Just a woman who turned passion into purpose and experiences into chapters. With a little romantic flare, of course. Thanks for coming along on this wild ride.
You can buy Falling Backward here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
The title took a bit of time. I wanted it to be catchy, easy to remember, and make room for a series to be built. I also wanted it to reflect the story without giving too much away.
At first, I toyed with many titles that just had to do with Ibiza, but the book is so much more than that story in and of itself. It’s about what this memory did and what it can hold. It’s about reevaluating past choices and what happens when second chances come around.
One night right before bed, it hit me. Two words…Falling Backward. They rolled off my tongue. I saw them on the cover and I felt them in my bones.
The sequel’s title was chosen by my brother-in-law and I love it just as much. “Falling” is part of that title too.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
To be honest, the cover was the first thing I envisioned before the writing process even began. I knew exactly how I wanted it to look and when it came back to me, I was blown away. I was amazed at how exact it was to what I wanted. Seeing the cover and then holding it in my hands also made it feel real. Like, Wow! This is happening. It’s really happening. I. Wrote. A. Book. Look! Here it is!
I can’t wait to see what they do for the sequel.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
Oh, God! Yes, and honestly, I have been preparing myself for this question for a while because the story behind why and how is just as intriguing as the book itself.
Simply saying that it involved many people and events without any explanation won’t do it any justice because it’s a lot more complex than that.
My book is loosely based on the truth. Everything about the Ibiza trip in Falling Backward happened to me twenty-two years ago. This little holiday ultimately changed my life and it came full circle in the beginning of 2021.
When I was twenty, I went to Europe with a girlfriend. My mom wanted me to not only see where I was born but also realize the world was so much bigger than the tiny life I was compromising myself to have. She was hopeful that in some way, this trip would help me recognize my self-worth, teach me to let go of self-doubt, and build better for myself.
Man, was she ever right.
At first, Ibiza wasn’t even on the agenda. But after very little debate and some last-minute planning, it became the side trip of all side trips. I didn’t go to this island believing that it would change me in any way. I just thought I would have a good time. I didn’t think I would meet someone I would connect with or that they would go to great lengths to find me, follow me, protect me, and stay by my side for three days—but that happened and both the island and that person left an impression on me.
This very choice made on a whim changed everything for me. It was the catalyst. It’s what gave me the courage to leave my small town behind and end a toxic relationship once and for all.
Move ahead to December 2019 when I was on a flight home from Reykjavík, Iceland.
Things started to unknowingly click in an extremely strange way. I was introduced to the show Vikings and the actor Alex Høgh Andersen who played Ivar the Boneless. The character was a maniac but he spoke to me. I stayed seated pretty much the entire flight, glued to this show.
Ivar the Boneless was flawed and constantly doubted either by other people or within himself and I related to that. He was nuts, but his passion, loyalty, love, loss, pain, and determination made you understand why. Alex played him perfectly.
Then January 1st, 2020, hit and this weird yet powerful energy came over me. I can’t even describe it but I felt something big was on the horizon. Mind you, I was jet-lagged and had zero clue about a worldwide pandemic looming in the distance. Although, the day before, I was a little perplexed as to why there was a toilet paper shortage.
At first, when lockdowns started happening, I believed what I felt was about the pandemic, but later on, I realized it had nothing to do with the outside world but everything to do with me. That mighty, energetic shift on the horizon was the next step I was going to take on my personal journey.
We all got thrown into some form of a quarantine couch coma and I tried to make the best of it. I threw myself into every episode of Vikings; I created a travel photography IG page to celebrate the trips I had taken and to cope with the possibility of never being able to travel again; and I started blogging to help compartmentalize everything that was going on. I tried not to think too deeply about what I had felt on January 1st. I also started to develop a mini celebrity crush on Alex.
However, you can only watch so much TV or go down the social media rabbit hole or exercise or clean the house or stand in single-file lines for soap and TP before you find yourself going a little stir-crazy.
Since libraries were closed along with everything else and I already had Alex on the brain, I started reading fanfiction based on him. A read a few stories and started believing I could do this too…even though I never considered myself a fiction writer.
I have always written. It’s a passion, a release, and an outlet. I have also always wanted to be a bona fide writer but self-doubt kept preventing me from chasing that dream.
I should say this, though… My mother never doubted this path. My entire life she has told me to pursue writing and become a writer. My only regret is that I didn’t listen to her a lot sooner.
Still, I never imagined that everything leading up to this adventure would be the reason I took it.
I don’t know how the pandemic affected everyone else, but for me, along with the worry came lots of time to reflect and reevaluate. I was forced to pause then dissect. I was forced to stand still instead of getting pulled in a million directions and for once I was allowed to focus on what I wanted to do instead of what I had to do.
Even though the writing continued with more purpose, it was still just for personal entertainment or pandemic therapy and not at all a serious consideration for a book series.
Enter Anna Todd and the After series, the movie Ibiza Love Drunk, the second year of the pandemic, and that one weekend in Ibiza staring me right in the face twenty-one years later.
Anna Todd started writing the After series because of Harry Styles. I was sort of doing the same thing with my short stories because of Alex. She began writing the first book on her phone—again, something I too was doing because I didn’t own a laptop at the time. I thought, “If she could create her empire the way she did then why couldn’t I? What was stopping me other than self-doubt?”
Here comes the second week of January 2021 and the movie Ibiza Love Drunk, a little romantic comedy about friendships and raw, genuine connections.
It reminded me so much of my twenty-year-old self and my very own Ibizan adventure.
This was my ‘A-Ha’ moment! I wanted my own Ibiza tale to be told to the world. I wanted to indirectly thank Alex Høgh Andersen for bringing out my creative side after years of them lying dormant and I wanted to honor the special person I met twenty-one years ago in Ibiza.
I wanted to, in a way, also show how I was feeling about the pandemic; the layers it was helping me shed and the journey of self-discovery it took me on.
Two things you should know: my biggest cheerleader, my mom, almost died at the beginning of the pandemic, and in 2021, after years of looking, I finally found the person I met in Ibiza.
I know those two things don’t relate in any way, shape, or form but they both heavily influenced my decision to finally go after writing for real and no longer for fun. I wanted my mom to see that I could do this and I wanted my Ibiza story to have a better ending.
All the dots on the map were there, they just needed to be connected in order to form the road.
2020/2021 were two years filled with evolution. They were jam-packed with choices, decisions, self-assessments, self-awareness, destiny, fate, and a bunch of souls that came along and helped deliver me here. I am grateful to every one of these moments because as much as I fell backward, I inevitably propelled forward.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
In forty-three years of living, I have worked in a lot of fields. Right now, I’m a teacher, but before that, I owned a small consulting business.
I have also worked in a Domestic Abuse Shelter, Women’s Clinic, as the door lady for a music venue, as a server for a fine dining restaurant, and as a Brand Ambassador for multiple companies.
I can now happily add “author” to that list.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
The biggest one—the lessons it has taught. Some good and some bad, but overall, what I needed to learn.
I realized not everyone is going to support you when you chase your dreams. I also learned that writing a book isn’t the hardest part…it’s getting people to buy it.
Not to mention the patience. I have to enjoy the journey. My book is nowhere near where I want it to be but with each sale comes the amazing feeling of accomplishment. Some days I am so tired that promoting it is the last thing I want to do, but I have to. I have to put in as much effort to promote it as I did writing it.
Some days I get super bummed out that a video of a girl holding a cat to a catchy song gets more views than a promotional video I poured my heart and soul into. But then I have to calm my mind and understand that this is all part of the process. I have to remind myself that no one starts out big…not even some of the biggest names out there. We all started from scratch.
I was born to be a writer and this book is a fun, solid, and quick read. It is, from what I have heard, enjoyable. That’s the best feeling and what keeps me going. It’s not going to change the world but at least it will make you smile or laugh or relate.
I refuse to stop because I have had to make choices and sacrifices for it. It was a door that was opening while so many others were slamming shut.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
Funny you should ask. Every chapter title in Falling Backward, except one, is a song title. This is the same for the sequel.
Music is and will always be an important vessel and tool in my life. I don’t know who I would be without it because I am one of those people where lyrics, a song’s beat, or a live performance can transport me to another place, be it a memory, the future, or someplace artistic. So in a way, I honored what music has done for me in my life in this series. I had to.
The glorious part about this is having a few artists reach out to me and thank me for using their music either as a chapter title or on a promotional video. We are all in this creative boat together and it’s an honor when an artist you admire appreciates what you have done or are doing.
Some (but not all) musicians that inspired this book, its sequel, and the creative process as a whole are Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Galantis, Def Musique, Bicep, LP, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Refeci, Fleetwood Mac, and Odesza.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
As I said before, this book series isn’t going to change the world, but it will bring a smile to your face, make you laugh, and hopefully relate. I hope it also encourages everyone to travel or make love or both.
The perfect reader? Does that really exist? Since you asked, though, my perfect reader would be someone like the young woman I saw in the airport who found a copy of my book that I intentionally left behind. Coincidentally, she ended up on my flight.
I watched her pick it up and start reading it immediately. I never imagined she would be on my flight but she was and when I passed her to go to the bathroom, she was engrossed in it. I kept peeking back and not once did she put it down the entire flight. That was a tremendous feeling.
Another kind of a perfect reader is one that buys the book and doesn’t sell it back. If anything, they leave it somewhere for someone else to enjoy. They also like and support any social media attached to it, leave a positive review, and tell other people about it through word of mouth.
I think the biggest goal for any author is selling copies, and you can’t do that without the support of fellow readers. It’s up to the people whether you will make it in this industry. I am eternally grateful and completely humbled by anyone who has bought my book and has supported this journey in any way possible thus far.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
Currently, I am working on the sequel to Falling Backward, which takes up most of the free time I have. I’m actually really excited about this sequel too. There’s a lot more passion, quite a bit of growth, some suspense, and an entirely new character is introduced.
If I am not editing or rewriting the sequel in my spare time, I am promoting the series. I create the reels, I create the posts, and I do the networking. Thankfully, most of the promotional videos I use are from a stock company which cuts some time in half. And although I would love to have a team of people helping me spread the word, I don’t mind being as hands-on as I am.
I am exhausted, though. This book/series is like having a part-time job on top of the full-time job I already have…but isn’t that how life goes? If you want something, you have to work for it. Regardless of what it is.
I love being a teacher, don’t get me wrong, but my true passion is to become a successful, self-sustaining writer one day and I hope by putting in all this work right now, everything will eventually pay off.
Those lunch breaks hunched over a laptop will lead to book signings. Those teacher breaks spent creating new chapters will lead to sold-out books. All those hours of promotional work will lead to fans.
Until then, I can’t and won’t stop.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
I have enjoyed almost everything about working with Atmosphere. They gave me a chance, they believe in me and my book/series, and they support me as a publishing family member.
My advice for anyone who wants to get published: For starters, write the damn book and finish it already. Send it out into the world and accept that there will be rejection but stay hopeful that it will get published.
Also, just do it. You won’t know until you try. So, no more excuses. Get it done and make it happen.
You can buy Falling Backward here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.