were teaching a writing class, that’s what I’d tell my students. So what. Ignore the noise and do the work. If you have a passion for something, and break down the steps to accomplish it, you will eventually get there!
9. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Study what works in your genre, write every single day, explore your natural curiosities, and KNOW you will figure it out. Doubt wastes so much time. Shift doubt to belief and you will get there a lot faster!
10. What are you reading or writing about now?
I’m currently working through edits for my next novel, One Perfect Weekend, which is also a love story and will be out next summer!
11. Is there anything you would like to share with the Bronco community?
Thank you for your support! At my very first book signing, many Broncos showed up. And several Broncos helped me on my journey to publication. If there’s any way I can support any of you as you work towards personal or professional goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out. That’s what this community is all about!