Expressing myself through writing began in my early childhood with letters to my grandmother. She and I wrote to each other for many years. She encouraged me and often ended her letters with, “Go for it.” Between her and college, I found a passion to write.
Since then, I put most of my writing energy into college. Every assignment challenged me to improve my skills. I always sought the “A” paper, so I spent hours revising and editing. Many professors made positive comments about my writing and to my delight, my favorite professor, Dr. Walter H. Capps, asked me to write an article for UCSB’s college magazine, Coastlines. My article, “Letting Vietnam Go,” was published and I even received a check for my work.
After college, I spent many years learning Spanish and teaching elementary school. I wrote occasionally, but nothing for publication. I took a few writing classes here and there and eventually returned to college to earn my Master’s degree in Educational Counseling. Although writing always interested me, my passion for education seemed to win out.
My recent dedication to writing a novel came from being divorced and having 50% custody of my oldest son. I decided I needed to produce something with all the days that I didn’t have my son.
Years down the road, when he reached 18 years of age, I didn’t want to look back on all that time that I had without him and say that I did nothing with it. I gave up so much to get out of the marriage and my decision made him lose so many moments with both of his parents. My freedom obligated me to do more.
The other reason I started writing again is my cousin, Cynthia Kremsner. She is a writer and illustrator who illustrated What my Puppy Gave to Me. Cynthia invited me to my first SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference several years ago. The conference inspired me write and to join another writer’s organization, Redding Writers Forum where I served on the board for two years as secretary. These writing groups support and encourage writers at all stages of the process. They are an integral part of my commitment to writing a YA novel.
Young Adult literature fascinates me because I work with teenagers every day and I want to understand more about their world. Finding anything that can help them through a difficult time is one of my passions.
Often times, a story, or realizing they are not the only one to experience something painful can provide them with an immense sense of hope. I’m always looking for stories that speak to the heart of teens who have to overcome and persevere through extreme hardships.
I hope to contribute to the YA genre with the publication of my novel, ¡¿Him?!. I completed the manuscript with the expertise of my critique group. They helped me work through the first draft and I am forever grateful for their time and feedback. They inspire me with their own writing and so does local award winning author, Charlie Price. I will never forget his words after he read the first page of my novel at a SCBWI workshop in Cottonwood, “I look forward to reading your published work.”
Darbie's first YA novel, ¿¡HIM!? will be published by All Things That Matter Press. Her story entitled, A Woman My Size, will be published in Chicken Soup for the Curvy and Confident, December 2016.