Brianna Joy Crump
I grew up in Wilmington, NC until I was around eleven years old.
I had amazing parents who encouraged me to be creative and silly. I made up games with on-going storylines for my neighborhood friends and cousins. I was read to often, which contributed to me developing a love for make-believe worlds and would eventually lead to me enjoy reading on my own.
When I was eight years old, my dad started reading me the Harry Potter series. He would read to me every single night and continued to read me the entire series long after I needed him to do so. This was when my love for books really started. Up until this point, I'd enjoyed books, but I hadn't realized that books could be fun.
High school was when I really started to lean into my love of reading. I would check out as many books from the library as I could and request through inter-library loan. I also grew to love audiobooks and spent most of my free time reading the most popular YA books.
I played varsity basketball and volleyball in high school, so I was always busy on a school night.
When I graduate high school, I decided to pursue a degree in English. I had a friend that was about to graduate from Gardner-Webb University and I'd fallen in love with the school after visiting once to see her. When it came time to take that next academic step, GWU was my first choice.
I wrote my first full-length book in November/December of 2013. I'd been challenged by my composition 101 professor to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), an annual competition in the month of November that challenges writers to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I won NaNoWriMo the first semester of my freshman year of college and by that summer, I'd written another two books.
In the fall of my senior year of college, I began prepping for my senior thesis (a capstone project that was meant to showcase what I'd learned in my major during my four years). Typically, English majors at GWU wrote academic papers that focused on literature or types of composition. I knew that while I was capable of writing a 20+ page paper like that, it may not adequately display what I had learned as an English major with a creative writing emphasis.
With that in mind, I asked if I could do a different type of thesis, one that would showcase my scholarly knowledge while also displaying what I'd been taught in my creative writing courses. I ended up doing a hybrid thesis. I studied Neo-Victorian literature and Steampunk, pin-pointed the similarities and differences in the genres, and then wrote a scholarly paper that showed how the two genres could be combined. To prove my point, I wrote a book that incorporated all of the main themes of those genres, a book I called Senseless.
In May of 2017, I graduate with my bachelors in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Including my graduate thesis novel, Senseless, I had written nine full-length books in less than four years.
Right after graduation, I got a job teaching sixth grade English and seventh grade world history. I loved the students, but I didn't like where I was working. I went a few months without writing anything. I was battling depression and anxiety-struggling to find joy in things that I'd once loved. Around March of 2018, I started writing a book called The Culled Crown. I would write it in between classes and during my planning period. During those first few weeks, I'd get to work an hour early in the mornings so I could write in my classroom before my students arrived. I wrote in a frenzy, getting almost the entire book down in a matter of weeks, but then fell into another bad mental health slump. I quit teaching and the book was forgotten.
In August of 2018, I started classes to get my Master's in English from Gardner-Webb University.