NOTE: I once had an animation producer who made a remark that some brevity on my part would be a nice change. That change has yet to happen. You have been warned.
I was born in Los Angeles to Filipino immigrants. When people ask me when I started writing, the more important question is, why I started writing. The why is that from birth I’ve been surrounded by great stories. If you have parents who are immigrants, it’s a given that their history is probably rich with tales of struggle, overcoming adversity, and going against the odds to try and find their place in a foreign world. These stories were a huge inpiration to me and really shaped who I was.
As a child and young teenager, I was an unattractive, socially awkward, introverted, nerd. I loved every minute of it.
I got to get lost in my own little worlds, with no apologies about any of it. I was and still am, a huge Trekkie (got the costume, went to conventions, the whole bit.) I spent most every summer lost in some book, either curled up under the covers of my bed (day or night), or balled up in an old leather chair at my local library. To this day, I highly advocate nerd-dom. Think outside the box and what social conventions tell you is cool. I promise it will make you a far better, and much more interesting adult.
English was always my favorite subject and reading was my favorite retreat. My first inkling that I actually might be pretty good at writing was when I was a sophomore in high school. My English teacher, Sr. Giovanna (God bless her, she was a great teacher but she so looked like an old turtle, with a sharp nose, humped back and fuzzy head - she was awesome), wrote on one of my papers, “You’re a very good writer. I look forward to reading your first novel someday.”
Wow. That was the coolest thing anyone had ever said to me.
Notes like that from my teachers and professors continued through till college, but I never seriously considered writing as something I would pursue. I majored in Communications TV/Film with a minor in Comparative Lit (which I kick myself about to this day – why oh why didn’t I just double major??) While I was in college, the best thing happened – I got an internship at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. From day one, I was hooked into the animation industry and never looked back. I got to work with artists, in a creative environment, producing iconic characters that kids all over the world would get to enjoy from generation to generation - and all these people were huge geeks like I was?? I was so in.
I also met the love of my life, and truly the most talented story-teller in the universe, Zac Moncrief, who was also a huge dork with a passion for great characters and even better stories.
I happily continued my path in animation, which led me to the
Walt Disney Feature Animation studios where I got to work with some of the most talented artists and story tellers on the planet. Truly. I went to work every day in awe at the amount of genius surrounding me. Little did I know that I had become an unknowing apprentice, soaking up and absorbing all of the rules of character, story arcs and story telling.
In 2007, a personal heartbreak happened to me. Someone dear to me (and no, not my husband!), broke my heart and I needed to find some way to deal with it. I needed to figuratively kill off this person in my head so that I could move on with my life. Since I couldn’t do it literally, I decided to do it on paper.
And that’s how the relationship between Camille and Noelle began.
What started out as a small exercise in betrayal and moving on from that betrayal, turned into a full fledged novel. Once I got Camille’s voice in my head, I couldn’t stop. Her story needed to be told and the compulsion to write began.
Today, I still happily work in animation as an Animation Checker, and continue to be surrounded by some of the most talented artists in the world. I spend what little free time I have reading, writing my next novel, finding and listening to great music, watching the History Channel, and taking frequent day trips with my husband and two daughters to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland.