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Daydreaming leads to novels

Author says writing serves as a form of therapy for her

Surrounded by the solitude of a secluded hiking trail in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, Angela Burke does a lot of daydreaming.

Her mind fills with detailed visions of people, places and circumstances that she carries each evening to her bed, where she transcribes her thoughts into fiction with a computer on her lap and music playing softly in the background.

It’s a writing routine Burke has followed for several years and it has led to a pair of published novels and a Christmas novelette.

Burke grew up in Brady, graduating from high school in 1993.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1998 and added a master’s degree in gifted education from UNK via distance learning in 1998.

She taught for 13 years before deciding to take another path, working now on her associate of occupational studies at Boulder College of Massage Therapy.

“I love holistic healing and Eastern philosophies,” she said in an e-mail interview from her home in Boulder, CO. “I am enjoying this new adventure. It’s a good fit for me.”

Between going to school, chasing after her three children and adventures with her husband Mark, a chef at L’Atelier in Boulder and a fly fishing/raft guide for a company in Winter Park, Burke writes.

“I started journaling around the age of 8,” she said. “When I was about 12, I started to write daily. Writing is how I process. I don’t journal much anymore but I do feel like I sort out my own life through the characters I write about.”

Writing a book was something Burke always thought she’d do, but it was never a goal.

“It just kind of happened,” she said.

The first novel Burke completed was “Lucidity,” a story about the secrets of the unknown, the essence of the spirit and the endurance of love.

It is not autobiographical, she said, yet it touches on life experiences she has had.

“It addresses life after death in a really cool way and I think that it can be a ‘heart healer,’ as one reviewer commented,” she said.

It took about five years from the time she started to draft her first novel until it was published.

“I fell in love with writing,” she said. “I’m very introverted and writing rejuvenates me. It never feels like work, it’s more of an escape.”

Finding a publisher was a little intimidating for the young author. She got several requests for manuscripts but no offers until she landed with Solstice Publishing in early 2011.

“I think one misconception many people have is that authors make money writing. We don’t,” she said, “not unless you fall into the top 1% of writers. The royalties made are very little and there are tons of books available on Amazon, meaning a lot of competition. There are a lot of books out there. Luckily, I make enough each month to just about cover my iTunes purchases.”

A second novel, “Beneath the Mayan Moon,” was published last summer and Burke has finished the first draft of a sequel but she says it’s nowhere near publication.

All of Burke’s novels carry a romantic theme but she says they cross many genres.

“I don’t write ‘formula’ romance novels,” she said. “‘Lucidity’ is a paranormal love story while ‘Beneath the Mayan Moon’ is a romantic suspense.”

Burke’s favorite way to write is through dialogue.

“I tend to be one of those people who feel what other people are experiencing,” she said. “That isn’t always fun in stressful situations, but it also gives me a lot of insight which transfers to my writing. I tend to feel my characters’ emotions, which makes writing conversations natural.”

She also has had vivid dreams about characters and believes that the subconscious plays a huge role in intuitive writing.

“When it flows out, you know that the ideas have been there all along,” she said. “When I write, it feels like it’s coming from somewhere else. That is a profound feeling.”

Burke’s latest effort, a short story called “Backcountry Diaries: A Christmas Rendezvous,” was inspired by her husband and based on some of the interesting people she has observed in Colorado’s ski towns.

“Backcountry Diaries: A Christmas Rendezvous” is included in “A Christmas Anthology,” a collection of four holiday stories by varying authors. It is only available digitally through Amazon.

Things have changed for Burke now that she’s going to school again. She has gone from writing five nights a week to writing when she can.

She said she does intend to write more “Backcountry Diaries” this year and hopefully start a rewrite on “Beneath the Mayan Sun.”

Burke’s initial goal was to publish her first novel, mainly so she would have a legitimate reason for spending so much time writing.

Now she is focused on continuing to love what she does and love what she writes.

“The most important lesson I had to learn was that not everyone is going to love what I write,” Burke said. And that’s OK. It’s not about ego. It’s about genuinely loving what I do.”

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