In the seventh grade, Dowd entered a writing contest with her class and won. The grand total of her earnings was $5. It wouldn't exactly pay for her college education, but Dowd had had her first big break as a writer.
"Fiction writing is the road to easy money," Dowd told her school friends.
Dowd chuckled at the memory of her first win while she was celebrating her most recent. In March, she won an annual writing contest hosted by the Fish Publishing Company -- an Ireland-based company dedicated to promoting new talent.
Dowd's winning piece, "Franklin's Grace," will be published this June in "Franklin's Grace and Other Stories," which also contains the second-place story and several honorable mentions. This will be the first time one of her works will be published in a book.
Originally from Missouri, Dowd completed her college education at UNC and has lived here since then. She is happiest while writing and prefers to keep to herself for the most part.
Dowd said she writes mostly fiction, but she has given poetry a try. When writing a story, she always starts by creating a character that she believes can support an entire plot.
"When I start on a story, I come up with a character who is interesting. Then I work from there to flush out the other characters," she said.
Once she has her characters, Dowd jumps right in. She says she doesn't think excessive planning benefits writing at all. Instead, she lets her imagination write the story. "You can talk about it and try to plan it out, or you can sit down and start writing," she said.
As the story progresses, Dowd writes as often as she can to keep the story as fluid as possible, she said.
"I try to write almost every day," she said.
Dowd has worked through many days of writing to get where she is today, and she understands that the road ahead of her is a long one as well.
"The way you know you are improving is that the rejection letters get nicer and more personal," she said.
Despite knowing how hard her journey has been, Dowd said she looks at everything with a positive outlook and sense of humor.
Dowd recently finished working on a novel titled "Broken Circle." She is contacting publishers as she attempts to get it published.
She is also writing another novel under the working title "Private Pieces." She hopes to complete the book within the next few months.
As for Dowd's future, she is nothing but optimistic. Through success and failure she has kept a positive attitude, and she is expecting her writing to pay off yet again.
"It's been a long and frustrating process but well worth it."
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