About BJ Kurtz
I have lived in Arizona my entire life, loving the hidden beauty of the area. I discovered my passion for writing when I was in the 6th grade. My teacher required her students to participate in a "Writer's Workshop," in an attempt to teach the writing/revision process. I started by writing stories of my favorite songs...I listened to country at the time so this was easier than it sounds. I soon began tackling longer novellas and dreaming of becoming a published author.
Time for Training
I wrote my first novel in high school, studying Joseph Campbell's mapping of the hero's journey. You can still see his influences in my novels. Most writers also contribute influence from popular novelists. In my case, it is Mary Higgins Clark. I grew up loving her novels and still use similar techniques in my own stories.
I began attending The Society of Southwestern Authors writer's conferences in Tucson, AZ. The more I learned of the business, the more I wanted to write. I expanded my journey to other conferences, soaking up as much information as I could about writing and the publication process. Many years later, I was accepted into the Odyssey Online Writing Workshop, a program that only accepts 14 applicants world-wide. Since my first encounter, I have taken 3 classes through this program and have seen a greater impact on my writing than with any other class taken.
I am forever grateful to all of the individuals I have met, and continue to meet, along the way. We are all on this journey together and I could not have come this far on my own.
Experience in the Business
I volunteered as a sports journalist for a local newspaper, but soon discovered I loved making up events more than reporting them. I moved on to working on the staff of a local community college's literary magazine, selecting short stories and poems for publication. I learned so much about the submission process through this experience. Shortly after high school, I published The Curse of Atlantis (now titled Atlantis Cursed), a novel I wrote while a sophomore. Upon graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in English, I published The Lord of Nightmares. Since then, I have been expanding my list of novels.
Aside from writing, I love speaking to organizations. I have had experience speaking at clubs and leading professional development trainings for teachers. I enjoy talking about the craft, but I also enjoy motivating people to follow their dreams. It is a challenge, but the reward for trying is definitely worth not giving up.
The Story Continues
Currently I live in my hometown, a place first featured in Challenging Fate, but will appear in future novels. I teach at a local high school during the day. In 2016, I earned two awards for my teaching. I was a top 9 finalist for the UofA/Circle K Outstanding High School Faculty Awards program as well as AFA 2016 Cochise Chapter Teacher of the Year. While I love instructing kids, I think the best thing I can do is represent someone who doesn’t give up on her dreams. After all, writing is what I love. I really have the best of both worlds and can think of nothing else I’d rather do.