I love everything about having a September birthday... except for the fact that when it rolls around, it means the year is drawing to a close. It means apple picking and Halloween costumes and turkey aren't far behind. It means pulling out the sweaters even if you're not quite ready to retire the flipflops yet.
But this year, I get to cheat Mother Nature a little bit. I get to extend summer and enjoy beach weather for longer. Because in a month or so, when everyone else is picking out pumpkins and buying bulk candy, I'll be jetting off to Hawaii for a family reunion!
My aunt and uncle moved to Honolulu when I was a little girl. I haven't seen them in AGES. It'll be so nice to catch up with them and with all the other relatives I've lost touch with over the years. My cousins - who are more like sisters to me - will all be in attendance and I promise you we will be living it up in paradise!
It's really strange to me that we're all women now. It's odd that we live in separate cities, have grown-up jobs, and support ourselves. When did we stop jumping around on the backyard trampoline? When did we become adult enough to get engaged, attend work meetings, and go out for happy hour cocktails?
But no matter where we are, or what we do, we're tied to each other. That's the best (and sometimes worst) thing about family - you are really, truly stuck with these people. Together or estranged, love them or hate them, they're a part of you.
Family is always a major factor in the stories I write. Their support, their criticism, their overpowering desire to be in each other's (and your) business. The drama they create. Their ridiculous expectations. Their unconditional love.
Even though my family drives me up the wall a lot of the time, I'm so grateful that I have them. They're there whenever I need them. They're the first to cheer when happy things happen, and the first to pat my back and tell me that anyone who rejects me is crazy (which comes in pretty handy when I'm querying!).
I can't wait to celebrate with them in the Aloha State. Lei around my neck, drink in hand, and feet in the sand while surrounded by loved ones sounds pretty perfect before I have to endure another grueling Northeast winter.
How does your family inspire your writing? (And do you have any book recommendations for my looooong direct flight?)
FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS (FOTL) (Novel, YA Epic Fantasy) An exiled princess searches for the five elements she needs to win the allegiance of the dragons and reclaim her kingdom from the grasp of an evil empress.
ANCHOR ISLAND (Novel, YA Romance) A romantic comedy about a girl who gets a second chance to win her first love when her mom marries into the wealthy summer community of Anchor Island.
SEAWALL (Novel, YA Fantasy/Paranormal) Fate brings Noah back to his estranged father's seaside home, where he encounters the legend of the dark mermaids who seem to be targeting his family.
GARDENSPELL (Novel, Upper MG Fantasy) After the witch who cursed her family dies, Freesia must defy the king's non-magic laws to venture into the Witchlands and break the spell.