I vividly remember when I first considered writing. I was less than five years old, galloping about our yard at the farm, probably pretending to lead a cavalry charge or round up a stampede. On one of the few unbroken limestone slabs that made up our sidewalk, I paused and turned to face the east, where the yard sloped into a grove of evergreens that led to our garden and the highway. I focused on something far beyond the highway, past the hay meadow and the locust-forested pasture. “Maybe I should write books,” I thought. “Someone has to.” I pondered this momentous choice for a while. Then I decided that it would be more logical for people who could read to write books, and galloped off.
However, I took up writing, as many people do, in my teens. As the years passed and life in the form of marriage and children intervened, I tried repeatedly to give up writing, but it would not give me up. I’ve completed three novels and a non-fiction self-help book, as well as essays and poetry. Thrillers More Than a Point of Honor and The Judas Seat are available on the web. Mystery What the River Knows is undergoing final edits. My shorter work has been published in state and national magazines, the local paper and a local website. I’m currently working on two more novels.
I’ve been a teacher’s aide, administrative assistant, grant administrator and run my own home day care. I had an early morning newspaper route and served as a leader for Girl, Boy and Cub Scouts. I also facilitated a DivorceCare program for several years. For over twenty-five years, I have worked for a cabinet-level state agency. Through this position and from visiting my children, I have traveled extensively, representing our state in national forums, immersed myself in outdoor recreational pursuits from sailing to archery and met interesting and influential people, as well as participating in government’s inner circle. I’ve associated with cops, preachers, paramedics, entertainers, truck drivers, veterans, and biologists. What gets them from where they started to where they are today is fodder for my pulp mill.
For twenty-one years, I was married to my high school sweetheart, a law enforcement officer and paramedic. After we divorced, I raised three teenagers on my own, albeit with the help of my village. During those years, I learned to change automotive fuel filters, paint houses, install faucets, refinish hardwood floors, and how to date again. I finally realized that my soul-mate sat across from me every month at our writers group meetings. We began to date, fell madly in love, made plans to marry, and then he was diagnosed with leukemia. We packed a lot of love and learning into the five short months before he passed beyond this life.
Writing is much like painting. I start with a rough sketch, then fill in the main shapes with broad strokes, gradually adding depth and texture with finer brushes. No experience is wasted on a writer. Sometimes, when I’m in a gathering, I feel myself shift into “writer mode,” slightly above and to the left of reality.