The Early Years
Thanks for visiting my website and for taking a few minutes to get to know me! I was born in Indiana, but our family relocated to Arizona when I was six years old. It was a traumatic move for us three siblings to move to the “wild west” without the presence of our loving grandparents who waved – with tears in their eyes — until our car was out of sight. It was a long, hot drive without air conditioning in our vehicle, but we made the three-day journey to Tempe unscathed. No cattle rustlers or Indians chased us, as we had imagined might happen.
The elementary school wasn’t far away from our rental home and there was a cute little Mom and Pop grocery across the street. We went there often for popsicles and Twinkies.
Arizona’s watering system in those days was canals. Every couple of weeks our yard got irrigation. We had fun playing in the water as it flowed into our yard. We were disappointed to move to a larger home (without canals) when a baby sister arrived, but an ostrich farm a mile or so away was a huge draw, as was swimming with our dad, and going to see the beautiful Japanese Flower Gardens along Baseline Road.
During those early years three things paved the way for my writing.1) Mom read to us in the evenings. This sparked my interest in reading “with expression,” like her. 2) We rode our bikes to the local library on Saturdays, loading up on Nancy Drew and The Bopsy Twins books. I was mesmerized by their exciting adventures. 3) All of the neighborhood kids played for hours on Saturdays, building forts in a vacant lot behind our house, our “pretend” western prairie. We watched television shows like Sky King, Gunsmoke, and The Lone Ranger.
I loved school and learning. My teachers were kind and encouraged my creativity. They also coaxed me out of the protective shell of my family. I made new friends both at home and school. We played outside a lot, our carport becoming a place where kids congregated to play “school.” Even then, I loved to teach. I was adamant about being the “teacher” whenever I could.
I allowed my “class” to roller-skate during recess, while I graded papers. I never let on that I shied away from that activity because I was afraid I might fall.
I continued to love school and earned good grades all through Junior High and High School. I was in the National Honor Society, served as a class officer, and sang in the choir. I took piano lessons and enjoyed playing in Sunday School and at home.
My junior year in high school, several of my teachers took an interest in my writing potential and selected me to be the editor of my school newspaper. There I learned about editing, writing in a concise manner, and making facts “interesting.” I won an award from the Arizona Republic Newspaper my senior year at a writing fair held at Northern Arizona University.
I carried my interest for writing into my college years, but only considered writing to be a fun pastime and not a career to be pursued. My passion for helping others and my interest in the medical field motivated me to choose Nursing as my college major.
The first two years of college was a set curriculum of English, Math, and Science. Disappointed not to be learning anything “medical,” I dropped out. I enrolled in a medical and dental assistant’s school, got married, and supported myself and my husband until he graduated from Arizona State.
When I returned to ASU, my husband encouraged me to change majors. He thought a teaching career would better fit a family lifestyle. The months flew by, and I soon found myself graduating and looking for a teaching job.
My Adult Life
Mesa Public Schools offered me my first teaching position. We had two children in rapid succession. Life was good, but it was hard to keep up with work, a family, and taking classes toward my master’s degree.
During much of my teaching career, I was a divorced single parent working on another advanced degree at night, teaching days, and raising my children. It was an exhausting schedule, but when you’re young, all things seem possible. Somehow, it all fit together. Having my family has continued to be my life’s delight.
Over the course of the next thirty-four years, I taught Home Economics, Interior Decorating, Special Education, Kindergarten, and Third Grade. I earned a master’s degree in counseling and worked for the last six years as an elementary school counselor. My heart went out to children who lived in difficult circumstances at home. Five of my first six books were inspired by what I learned about bullying and child abuse.
When I retired. I was offered a part-time position at a school in Phoenix, teaching remedial reading to underprivileged students. While working part time, I found opportunities to be with my grandchildren, volunteer for hospice and serve at my church.
My passion for watching movies (oh, have I not mentioned that?) and writing seemed to be a perfect fit, so I began to learn about the craft of screenwriting. After a couple of years however, peculiarities/inequalities of selling manuscripts in Hollywood became discouraging. Even though I won a couple of screenwriting contests, my interest waned.
From the youngest age, I had dreamed of writing a fiction book. I began to write the story of a recurring dream. I joined a critique group of writers, who helped me learn about writing techniques and encouraged me in my writing. I attended writing conferences and read countless books on the craft. The experience of developing characters and creating settings and plots was addictive.
I had found my niche!
My Life Now
I joined the Christian Writers of the West organization and served three years as president. Following that, I became vice-president, filling that role for three years and continuing now into my fourth.
My first book, Runaways: The Long Journey Home, was published in 2015 and I have published one book each year since then. Each of my books have been fictional, except for three Interactive Picture Books I wrote for Alzheimer’s Patients and their Caregivers. I created original poetry for each of those books and wrote questions to help stimulate recall and conversation. I partnered with two amazing artists who brought the covers and pages to life.
I write two blogs each week. In my Spiritual Snippets blog, I encourage readers to view what happens in our world through the lens of biblical scripture. And in my other blog, www.brendapoulos.org, I encourage new writers by sharing what I’ve learned over the years. The blogs also appear on Goodreads and Twitter.
I have two Facebook Pages, one targeting writers/readers, and the other—A.I.D. (Assisting Individuals with Dementia) —primarily focusing on Alzheimer’s. I continue to spend a great deal of time reading and writing. However, I also enjoy serving in my church and community. My husband and I take in the occasional soccer games and dance recitals of our eight grandchildren. We also love doing home renovations, which means we buy and sell frequently. Our children love to tease us about having to ask our new address each time they head over for a visit.
We like playing board games with friends, eating out, attending Bible classes and spending time with our Yorkie, Lucy. She loves going for car rides, especially to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Petsmart. She is smart, funny, and eager-to-please. Who knows? She may serve as the main character for a future book.
I cannot imagine life without writing. My pace may be slowing down a little, but as long ideas keep coming for new books, I will continue to publish. I especially enjoy writing Christian fiction along the themes of forgiveness and grace. My desire is that they will continue to bless readers and glorify God.
I’d love to hear from you. Please use the Contact Me/Stay in Touch buttons to share ideas, ask questions, or just chat. I also invite you to follow the links to my blogs and sign up to receive a blog post from me every Sunday afternoon.
Why I Write
My goal in writing is to communicate the power of God’s love to my reading audience. Each of my books shows how faith and love can heal brokenness… how each of us can live a meaningful life based on the truth of God’s Word.
It is my prayer that each reader will accept the true freedom that only Christ offers and, in doing so, experience a deep and satisfying relationship with the Almighty and Everlasting God.