Everybody in the government with whom I emailed knew that I was using a personal email, and I have said it would have been a better choice to have had two separate email accounts. And I've also tried to not only take responsibility, because it was my decision, but to be as transparent as possible.
It's tough because sometimes you'll just be on the web and things pop up or you get emailed something from a friend. It is definitely impossible to avoid stuff about me sometimes, but it's pretty important to try. It's very rare that things are true about yourself that are on the Internet. It's just sad sometimes. So you definitely try and stay away from it as much as possible.
When I was 12, I was living in Iowa, and I emailed so many wrestling schools, and one of them was actually in Boston. I joined it at 18 - the New England Pro Wrestling Academy. They were doing a fantasy camp. I was 17 about to turn 18. I told my mom, 'I'm 18 now. I just signed these papers by myself, and I'm going to do this.'
I was still in the college and they told me I should try it. At the time, I still thought I was going to be an Olympic softball player. But later, when I retired from softball in 2007, I decided to give bobsled a try. I emailed the coach and got invited to Lake Placid for a tryout and I never left.
I put together an iPhone app called TrimIt and released that in July 2011. About a month later, the private fund of the Hong Kong billionaire Li-Kashing cold emailed me and expressed an interest to invest, but they didn't realize I was 15. They thought it was a U.K. company with a team.
But America was built by optimists. Optimists like my friend Amanda, who recently started a small business. When she went to buy her website address-her first and last name-she found that someone already owned it, but wasn't using it. So my friend emailed the owner of the site to ask if she could buy it. The owner wrote back.
The cruise was the conduit for what would become my third book. While I was traveling and writing for ctnow.com, women across the United States and from the Caribbean emailed not to ask about my geographic journey but my existential one. 'How do you find the courage to travel on your own?' they wondered. 'How do you keep from getting lonely? Don't you feel self-conscious eating out alone?' After the first 30 emails like these I thought, There's a book here. It would be eight years before I published Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road. But the inspiration for publication came during the cruise.
I wanted an agent who would actually sell stuff. After two British agents failed comprehensively, I was reading Locus (the SF field's trade journal) and noticed a press release about an experienced editor leaving her job to join an agent in setting up a new agency. And I went "aha!" - because what you need is an agent who knows the industry but who doesn't have a huge list of famous clients whose needs will inevitably be put ahead of you. So I emailed her, and ... well, 11 years later I am the client listed at the top of her masthead!