Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global adventures, which inspired my first YA comedic adventure, CARPE DIEM, published in the U.S. by Macmillan, followed by foreign editions in Germany (“Guten Tag!”), the Netherlands, and China. The novel follows the story of overachiever Vassar Spore who is forced to backpack through Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos with her wacky bohemian grandma—and experiences enough misadventures to last a lifetime. Most of which (fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be) really happened to me!
My work with the refugees and persecuted minority groups of Burma ignited a passion for personal and religious freedom, as well as provided the backstory of my latest YA comedic adventure, NEVER SORRY EVER JOLLY, in which homeschooled and unchurched Collin Uttley joins a church youth group in a desperate attempt to score a girlfriend, and soon finds himself following the girl of his dreams on an outreach trip to the refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border—where things get a little crazytown, to say the least.
This fascination with other countries and cultures began during my childhood as a MK (missionary kid) in hot and humid Southeast Asia. That is, until my fourth grade year, when my parents moved the family to overcast and soggy Washington State—cue culture shock! I attended Biola University in sunny SoCal (Southern California), where I got my B.A. as well as M.R.S. degree—that is, married my college boyfriend, after we bonded over Jesus, vintage VWs, KROQ, Depeche Mode, Monty Python, and In-N-Out Burger. (And lived happily—and messily—ever after in California.)
Writing and speaking about physical, creative, spiritual—and most of the time unintentionally wacky—adventures has been my lifelong calling. When I’m not losing luggage internationally, I can be found attempting to write about those experiences at home in my 1920's vintage-themed (read: highly cluttered) casita in Pasadena, California with my saint of a husband, J.C., two angelic (at times) children, Dexter and Clementine, two fake Schnauzers (until we can get real terriers), and two Plump Lumps (who claim to be guinea pigs).