1. I was involved in an FBI case.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’ve been smoking the drugs and diving far too into my next novel, but it’s true. When I first moved to Nashville and was looking for jobs, I applied to some receptionist position through Craigslist. I had an hour long phone interview with a “fashion designer” who had enormous claims about salary and tailored clothing; two hours later, I got a phone call from an FBI agent who made me tell him everything. The phone interview had been a little weird, but it became creepy the moment the FBI agent told me that the place where I was supposed to interview had no offices – and no valet to take my car. Instead of going to the scheduled interview, they sent an agent in my place – they had her dress up in what I’d planned to wear and everything. Apparently the guy didn’t show, but to this day, I wonder if my murder would’ve ended up on a TV crime show. (I hope it would be Castle.) Sorry Mom – I know it’s only funny because it’s 5 years later and I’m A-OK. But it’s one of those stories I like to use in icebreaker sessions about 2 truths and a lie.
2. I wrote Harry Potter fan fiction in my teen years.
Nerd alert! Just kidding. We both know you did it, too. I was actually part of a very large online community that role-played as characters from the wizarding world. My group was incredibly creative. For instance, no one was ever Harry Potter or Hermione – we were completely new characters who could do and be whoever we wanted. Harry and the others existed, sure, but we chose to be smaller characters like Dean Thomas or a Slytherin who only hung out with Gryffindors because she hated being considered a dark witch. For instance, my character, Emma Grace O’Brien, was an Irish 7th year who had an on and off relationship with Oliver Wood. I wrote a 55 page story that to this day is unfinished, but every once in a while, I go back and read it just to get caught up in it again. In the story, her parents are killed by Death Eaters, turns out she’s a Secret Keeper and joins the Order of the Phoenix, she’s great friends with the Weasleys, and is an Animagus with the shape of a wolf. Sure, it sounds ridiculous nearly 15 years later, but at the time, that community and that story was how I escaped from reality. I’ve always been a fan of online communities because those friends got me through some difficult times. Also, that’s kind of how I knew I wanted to be a writer – even with the fan fiction, I had people begging for new chapters each week (including the high school BFF who would later become my current editor!). It encouraged me to really put my writing out there. To this day, I still think of those online friends and community. We were a band of misfits with the ultimate commonality – Harry Potter.
I can’t even believe I just told you that. That is seriously one of my nerdiest secrets ever. And one of my favorites.
3. I wanted to be a news anchor when I grew up.
It’s no secret that being on camera has never bothered me. That’s because as a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to be a nightly news anchor. I loved watching Tom Brokaw give the news, informing viewers of what happened in the world that day. The closest I ever got was becoming the news anchor for my middle school TV news program. (So yes, in the 8th grade, I was editor in chief of my newspaper AND the head news anchor. Are we sure I wasn’t secretly a mini-Lois Lane?) When I went to college, the first thing I did was ask if there was a TV station. At the time, radio was the closest thing they had, so I joined WMLU to be a news reporter and disc jockey. I worked in radio for 5 years – one thing led to another and now I’m writing for the best city magazine around, the Roanoker. It even lets me go on TV for interviews and updates! It might not be the Nightly News, but it’s still a pretty sweet gig close my original childhood dream. Anchorman is one of my favorite movies thanks to Veronica Corningstone. And oddly enough, I love the movie Morning Glory for more than just Harrison Ford.
4. I’m in love with Justin Timberlake.
This one is no secret, especially if you’ve ever mentioned boy bands around me. At this point, even my husband has given up on me and succumbed to buying his albums (actually, as a musician, he’s honestly kind of a fan of some of it). When JT hosts SNL, I get stupid giggly when he comes on for his monologues. I’ve loved Justin since I was 13 and *NSYNC first came on the scene. If I ever met Jessica Biel, I wouldn’t know whether to pull her hair or bow down to her. What a lucky, lucky girl. (I mean, so am I…you know…I mean…never mind. JT 4 Lyfe.)
5. I love cereal.
I’m kind of like Jerry Seinfeld when it comes to cereal. There are always at least three different boxes on my pantry shelf so that I have choices (right now, it’s Frosted mini-wheats, Frosted flakes, and chocolate cheerios). My husband makes fun of me, but I always tell him that if I were single and didn’t have to think about dinner for two, I’d just eat cereal every night. Actually, sometimes I do that anyway if he’s working late and I’m on my own. He calls it people dog food, but it’s hard for him to keep up that charade when I notice he’s opened my brand new box of Corn Pops.