E. Denise Billups
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a book in my hand. At the age of seven, I’d often read to my mother at night around the fireplace. A fond memory I’ll forever cherish. My origin is Monroeville, Alabama, but at nine-years-old, I moved to New York City—a stark contrast to my natal roots. The Deep South remains firmly ingrained in my soul as I craft worlds from my city dwelling. Often, I’ve evoked memories of a carefree girl who climbed trees, ran barefoot on Alabama red soil, lolled on green pastures, and traipsed along wooded paths picking blackberries. When I came to live in New York City with my aunt, an actress and educator, I traded tomboy ways for an artistic existence.
I’ve trained as a dancer (ballet, modern and jazz dance) and dappled in music (classical guitar and piano), and forayed into modeling. I was an avid reader. Anything I could read, I’d read—classics, romance, thrillers, magical realism, fantasy and more. Growing up, my soul gobbled up every medium of art. There was a hint of my truth before I was cognizant. I guess I needed life experiences, and a few hard knocks to guide me in the right direction.
Realizing dance is a short-lived profession; I hung up my toe shoes and headed to college where I received a B.A. and MBA in Finance, and now a prospective Ph.D. candidate. For many years I’ve worked as a Portfolio Analysis at several Investment Banking firms. It was a living, an earning, not a passion. I had never planned a career in finance. It’s just a path I fell into. A few years ago, I realized life is too short to waste on an unfulfilling career. I abandoned Finance and bravely pursued a lifelong passion, writing. I’d always written for myself, and never for others. With many short stories filling my hard drive, I opened one that intrigued me and began rewriting it.
That short story turned into my first novel, By Chance, published in 2014. Since that effort, I’ve written two more novels, Chasing Victoria (2015), and Kalorama Road (2018), as well as several short stories. I’ve always had a fascination with paranormal and psychological thrillers. Many authors of this genre influenced my writing technique. I don’t pigeonhole my writing to one style. I’m a multi-genre author, although I’ve written several paranormal thrillers. The discipline I’d learned as a dancer, I now use as a writer. Excelling at any art requires focus, dedication, and practice.
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m either working out or whipping up another crazy vegan recipe in the kitchen. I’ve been a vegetarian/vegan most of my life, not for any particular reason, other than the fact I abhor eating animals. I’m a fitness fanatic and can’t start my day without a run or a sweaty workout, and at least two cups of coffee—another addiction.
I’ve always loved endurance sports and have raced several domestic and international marathons (Dublin, Ireland, and Paris, France). I’d aspired to run a marathon on seven continents, but I haven’t achieved that goal yet. I’m content for now until that itch strikes again. I’m also an advocate of clean living, sustainable environment. Over the years I’ve tried to educate people about living healthier lifestyles, reducing their carbon footprints, and leaving a sustainable environment for future generations—all topics I’ve written about recently as a Freelance Columnist. Although I’m passionate about a sustainable lifestyle, I realize other’s aren’t, so I tread cautiously when giving others advice.
I live and work on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where I share my life with family and good friends. But every so often, a familiar aura of sultry breezes, dusk, pitch-black, and haunting Alabama spirits, unseen in the cloak of night, whisper their stories, a place that calls to me when I write. Hopefully, one day I’ll capture those experiences on paper.