While pursuing a journalism diploma through a community college, I had the good fortune of attending an information session led by an Athabasca University representative. She discussed the opportunity to complete a degree through distance learning. Yet though the presentation piqued my interest, I had no intention of furthering my education at that time.
Upon finishing school, I started a career in publications and worked on a historical novel I’d set out to write several years earlier.
Soon, however, I felt a tug in another direction. Although I would not stop chasing my dream to become a published author, I realized the office job I currently held was not for me. A career as a high school teacher beckoned.
But teacher’s college required a degree.
Did I want to quit my job and lose my income to attend university? Not especially.
I remembered the Athabasca University presentation, which opened up a world of possibilities.
Distance learning would fit perfectly into my life.
I enrolled immediately and took a part-time job working with high school students with special needs.
In 2008, I completed a Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication with a minor in English. I benefited immensely from the creative writing courses AU offered. It is my wish to instruct one of those very courses someday.
Following my time at AU, I went on to graduate from teacher’s college with a Master’s Degree and finish the first novel in my Siege of Malta trilogy, set in sixteenth-century Europe. Eight Pointed Cross was published in 2011.
Incredibly, nine years after publication, Eight Pointed Cross hit number one on Amazon’s bestseller list in April 2020.
As a show of gratitude, I am donating all proceeds from this surge to Conquer Covid-19 charities.
The sequel, Falcon’s Shadow, launched on June 16 and ranked number one within six hours of its release.
The third, yet-untitled novel is set for publication in 2021.
The path to becoming a published author was an arduous one—filled with self-doubt and several unanswered letters to Oprah but also tremendous experiences and human connection. As part of my research, I took up archery and ended up becoming a certified instructor. Throughout the writing process, I travelled extensively across six continents, where I was able to immerse in history, culture, and nature. My husband, Brad, and I challenge ourselves to tackle extreme sports, like surfing, snowboarding, scuba-diving, climbing, and sky-diving, also incredible sources of inspiration.
AU was instrumental in helping me manifest the kind of reality that feels like a dream—distance education allowed me to continue working on the other things that mattered most to me. It helped hone my time-management skills. It further cultivated and nurtured my communication skills. And taught me to navigate the online world in a way that has proven hugely beneficial for marketing my books.
A former kickboxing instructor, I also teach high school English and history. I cannot speak highly enough about AU. I recommend it to my graduating students.