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Hi, I’m Elle. I wrote my first book at age 7 called “Tommy the Turtle at the Beach.” I wrote it in green crayon on wrinkled construction paper and glued the ends together like real darn published book. I also illustrated the whole thing because I couldn’t afford an artist on my seven-year-old allowance. 

The story was an Aesop’s fable-inspired tale of a wild young turtle struggling with the unfair chains of authority (his mom). He runs away while at the beach, and a rogue wave representing the chaos of death (I assume, as I colored the wave black and wrote “death” with an arrow pointing at it) drags him out to sea. Tommy laments the shrinking shoreline, struggles to swim, and encounters a school of fish who mock his pain. Ignoring that Tommy is a turtle and could probably swim just fine, I end the tale with a giant oceanic whirlpool dragging him to the uncharted depths of the sea because I was irrationally afraid of rogue whirlpools when I was seven. He dies.

My book was a bit morbid, even for seven. So, I added an alternative ending where a fisherman rescues Tommy. Everyone cheers, including the do-nothing lifeguard I drew in red crayon. I put my finished debut novel (with both endings) on the family bookshelf next to the Bible because that’s where it belongs.

When I’m not reading, I’m writing, thinking about writing, lamenting about writing, or wondering why I continue writing when I could be a very successful accountant with a steady day job, a mid-range car, and a mug that says “I hate Mondays” but unironically. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at math, so writing it is.

But, I’m a selfish writer. I took a journalism course in college during an election year. I drafted a piece on a prominent candidate’s policies, but the professor SLAPPED it out of my hands and screamed at me (metaphorically; it was on the computer and he was actually very nice). He told me I must write about her crimson lipstick, her lustrous skirt, and her shrilly voice. “That story will sell, and writing is all about selling.” So, I learned how to sell: all I do is take a knife to my draft and cut out its soul. Simple. 

I just can’t do that anymore.

I don’t think the original ending of “Tommy the Turtle at the Beach” would sell, but even my seven-year-self knew it was the real ending, the gritty, weird, wild ending. I write gritty, weird, wild stories about messy people who aren’t always nice or safe or marketable. But they’re the stories I want to read, and I hope you like them too.

18 Random Facts About Elle

Do you like peanut butter? I like peanut butter too. I saw a website where the author just listed a bunch of facts about herself instead of writing an “About Page.” Brilliant.

I can’t remember that author’s name (but if you find her, email me so I can give her credit for this About Page hack). She wrote a list of 41 things. I don’t know why she chose that number, but I’m going to write eighteen facts because 1 + 8 = 9, and nine is my favorite number (Hey! Maybe I’m not so bad at math).

  1.  I love cats. I have THREE CATS now. One is half-Maine Coon cat named Lyra. You can see pictures of her on my Instagram. The other two are rescue kittens named Klaus and Noelle. They’re technically not kittens anymore, but they never got very big, so they’re forever-babies.
  2.  Spicy food reminds me I’m alive and also that I can die. I like ghost peppers, red sauce, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, hot honey, and I add red pepper flakes to almost everything. 
  3. Theatre is storytelling, and at heart I am a storyteller. It’s why, as my words have continued to fail, I’ve found myself more and more drawn to the stage.
  4. I used to moonlight as a Disney non-copyrighted princess for an entertainment company. I never thought I’d grow up to be a literal princess, but the work is exhausting flexible and messy fun and mostly worth it when I make a kid smile. I am now RETIRED–but it was a stressful beautiful time in my life.
  5. I stuff all of my books into two dangerous bookshelves. They’re broken, second-hand fixtures, and I love them so much. They started out as white but are now closer to a “smoker’s teeth” white. They’re missing some nails, so I’ve propped up the shelves with bobby pins.
  6. I played Dungeons and Dragons regularly for 10 years, but I don’t now… for personal reasons. My favorite classes were bard and sorcerer.
  7. If a man person tells me they also play DnD but they’re always a rogue, I immediately know two things: 1. they’re a bad rogue and 2. they’re a red flag person. Bonus red flag points if they’re wearing a wallet attached to a chain or stained cargo shorts.
  8. I love video games, specifically video games that let me live out my fantasy of farming without actually farming.
  9. I sing classical music with my duet partner. Music is my other passion, and I’ve been drawn to it more and more as of late.
  10. I have a rational fear of spiders. It’s rational because I’ve had multiple “lightning striking in the same place” encounters with spiders that have left me justifiably mortal enemies with them.
  11. I love to cook but not to bake.
  12. I’m a mother to a little dragon daughter. She is the only child I will ever have. 
  13. My love language is receiving gifts. Please give me gifts. I will like you better if you do.
  14. I’m a sucker for subscription boxes because they’re monthly gifts I give to myself! It’s basically self-care.
  15. I eat a lot of meat–don’t come for me. I have a rare genetic disease that affects my liver, I have chronically low iron, and I need a lot of heme-iron because my body sucks at producing that and keeping it. Also, yes, I’m always fucking cold.
  16. I really do love coffee that much. Life is too short for decaffeinated mornings. But I’m also getting into tea lately. Tea might be magic.
  17. I think women are magic, and one of the best things I ever did was stop caring that some men people think astrology and crystals and moonlight are stupid. Lots of things are stupid. Like football. Leave me and my tarot cards alone!
  18.  I own seven pairs of fluffy slipper socks, but it’s not enough. It will never be enough.

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