My life and my books are a celebration of new beginnings.
Although I am a livelong writer--I'm the oddball who liked writing essays in school--it wasn't until the early 1990s that my writing interest turned to novels. It was a new beginning for me...a totally different career path from the journalism I had been practicing. More than twenty novels later, I am still in love with writing...and with new beginnings.
No wonder all of my books deals with new beginnings in some way or another. In fact, my first novel, The Reluctant Viking, first published in 1994, was about a woman on the brink of divorce looking for a chance to start all over. A new beginning for poor Ruby Jordan. Fast forward more than ten years and you will find there is a theme of new beginnings in all my books. Doesn't matter if it's divorce, death, despair, time travel, loneliness, boredom or plain old dissatisfaction, readers want to know that there is a chance for...yep, new beginnings.
One of the greatest gifts we have in this world is to find work we love, which is appreciated by others. I have been especially blessed in that regard.
When anyone asks me about my novels, I always say that, if nothing else, they will make you laugh out loud...and maybe sizzle a bit. Which is really funny...to my family, at least. They think I have no sense of humor at all. And as for a sensual nature...forget it!
And they're right, to some extent. As a young girl growing up in Central Pennsylvania, I was very serious and very shy. I don't recall ever cracking a joke. Anything off-color would have made me blush and run for cover. Perhaps that was due to my strong Catholic upbringing. My sister Flora and I attended St. Agnes School in Lock Haven where the good nuns would have soaped our mouths if we'd dared think something racy, let alone speak it aloud.
But more likely it was due to the shyness that prompted me to bury my face in books. Lock Haven--a beautiful town with the Susquehanna River running through it--had a wonderful library located in an old three-story Victorian house, complete with window nooks and dusty alcoves.
When I graduated from Lock Haven and Penn State Universities, I entered the field of journalism and worked for more than ten years as a feature writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In retrospect, I believe I was forcing myself into an occupation where I would have to overcome my shyness.
It was while I was a reporter for the Trenton Evening Times in Trenton, N.J. that I met my husband, Robert. He was a political aide for a gubernatorial candidate at the time...sort of a George Stephanopolis type character. If I was shy, Robert was...well, the opposite. Robert left politics and went on to become a stock broker and vice-president of an internationally known financial firm. A far cry from his first job out of college... playing professional softball with Eddie Feigner's "The King and His Court."
Before I began writing novels, I enjoyed attending antique auctions (and still do). Robert and I collect nineteenth century American paintings and Roseville pottery. I grab any antique or collectible jewelry I can find, if it's a bargain.
We spend much of the spring through autumn at our cottage on a world class fishing stream.
One of the best things about writing books is the reader mail, and boy, do I get a lot of it! Furthermore, my critique partners tell me I get the most interesting fan mail of any writer they know. There are people going through some life crisis, whether physical or emotional, who feel my books have helped them. There are the Houston female firefighter...the male Methodist minister...all the female sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt...a psychiatrist in a mental hospital...a woman farmer...a college professor...a sex therapist...stay-at-home Moms...retired folks...you name it, I got it. All of them are profoundly appreciated by me. They all say, in one way or another, that my books have touched them in some way, and that's what writing is all about.
As I said at the beginning, if nothing else, I guarantee laughs with my books. I love to hear from my readers.