Origin Story: My dad was in the Navy, so we moved around a lot when I was young. As a shy introvert, escaping into books was easier than making new friends. Often when I read, I’d imagine endings I preferred. Then one day it hit me that I could imagine not only the endings but also the beginnings and middles, too! I started writing short stories and eventually novels as well.
My detour into filmmaking is my brother’s fault. The local film commission was offering a grant to make a short film. He said we should turn one of my short stories into a script, so we did—and we won! We just secured distribution on our first feature film, Grave Intentions, so we hope to have news on that front soon.
Pipeline Accolades: 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished Winner - YA (The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf)
For my novel The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf:
- 2016 SCBWI Writing Contest-Novel Category 2nd place
- 2013 SCBWI Novel work-in-progress grant
For short fiction:
- 2011 July Author of the Month for Highlights for Children
- 2009 Highlights Fiction contest winner
- 2008 South Carolina Fiction Project winner
- 2018 Artist Ventures Initiative Grant from SC Arts Commission
- 2011 SC Film Commission's Indie Grants winner
- 2009 Semifinalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
- 2009 SC Film Production Fund grant winner
- 2008 Honorable mention in Screenplay Festival
- 2008 Quarterfinalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
For short films:
- 2011 Myrtle Beach International Film Festival—2nd Place Short
- 2011 Charleston International Film Festival—Cinebarre Award Best SC Short
- 2011 Lady Filmmakers Festival—Artistic Director’s Award
On Being an Artist: It’s funny, but I never think of myself as an artist because in my mind artists are sophisticated people with something important to say. I just want to entertain people. And it really feels weird to call yourself an artist when you’re writing about animal butts, farts, and poop. But even in that case, I know figuring out the balance between the science and the humor is an art, so I should embrace the term artist with confidence.
Fueled by: My original focus was writing YA, but I’ve spent the past nine years tutoring elementary students who struggle with reading through a program called Reading Partners. Now I’m driven to write books that will draw in reluctant readers, so they can escape into books like I used to do.
Currently: I’m preparing for the September release of my debut Battle of the Butts, a nonfiction picture book about ten animals that do weird things with their butts, while working on several other books about unusual animal traits.
*Feature Photo: Jocelyn Rish