I am a mom and lawyer working to write (and hopefully one day publish) stories that inspire connection by celebrating diversity and giving mono-cultural children the opportunity to experience a little slice of life in someone else’s shoes. As a neurodiverse creator with lifelong ADHD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I also hope to write stories that help me, children, and their parents cope with anxiety in productive ways and learn to find humor in the chaos. And last but certainly not least, as a lover of diversity, I strive to connect with diverse writers and promote their stories and careers.
I’m a Third Culture Kid (TCK for short), which means I was born in the U.S. but spent a good part of my childhood living in a culture outside the U.S. I lived in Central and South America from ages 7 to 14, then back in the U.S. through the rest of middle school and high school. I love to travel, experience new cultures, and make new friends. As an adult I have traveled and lived in Europe, Africa, and Asia. (I have yet to visit Australia or Antartica. They’re on the list.)
I have loved writing since I can remember. I used to write, illustrate, and “bind” my own books while dreaming of becoming a published author like my Gran, who was a prolific romance novelist. Having seen poverty and injustice up close, I also dreamed of changing the world (or at least one person’s life) for the better.
My love of writing and my desire to make a difference ultimately led me to pursue a law degree. I graduated from the University of Michigan, and after clerking in Alaska, I worked as an appellate public defender for six years. Representing my clients in their felony appeals was rewarding, and it required a lot reading, research, and writing, which I loved; but I missed creative writing.
Then my family relocated to the beautiful western slope of Colorado, and I took the opportunity to work part time and focus more on my children and my dreams. What I discovered in the process was a long-neglected love of children’s literature and creative writing – and a new way to make the world a better place … one story at a time.
I am a member of the SCBWI, multiple online critique groups, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 picture book challenge, and a local writer’s group. I’ve attended Big Sur in the Rockies, regional SCBWI conferences, and local presentations. Along the way I’ve met an amazing community of creative, supportive, and inspiring friends, learned a ton, and enjoyed every minute of the creative process! (The rejections, not so much. ;-))
I was selected as a runner-up for Denise Vega’s Believe Scholarship in 2018.
Works in Progress
I have several completed picture books and I’m working on a Chapter Book series and my first YA novel (a legal thriller of course!) I am actively seeking agent representation. You can find me on Twitter @rachel_funez.
Someday I hope to collaborate with my sister, Jen Callison, a talented artist and aspiring illustrator. Please check out Jen’s portfolio, too.