My Story

Gentle Reader,

Hello! How are you today? Are you getting everything you need out of life right now? Me too, friend. Me, too.

I heard that you’re new to the Highlights + Hot Chocolate community, and that you wanted to know more about me, so I decided to conduct an informal interview of myself based on questions I frequently find myself answering. Ready? Here we gooo!

Amanda: When did you know you wanted write and edit for a living?
Highlights + Hot Chocolate: 2016. I was at loose ends in my life and had just moved to Boston to nanny for my infant cousin. I had a lot of free time – on walks, during nap times, and over long weekends – during which I found myself devouring books and eagerly writing books reviews for this blog, which was still only about a year old at the time. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write, and I managed 25,000 words of a novel for NaNoWriMo that year. I didn’t know quite how I was going to make the dream a reality, I just knew that I needed to.

A: What made you choose to attend graduate school, and Emerson College in particular?
HHC: As a kid, I was obsessed with learning and wanted to get all the degrees, a la Flynn Carson from The Librarian, but by the time I reached college everything seemed so complicated or closed off that I felt burned out just trying to apply for undergraduate studies. By the time I moved to Boston, I had been out of school for about a year, and was starting to chomp at the bit for more education. I had been researching graduate studies on and off for a while, feeling very wishy-washy about the whole thing. Then a YouTuber I followed at the time mentioned they were going to Emerson for undergraduate studies in Publishing. My immediate reaction was “Wait, that’s a thing?” and then after some frantic research I discovered that it wasn’t too late for me, and that I could do a graduate program in Publishing at a participating college or university. For me, it came down to Pace in New York, or Emerson in Boston. I already adored Boston, and I’d never been in love with New York, and after comparing the two programs, I felt that Emerson was the right fit for me. After attending an information session and going on a tour of the school, I was determined to apply every year until they let me in. Thankfully I only had to do it once.

A: What is your first memory of writing?
HHC: The first physical evidence I have of my writing is from first grade, when I rewrote Cinderella and The Little Mermaid from memory. The words are misspelled, I completely changed and condensed the stories, and my handwriting is atrocious, but I love those two writing samples with all of my heart.

A: Did you do anything special to prepare for a career as a writer/editor?
HHC: I think a love of reading and writing definitely helped, but otherwise I didn’t necessarily do anything special. I learned to write complex characters on a roleplaying forum for Harry Potter, and I took a Novel Writing class in middle school because it sounded like the coolest thing on the planet. Everything else was just ideas spilling out of my head onto paper throughout my childhood, probably spurred on my parents’ love of books.

Amanda: Why did you start a blog?
HHC: I have little bit of need to be in the spotlight sometimes, and I’m an over-sharer, and I was trying to find a way to connect with the people around me without having to outright scream “HEY! Pay attention to ME!” It’s something that as an ambivert I’m always conflicted about: the need to be in the spotlight, and the need to lock myself in my room and never come out. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. As the daughter of a computer programmer I learned about computers early in life, and prior to Highlights + Hot Chocolate I had been playing around with blogs for about ten years or so. This is just the first one that’s been allowed to settle into actually becoming something substantial.

Amanda: Are you going to write a book?
HHC: Absolutely! I have a few things in the works. There’s a quartet based around the seasons and different fantastic creatures, a regency romance novel, a couple of contemporary romance novels, and a very long and complex multi-viewpoint fantasy series (with spin-offs, oops!) that I started writing in that middle school novel writing class. I’m hoping to finish the first “seasons” book manuscript and a contemporary romance novel manuscript by the end of 2020. The fantasy series moves at its own pace, and I think it will untangle itself when it’s good and ready.

Have more questions? Want to send me some positive vibes? Select the ‘Contact Me’ tab above!


I don’t write this blog for the money (and so far there is none). I write for the discovery – to let out the stories that are inside of me in order to share what I’ve learned with those around me. Knowledge is power, and the only way to get knowledge is to share it. That being said, I would not be offended if anyone wanted to advertise their books on my site, or wanted to send me books for review. One, because I need to pay for graduate school somehow (though I would never advertise something I didn’t agree with!), and two, because who doesn’t like free books? Send me an email with a blurb and I’ll let you know if I’m interested in reviewing your book! I may also offer an editing service in the future.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you, and I hope you share your perspectives and experiences in the comments, where I will gladly read every single one of them.

Feel free to send me an e-mail at amanda-at-highlightsandhotchocolate-dot-com, or find me on social media at Amanda_HHC on Twitter and Instagram. I look forward to hearing from you!