I spent my first six years in South Bend, Indiana in a house with a tornado cellar that gave me a love of damp, musty, mysterious places. To this day, I breathe in a cool cellar like incense. You may have noticed a few underground elements in my stories!
Transplanted at six, Colorado seemed dry and desolate, the towering mountains a view that could not replace green grass and lightning bugs. But I learned to watch for barrel cactus in the straw-colored fields in which my brother and I played cowboys and Indians. (I always played the Indian because the bow really shot the arrows and all he had were caps.) We tramped pasture land, waded holding ponds teeming with tadpoles, and toted them home in coffee cans to hatch into hundreds of speckled, penny frogs. At night, with the neighbor kids, I played kick the can on the gravel roads and acreage around our far flung houses.
Between classical violin lessons, I rode my teacher’s purebred Arabians up and down the scrub oak covered mountain slopes. My sister, brother and I played Mozart at church on Christmas, and I subsequently taught myself piano, recorder, tambourine and guitar.
My passions were reading, art, and writing stories. But I also had a wild streak that called me outside to dissect grasshoppers and catch rock lizards and salamanders–for pets. Now my main passion is hiking the mountains I can’t live without.
I loved learning, but broke out of the family mold, by leaving college to marry my husband Jim (celebrating 32 this year.) I have two precious grandbabies who took my heart and won’t give it back.
While home schooling my four kids, I wrote my first novel. I pitched it for publication, and it became the first of a five book historical series. Since then, I have written three more historical and twelve contemporary romantic suspense novels. The Still of Night was nominated for the Colorado Book Award. The Tender Vine and Indivisible were Christy Award finalists and Secrets won a Christy Award in 2005.
People often ask why I started writing, and I say to get the stories out of my head. Some say they’d like to write a book, but I say if you’re not wracked with labor pains, there are easier ways to express yourself. Being a writer is a solitary, eccentric, and often compulsive path. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.