Anna: Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. I attended, and graduated from, BYU where I met my husband. He was the FHE â€œdadâ€ and I was the FHE â€œmom.â€ We have been happily married for over 25 years and are the parents of 10 wonderfully creative and multi-talented children. We live in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, cats, a spoiled horse, and a herd of goats. It took me a bit to adjust to the rural lifestyle after growing up in southern CA, but I love living in the country.
Anna: When did you start writing?
I started making books when I was a kid and I loved to write in high school, but I put writing aside when I got married and started having babies. I decided to get serious about it again in the mid-90s when the internet suddenly opened up a whole new world for me. I met other writers, took classes online, and read all I could about writing. Iâ€™ve been writing ever since.
Anna: What do you like to do besides writing?
Eat chocolate, ice cream, peanut M&Ms. I love to go to the beach and swim in the ocean, but I only get to do that once a year or so. I also love to dance to disco music. Iâ€™ve recently started doing Zumba, a kind of Latin dancing/exercise programâ€”lots of hip shaking. I love to go on dates with my husband and I love to play with my kids. Iâ€™ve also started making jewelry and flower barrettes with my kids.
Anna: You newest novel, The Upside of Down, was released in January. What was the inspiration for this novel?
While I was watching the new version of Cheaper by the Dozen, I thought it would be fun to write a similar story set in an LDS household. Since I have a large family, I drew from many of my own experiences to create my characters and establish the storyline. I had lots of fun writing it, especially as I relived some of the funny things that have happened in our family.
Anna: What do you hope people take away from The Upside of Down?
I hope people realize that no matter who we are, none of us is spiritually invincible. We all need to rely on the Lord, in good times and in bad. No matter how desperate a situation may seem, the Lord can lighten our load if weâ€™ll turn to Him. The atonement is for all of us. And, even in the midst of trials, we can have peace.
I also hope people will learn something from my book about Down syndrome and realize that underneath it all, weâ€™re all children of God and we all deserve love and respect, no matter our chromosome count.
Anna: Where can we purchase The Upside of Down?
Amazon carries it and it should arrive in LDS Bookstores soon.
Thank you so much for the interview, Anna.