I make my home in Wisconsin, land of the three seasons—summer, fall, winter. (For some reason, spring passes us by). When my husband starts to lobby for us to move to a warmer climate, I point to fires, tornados, and rising sea levels as the reason to stay put in the middle of the heartland. Besides, I kind of like the crunch of freshly fallen snow beneath my boots as I trudge to the mailbox. But the main reason I stay are the great women friends I’ve made here. With age comes wisdom about what’s truly important, and they are.
I write full-time after a short career as a psychologist and a much longer one as the founder and CEO of a national art consulting company. If I’m honest, I’m a writing conference junkie, having penned my first published short story as a result of a stint at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and I regularly attend several events each year when a pandemic doesn’t get in the way. I’ve had many mentors along the way, and my way of paying that forward is by supporting fellow authors, particularly those just starting out, through podcast interviews, teaching, speaking gigs, and through shout-outs and posts on social media. That’s also why I regularly blog for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Chicago Writers Association.
I came to writing through my first love–reading. Yes, I was one of those kids who grabbed a book as a toddler and read it until the cover fell off. Now that I’ve got the luxury of a home office, I’ve lined it with bookshelves—three shelves with short story collections, twelve for novels, five for books on writing. When my husband was wooing me, he presented me with a box filled with every Agatha Chistie mystery ever published, which he’d scoured used bookstores for months to find. That collection sits alongside the Sherlock Holmes canon and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels. And yes, I decided to marry him shortly after. Not just because of the books, but I have to admit, it helped.
Another passion of mine is movies, from the classic noirs of the forties through modern day classics. I’ve decorated our hallway to the basement rec area with lobby cards from my favorites, including Vertigo, Silence of the Lambs, and Chinatown. How many brain cells am I using up, storing all this arcane knowledge? Who cares? And now that long-form dramatic television has supplanted film as my go-to, I’m never far from my favorite form of entertainment—great stories well-told.
And on a more personal note: my debut novel TRUTH & OTHER LIES, is at its heart about how, at a formative age, young women often pattern themselves after someone older and seemingly wiser and how that choice can affect the trajectory of their lives. That theme resonated with me because of my own experiences growing up in Oklahoma until I left for college in Chicago. I had a prickly relationship with my mother. We were strangers to each other, shouting across the great expanse of changing women’s roles. No way would I be like her, a housewife in middle America. As far as I could see, all she did was cook and clean the house, Which was not the life I had planned for myself. Which I made sure to tell her every chance I got. And she, a product of the Depression and a world war, thought my dreams of a career in journalism were cock-eyed and unattainable.
In many ways the scenes between Megan and her mother were easy to write because I lived them. I never had a role model like my famous journalist, Jocelyn Jones. And I never mended my relationship with my mother, who died a decade ago. So in some ways writing this first novel was my attempt to come to terms with both those facts. To write a story where my 25-year-old protagonist is able to achieve what I could not. To give my own life story a better ending.