I was born and reared in a small town in South Carolina.

In case y’all don’t know, South Carolina has two parts: the Lowcountry and the Upstate. Y’all are familiar with the Lowcountry. Its capital is Charleston, a place where people speak with a drawl that will melt butter, where that butter would be stirred into grits that take at least twenty minutes to cook, and where those grits would be topped with fresh-caught shrimp sautéed in a spicy cream sauce.

I, however, am from the other part.

I spent the first years of my life living in a trailer in Iva, South Carolina, a town of about a thousand people. My Grandpa used to brag that at least it had a red light, whereas its rival city did not. When I was young, we moved to Anderson where I attended public school, including T.L. Hanna High. In 1988, I graduated top of my class. My valedictory speech contained so many quotes (many in Latin) that I’m grateful VCRs no longer exist.

I next attended Furman University, a liberal arts college that was affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention when I enrolled.   My senior year, I came out of the closet and broke off my engagement to my high school sweetheart. That same year, Furman decided to break its ties with the SC Baptists and became an independent university. Coincidence? Albert Einstein said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” I tend to agree with him.

God has been important in my life. I grew up Southern Baptist and attended Concord Baptist Church Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday nights. During my high school and college years, I played organ and piano at various churches across the Upstate. While pursuing my Master’s in Public Administration, I was the organist at a Southern Baptist church in Syracuse, New York. I turned down the opportunity to interview for a scholarship at NYU Law School to accompany my church choir in their Easter cantata. As a result, my only scholarship was to Northwestern Law School in Chicago.

During my first year of law school, I worked retail across Michigan Avenue from the man that would later become my husband. Even though we spent almost a year no more than a hundred yards apart, we didn’t meet until 13 years later.

In 1996, I took a job at one of the largest law firms in the world and moved to San Diego, California. Ten years later, I met my husband. We married on Halloween in 2008, and four days later Prop 8 passed.

In 2010 I decided to pursue a career as an author, but I really began writing when I was six years old. My first short story was about shoes. A left shoe fell in love with another left shoe, and everyone told the shoe it was wrong and that it needed to be with a right shoe. But the left shoe loved the other left shoe and ignored what everyone said. Eventually, the two left shoes got married and had “Keds.” I have been crafting bad puns ever since.

I dabble in molecular gastronomy and am a devout follower of the principles of the Flavor Bible (no relation to the King James Version). My parmesan foam on truffled risotto has brought a tear to more than one eye. I can make a gourmet meal in ten minutes from anything that’s in the pantry, yet I continue to fail at every attempt to spherify.

I used to love international travel, but after being shaken down for money at an airport in Nigeria, I now prefer car trips with my husband, Vegas the Rottweiler, and Webster the Affenpinscher.

For twenty years, I made my parents proud when I worked as a corporate attorney. But on August 1, 2016, I quit my job (and disappointed my parents). I’m now a full-time writer, speaker, and advocate for “agreeable disagreement.”

My debut novel, The Wisdom of Stones, was published in May 2017.

I’m the host of the weekly podcast Be the Bridge, available on iTunes.