2012 Grain Valley graduate Breanna Hicks has published the second installment in her Colorado Killer Series, releasing her second novel, The Colorado Killer: Covert, on November 28th.
Being a published author is a lifelong dream for Hicks, but one that she initially did not dare to dream. A psychology major, Hicks had originally intended to enter law school, but decided it was not the path for her. Hicks worked for the courts, in public schools, and for her church.
While working as an event coordinator at her church, her pastor asked what she loved doing in her free time.
"I told him I loved to read, and he asked if I ever write. I said 'no', and kind of brushed it off. There's always that small voice, telling you 'You can't do that. Only famous people write'," Hicks said.
"He said, 'Just start writing. Write a blog, right whatever you want. But start writing.'"
Hicks took his challenge, starting a blog and subsequently writing devotionals and a book of poetry. Last October, Hicks felt the desire to explore fiction writing, and within a week had completed half of what would become her first novel, The Colorado Killer.
Using Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains as the setting, a familiar vacation destination for her husband's family and one she now enjoys, Hicks said the thriller's storyline quickly took shape.
The book was published in March through Amazon. Positive feedback from readers gave her the confidence to keep going, and the second novel in what will be a trilogy flowed easily.
The first novel introduces readers to the Colorado Killer, and the second novel puts the main character, newly-single Fiona, in the killer's crosshairs.
For Hicks, the decision to become a full-time author did not come without trepidation, but Hicks says the support of her husband and sister have made the leap easier.
"Quitting my job and focusing on this full-time, has been a real esteem builder. The realization that I am a published author, that people read my books, that I wake up and get to do this. It's unreal," Hicks said.
Hicks's sister, Amber McGinnis, is her editor and manager, and keeps her on task and organized.
Hicks said the challenge of being a self-published author and having to learn how to market her books has been a learning experience, but she is grateful for the journey and encourages others to follow their passions.
"You know, you hear people say all the time 'My job's a calling. I don't feel like it's work.' And I never understood that. But over the weekend, I was at a vendor event selling my books and talking to readers. And I understand it now. I feel that passion and calling that you hear people talk about."
"The first book, I did for me. To prove that I could do it. Now, I am writing for my readers, and it is an amazing feeling to create something for the entertainment of others. Growing up, reading was an escape for me. Now I get to create that escape for others, and it is a great feeling."
Hicks is equally passionate about encouraging others to chase their dreams, no matter how big they may seem.
"Don't let your circumstances and your environment dictate what you can and can't do. You have a dream. Put everything you have into it, and you can do it."
The Colorado Killer: Covert, and the first novel in the series, The Colorado Killer, can be purchased via Amazon, Amazon.com: Breanna Hicks: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle.
Readers can follow Hicks on Facebook and Instagram: @mrsbreannahicks.
Grain Valley graduate Breanna Hicks has released the second novel in her Colorado Killer series, The Colorado Killer: Covert. Photo credit: Valley News staff