Professional Author Bio
Rebecca McLaughlin (she/her) is a Michigan nerd who appreciates sweet coffee, kindness, and the scientific method. She got her degree in chemistry and English creative writing in 2014. Since that time, she's worked as a technical writer in Michigan. When not working or crafting stories, Rebecca can be found practicing her knife-throwing skills or seeking out the perfect cup of coffee. She wrote Nameless Queen because she grew up lower-middle class (which was not ideal), went to a private college (which was weird), and made good friends along the way (which was wonderful). She realized that exploring the social and economic divide is difficult, but magic makes it easier—or at least more entertaining.
A more casual & conversational bio, but still totally true
I grew up in Michigan with three sisters, a grandmother who taught me to play math bingo and word games, a mom who made me sudoku puzzles, a dad who let me play with knives, and a slew of relatives who loved to entertain each other by telling stories. By second grade, I knew I wanted to be A Writer, even if I didn't know what that really meant yet.
I later learned that writing could be whatever I wanted it to be! Bad poetry! Short stories! Single-sentence nonsense that I convinced myself was super wise (the teenage version of me really really wanted to be wise, but I was certainly just pretentious). In high school, I learned it could be books. I wanted to write my first book before I graduated and—like a lot of writers—I finished just under the deadline. Two days before walking in my high school graduation, I stayed up all night until 7 AM to finish my first book in the euphoric haze of sunrise plus eye strain. And I was hooked. I've been writing books ever since.
I've been doing other stuff, too. College, for example. "Have a backup plan," they said. "Financial security is important," they said. It sounded like good (if annoying) advice. It's not the right advice for everyone, but in the end it served me well. I got my B.A. in both English with a Creative Writing Focus and Chemistry. What a combo! I tell you, pick opposite sides of STEM/Liberal Arts spectrum, and it'll make a great talking point in interviews.
With that funky degree combination, I landed a job as a technical writer for a utility company just after college. Within a few years, I transitioned jobs to be a citizen developer (aka self-taught) for process automation, database stuff, interface and form programming, and other technical stuff. The lesson (if we must take one) is that your life and job and pursuits can be as eclectic as you want! I love my office job and I love my career as an author, and I'm so lucky to be in a place to do both.
People often ask if I'll stop one job in favor of the other, but honestly the variety of both jobs is what I thrive on. Too much of one thing can get boring, but bouncing between automating a document approval process and rehearsing an antagonist's monologue gives me life! I don't want to give up coffee just because I like tea.
In fact, my relationship with writing books is similar to my relationship with coffee. (Yep, I'm setting up an extended metaphor doomed to collapse, but I'm a writer—it's what I do.)
Writing (and coffee) gives me fuel. It can make me feel fulfilled and creative, excited and inspired. Depending on the day, it can be a sweet experience or bitter. Its quality is largely dependent on the effort I put into it. It also makes me crash. Inspiration (and caffeine) can only take you so far. The rest is a balance of hard work and self-care.
To be honest (because hey, I trust you), in the past I have strived to have a healthy relationship with writing. Just like caffeine, I can get addicted and lose sleep. So I set some rules: No more all-nighters, and no more hassling myself if my physical or mental health demand space and time. Instead of downing a whole pot of dark roast coffee before 2 PM, I'll switch to decaf after my first cup. Instead of staying up until 2 AM working on a tricky scene, I'll let myself skip it and come back later. It's all about finding balance.
I'll never say no to inspiration when it strikes, but it's important as creators that we push aside the myth that productivity and creativity have to cost you something. Those things should give you energy and joy, not take it away. Hard work is hard, and it's okay to struggle, but we all have to know how to set healthy boundaries.
So if you're out there just starting your journey as a creator or working on your twelfth book, starting your first job or switching to your fifth, you can do this. Have a cup of your favorite hot beverage, take a deep breath, and let's get to work.