Around Christmas time, I traveled back to my hometown to visit family. My cousin Leah, who is three years younger than me, started talking about my book and how excited she was I had published. She said something that made me start thinking about my past and how obsessed I was with books at a young age. We used to spend many nights together having sleepovers at our grandmother’s house. We would bring a bunch of clothes and play dress up and pretend we were married to rock stars and give Grams a few good laughs throughout the night. But when nighttime came and we crawled into bed, Leah would sometimes have problems falling asleep. She would always ask for me to tell her a story, and I happily obliged.
Back in the day, I was a mega-fan for Ann M. Martin and The Baby-Sitters Club. I read all the books, faithfully waiting for the next to come out and take me on a new adventure. I read the mystery specials and the travel specials and the auto-biographies. I went to the movie in theaters; I even started my own Baby-Sitters Club complete with Kid Kits in my neighborhood. So when Leah asked me tell her stories, what do you think I talked about? The Baby-Sitters Club, of course! I went through all the characters, telling Leah about their lives and making up stories for them each night. I didn’t realize at the time, but I look back fondly on those nights and understand that was the beginning of my storytelling days. And the start of my obsession with books.
I had been a big reader before I discovered Kristy Thomas and the gang, but never had books really touched my life like these did. When I was going through a troubled childhood, reading was able to transport me to another world, one where I could forget my problems and happily live someone else’s life. These books also taught me a thing or two about life, and I credit them for helping me stay in line. My life could have taken many different paths, and I’m really proud of the one I chose. Reading the BSC books helped me understand how to make good choices, find the right group friends, deal with maturity, bad grades, finding jobs, even death. As I got older and outgrew BSC (moving on to Sweet Valley High – of course!) I could still appreciate the lessons learned and comfort I received from the books. And that played a large part in why I wanted to write my own books one day.
I have been so thrilled to read reviews that show me Destined to Fail touched readers in the way I was hoping. I have gotten emails from girls telling me they were in a bad relationship but figured out a way to get out. I have received emails from girls telling me they are finally taking a risk in their professional lives because my story motivated them to do so. That is why I wrote this book. That is what I wanted readers to think and feel. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude and relief that my story is sticking with people, perhaps in the way Ann M. Martin’s stuck with me. My obsession with books has led me to where I am now – a busy book blogger, an editor and blog tour coordinator, and of course – a published author.