I’m an author who writes contemporary literary fiction with a touch of suspense. I have written two published novels. I am currently on a break from writing my third.
I love writing and I also love to read and often write reviews for books I enjoy. I never write reviews for books I didn’t like, I see no purpose in writing negative reviews. To me reading is subjective and a book that doesn’t grab me, might be life changing for someone else. Oftentimes, I’ll give four or five stars (those little stars are critical for sales) to a book I’ve enjoyed, but didn’t have time to include a written review. I always want to support good authors and share great books with readers.
I grew up in California, and was born in a tiny coastal town in the Pacific Northwest. I’m the middle child of a large family with an accountant father and a homemaker mother. Things were tight, but there was lots of love.
When I was a kid, the bookmobile stopped at the park near my home every Thursday afternoon. Just in time to check out some weekend reads. At the beach on Saturdays afternoons, while my friends were swimming and surfing, I was camped out on my beach towel reading.
After high school, I studied Communications (English was closed) at Cal State Fullerton. I often petitioned classes outside my major, the course catalogue reading like a dream book for a writer’s soul — Short Story, American Literature, Shakespeare on Film, Chaucer.
I left college shortly before graduating, a newly single mom with bills to pay. I headed to Atlanta to start a job selling giant reims of paper to printing companies. My toddler developed appellations such as y‘all and fixin to as we gently rebuilt our life together.
I met and married my husband soon after and we added two more babies and moved 15 times around the country and abroad for my husband’s work. The kids are all grown now living in different cities and we’ve added two darling grandchildren to the fold. We recently retired to the mountains of northern Arizona, where we now have time to golf, hike, read and relax.
Life is good.
It’s been an interesting adventure.
Along the way, I took more electives outside my major, attended dozens of writer’s conferences, and joined writing groups. I volunteered at literary magazines, one of which was founded by Francis Ford Coppola in San Francisco where my job was to read submissions from the slush pile (you can’t believe the backlog) and push along the shining stars to editors. I wrote rejections to budding writers, always with a note of encouragement because I knew how it felt to have my stories rejected over and over.
The silver lining — I learned about publishing from the inside out and that it’s not personal. Instead, it’s all about what editors are looking for to meet the requirements of publication themes and what will sell. There were hundreds of stories I read during those years, more than worthy of publication, but didn’t fit the needs of that particular magazine. So, word to the wise writer — never, ever give up. Be steadfast, send your work out and stay strong.
It was in the bay area during the same time I met my literary agent. I was putting the finishing touches on my debut novel, Restoration, and attended a local writer’s workshop. I stayed after to speak to the agent leading the group. She became my friend and then my editor and eventually my agent. She helped me land a small publisher for both Restoration and The Lies We Keep. I’m on my own now, no agent at present. My small publisher has since downsized further and although they love my work, anything can happen — in the ever-evolving publishing industry, the only thing authors can count on…is change.
I tell my story to share how someone like me, who didn’t follow a traditional literary path, can write novels and get published. There are dozens of options for writers to shepherd their work these days, but one thing most published authors have in common is perseverance. I started by placing short pieces with small, respected journals and newspapers. And probably naively, I went about writing my novels in the same determined manner, convinced that one day they would find a good home. I was lucky when they did. But, more than luck, it really was absolute persistence on my part. Oftentimes, the difference between writers who get published and those who don’t, is simple, the ones who do — never give up.
Writers who make it to publication also understand and accept that criticism can help define their voice and improve their craft, and the difficult task of revisions and constant rewriting is a critical part of the process.
Write what you know (it’s true) — go out and explore your world, live your life and learn from experiences at work and in relationships. Life is an education in and of itself, and anybody who is alive — has a story to tell.
My biggest advice? Write your story. Someone will publish it. Someday. Somewhere. Somehow.
As for me, after my current break, I’ll be back at it, plugging away on my next novel, writing in coffee shops, at the kitchen table, on flights and in hotel rooms — and I’ll be reading, too — at the library (I haven’t seen the inside of a bookmobile in a while) or out on my deck surrounded by Ponderosa pines, or at the beach (on my towel) while everyone else is out swimming in the sea.
Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep going. Onward.