Author Spotlight: Glendy Vanderah
I’m the author of two novels, the bestseller Where the Forest Meets the Stars and newly released The Light Through the Leaves. I grew up in Chicago and now live in rural Florida with my husband. I loved nature and writing equally from a young age but chose to study ecology in college. I’ve worked as an endangered-bird specialist and assistant editor for a scientific journal. When I was a busy mom of three children, I had little time to do scientific research, and that was how I found my way back to my love of writing. I initially wrote fantasy and science fiction, then switched to contemporary fiction. But even my realistic fiction often contains magical elements because I’m intrigued by the balance of science and mystery in our lives.
I’m fascinated by twists of fate that change lives in big ways. An impulsive decision, a chance meeting, an unavoidable accident: how do the fateful seconds in our lives alter the rest of our days, the lives of other people, and even future generations? At the beginning of my second novel, The Light Through the Leaves, in a chaotic moment, Ellis Abbey makes a mistake that tears apart her family and causes repercussions in many other lives. The story follows the separate journeys of Ellis and an unusual child named Raven whose life was also dramatically changed by Ellis’s mistake. Ellis and Raven’s lives share common threads, especially through the healing power of nature, love, and friendship, and eventually their timelines weave together, uniting many strangers.
Study your craft as much as possible. But writing is about more than craftsmanship. Creating characters and stories that people care about is crucial. Write from the deep, strong emotions of your life experiences. The story doesn’t have to be about your life, but it should pull that emotion out of your soul as you write. Write stories you love and want to write, stories that erupt out of you. If you’re writing for any other reason, the story and characters will feel flat to readers.
I drink a big cup of chai tea as soon as I wake up. Chai has been an important part of my writing ritual for about fifteen years. All my best characters and stories were inspired by lots of delicious tea!