I had been working as an environmental engineer for almost a year when I started writing my first novel. From 1996-2000, I worked on that manuscript, tweaking it more and more each night after work. Writing was my moonlighting job. My avocation.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma about engineers. Engineers aren’t very creative. Not so for me. Writing was my creative outlet, my sanity room. In a sense, I wrote for myself but I also knew that what I was writing about (stories with a thread of biblical racial reconciliation) was meant for publication. It was an avocation I took seriously. To improve on my craft, I attended conferences, took a night class, and read lots of books on writing fiction. But there was more to me than engineering and writing.
As an adoptive mom, there was a part of me that wanted to spend more time with my kids. In 2000, my chance came. I swapped my engineer hat for a WAHM (work at home mom) web designer hat. I wore that hat for more than a decade. The WAHM hat was a tough hat to keep on. Many days, I must admit, the hat was somewhere in the corner under dirty socks and my kids’ football equipment.
Through God’s grace, I ran a home-based business that included clients like a local university, a community college, and a major Christian publisher, to name a few. But always, in the back of my mind there was the desire to return to my first love.
I’ve been engineering since I was old enough to wield a pencil and a pair of scissors. As a kid, I tried experimented with grafting plants. And I made paper houses and cars. I constructed entire neighborhoods, complete with intricate infrastructures, in the dirt around my rural North Carolina home. My Master’s in biological and agricultural engineering only made it official. I was born to engineer.
After years of waiting, searching, and interviewing, I will be returning to engineering as a faculty adviser and lecturer at the University of North Carolina Charlotte’s College of Engineering. Teaching freshman students how to be the best engineer they can be.
And at night, I’ll be writing. You can be sure of that.