The first thing you should know about me is that I'm a family loving girl, born in Illinois in a town of about 1,500 people. With the exception of a few years here and there I've either lived in small towns or the country ever since. I try to depict my love of small-towns and those small-town attitudes and values in the stories I write. Thankfully, I grew up during a more innocent time. My friends and cousins were what they now call "free range" kids. We rode our bicycles all over that little town, and I doubt our mamas knew where we were or what we were doing half the time.
We had a couple of cafe's, a news stand, five and dime and drugstore, movie theater, and of course grocery stores. We also had a library. I can't remember not knowing how to read, though I'm sure I didn't at some point! When I went to school, I read my reader cover to cover first thing and growing up I always had "my nose stuck in a book" according to my mom. In preparing for my "romance" career, I bought the romance comic books from the news stand (10 cents each) and I'd walk to the library and check out the maximum number of books (4), read one a day, take them back and get some more. I read all the books about teenagers I could find. Back then fiction wasn't divided into genres, they were just novels, so they weren't called YA. I also read the Emilie Loring books more times than I can count. Grace Livingstone Hill, one of the first Christian/inspirational authors was another favorite.
I completed my first manuscript my senior year, a hodgepodge of every genre known to man. I think I still have it somewhere. In the early '70s I sent what would become known as "bodice rippers" to Little Brown and Company who actually considered publishing it. (I still have the letter somewhere.) Ultimately they rejected it, but I laughingly tell everyone that if they'd taken it, I'd have been Kathleen Woodiwiss.
My first sale was in 1983, a book called NO PERFECT SEASON that I co-authored with my dear friend Sandra Canfield. And here I am thirty-two years later, still writing. The rest as they say is history! Well, that's the cliff notes version of my life and how I came to love books and writing. You'll be hearing more about me and we'll take more strolls down the paths to explore my past as we go along. Learn about your history and pass it along to your children. They'll thank you one day. Thanks for stopping by.
I Write Because...
I love words. In school I loved spelling words and vocabulary words and dividing words into syllables, learning their meanings, learning how to diagram sentences. I love the way using just the right word paints exactly the right mental picture. Woman. Lady. Hag. Witch. Mother. Hooker. Did you see them?
I love how one word can mean so many things. Up. Wake up. Give up. Stand up. Shut up. Put it up. Upscale. Confusing and wonderful! I love the way words sound, the way they roll off the tongue. Or not. I love the diversity of words and how writers use the same words over and over, arranging them in innumerable ways to never say the same thing.
I love how words make up sentences and sentences make up paragraphs and paragraphs make up pages and pages make up chapters and chapters make up stories. I love stories. I love reading them and writing them.
The first book I sold was a collaboration with the wonderful writer, the late Sandra Canfield in 1983. It was a contemporary romance for Silhouette. Through the next twenty or so years I wrote 30+ books for Silhouette, Harlequin, Steeple Hill and Harper Paperbacks. I took an eight year or so break to do some other things I'd always wanted to do, but during that time I never stopped writing. I started and completed an historical mystery with an idea that had always intrigued me, a non-fiction about marriage, and co-authored with a friend about recognizing the signs that your marriage is coming apart.
Why did I keep writing?
Because I can't help myself. There has always been something inside me that has urged me to tell other people's stories, even if those stories were made up. We are products of our past. Our own personal history. Emotion drives the plot. People and situations haven't changed. Love, pain, deceit, sorrow, greed, jealousy, and revenge are the same today as they were at the beginning of time. The only thing that changes is how a person (character), a person's past, and their attitudes about the things happening in their world influence their reactions. That is the only thing that makes one story different from any of a thousand with the same plot. I wanted to explore the past, and the situations, mores and attitudes of an earlier time, so I chose to write historical fiction. I picked mystery because I've always loved a good puzzle, and Christian because I hope my tales show God's unconditional love for us and that no matter what we may have done, hope, peace, redemption, love and joy are possible for the future.