On the day my mother pushed me from her womb, I knew two things: milk does a body good and people just don’t get me. My mom took care of the milk problem, popping a nipple in my mouth, but no one—not the doctor, the nurses, or even my mother—understood my cries for a good paranormal romance novel of the vampire, shifter, or alien persuasion.
Years more would pass before I understood my need for fantasy fiction myself, but one thing did remain the same—the need to be understood. Yes, I wanted my peers to get me but much more importantly, I wanted to understand myself.
Who was I? What was I? How did I get here?
College and a lot of life experiences finally answered these questions, if not completely than at least in an interesting manner that keeps me curious.
Yes, I’m one of those writers—the ones who knew they wanted to write as soon as the good doctor cut the cord and exclaimed, “It’s an author!”
I was fascinated with books and wanted to write one from a very young age. The first book to inspire me was Miss Suzy by Miriam Young and Arnold Lobel, which is all about a squirrel who is thrown out of her tree house only to find a new home and friends in a dollhouse in the attic of a human home. A cute little squirrel, a dollhouse, and talking toys! What little girl wouldn’t love this adventurous story?
My next obsession was The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Warner and L. Kate Deal. The books were filled with adventure…and the lack of parental control was a huge bonus! Yeah, those were the days of packing a pillowcase full of books and hitting the long gravel driveway to explore Tulsa, Oklahoma. I never made it more than a mile down the hilly road but I had a blast during my great escapes!
With middle school came The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, my first peek at something dark and shocking and terrifying. A story that wouldn’t leave me alone. Day and night, I thought of the sound of the beating heart beneath the floor boards where the body was stashed, the vulture eye.
The eye saw inside of me, saw the dark, shocking, terrifying truths about me, and I began to write. Poetry, short stories, and then my first novel.
Noir and angst and depressing.
What can I say? I was a tween. If it wasn’t dark and dramatic, you could talk to the hand.
Skip ahead to high school and my discovery of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Oh, Louis! Poor tortured, rat-eating Louis. Bound to Lestat in the most evil of ways, struggling with his conscience, with self-acceptance, with a life filled with darkness.
How I loved Louis Pointe du Lac.
At the same time I was reading Anne Rice, my BFF (thanks Felicia!) was smuggling her mother’s romance novels to me by J.D. Robb, Diana Gabaldon, and Dara Joy. I hid them between my mattress and box springs and read them behind locked doors like they were porn. (What can I say? My family is conservative with a capital “C”.) And so was born my love for paranormal romance.
Unfortunately, writing wasn’t cool in my school. I might as well have been a guest on Jerry Springer for all the: you-better-check-yourself-before-you-wreck-yourselves and you-ain’t-right’s that I received. The ridicule along with parental disapproval soon made writing a deep, dark secret I no longer saw as a possible career choice.
Jocelyn Modo may be crazy but writing keeps her from going insane. She grew up reading science fiction and fantasy and fell in love with romance when her girlie hormones kicked in. Nothing makes her day like working on her current manuscript…and nothing makes her crazy like working on her current manuscript. But all’s fair in love and war, and Jocelyn likes to put a whole lot of both in everything she writes.