“You have a touch of destiny in you.”
Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest
I was destined to write.
The Nancy Drew mystery series, all 56 original volumes, was my earliest ‘Call to Adventure’. I loved the mystery and danger, but always wondered why Nancy and Ned never married or ever seemed to date much. Even then, I wanted more of their relationship within the pages.
Writing stories was also a big part of my childhood. I wrote several books in grade school, winning an award for one of them, the Calbery Creative Writing Contest, when I was just 12. Although I no longer have the paper copy of Gertrude & Gary and the Honey Factory, the award is proudly framed in my office.
During high school, I found romance! I dabbled with early Danielle Steele, being both properly appalled and titillated by the passion, but I still wanted more; more depth of character and larger, sweeping sagas to exotic locales. I found what my heart wanted with Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and the novel Shanna. What an incredible story! I still have my original copy and occasionally break it out for a thrilling read.
I had no shame when it came to reading romance. I was voracious, going to the library most week-ends and during long summer days, checking out anything I could find. I grew up with the adventures of Rosemary Rogers, Laurie McBain, Joanna Lindsey and Jude Deveraux.
Once during a high school class (can’t remember the subject), I was secretly reading at my desk—in the front of the room. The teacher walked over and without breaking his lecture, snatched the book from my lap and threw it away. Sure I was embarrassed, but after the class, I waited until most of the students had left the room and bravely retrieved my book. I had to find out what happened next!
During college, life got in the way and I put my fantasies in the closet. After I’d graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Natural Science, I concentrated on my career as a biologist and then my marriage. As a scientist, I’m grounded in the physical and natural world, but my creative spirit overflowed until I listened again to the Call.
I joined a children’s writing group because I had a great idea and needed some help with the execution of professional writing. I quickly found out I would need to read LOTS of children’s books from the local library and bookstores. Simple right? Wrong. I’d get to the bookstore, look at the rows of children’s books, and gravitate toward the romance novels. It took my sister-in-law telling me that she was writing a romance novel for me to realize my hands were in the wrong place. My heart called out for romance!
A few months later I heard a story about a French shipwreck found off the coast of Texas. This historical tragedy sang to me and become the backdrop for my first novel, an adventurous time-travel romance. My story finaled in the 2007 Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal’s ‘On the Far Side’ contest.
What keeps me writing?
I learned long ago, while peddling a bicycle around the United States for ten long months, to not give up. Even after I had broken my hand, I didn’t quit peddling. That journey taught me perseverance and strength of character. But it’s taken me many more years and my magical someone to let go of fear and fully embrace my inner power.
I’ve taken those life lessons and created characters who won’t quit. They may want to give up the fight or believe they have given up, but their strength of character won’t relinquish the quest. Then I throw someone magical into the mix and watch the fireworks.
Enjoy the ride!