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During my childhood I was fortunate enough to live in such exotic places as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and several locations in Japan, as well as numerous Air Force SAC Bases in the United states. Being an only child, I was often lonely and occupied my time and overactive imagination by writing very purple prose and reading any book I could get my hands on. As I grew up, I was told that writing was a nice hobby but I really should be thinking about getting "a real job."
I waited tables, managed an insurance office and retail establishments, one of which was a craft shop where I also taught everything from ceramics to macrame. My first exposure to the publishing world was an offer from a foreign publisher to do a book featuring my own macrame designs. I was too intimidated to take them up on it. Besides, I had a "real job" as well as three children to raise. Even in my naivete, I had an inkling of how much work would be involved.
The kids grew up and rather than languish in my rapidly emptying nest, I indulged a sudden attack of I-want-to-do-my-own-thing. My husband, who loves books as much as I do, encouraged my insanity, so I bought paper and pencils by the gross and started scribbling. It took ten years and many rewrites—each of which my husband typed for me. Our oldest son bought me a computer, saying that he was investing his money in a sure thing, as well as saving Dad's fingers. Justifying his belief in me, my first book was finally published in 1989. Can you imagine the thrill we experienced when we found out it was a prop in the movie Silence Of The Lambs? We went to the theater with friends and they stood up and cheered when the scene came up.
Our children are leading their own lives now but thankfully live close by. Our daughter, the youngest of the three was married first—to a terrific young man who knows just when I need an off-the-wall joke or a big, caring hug. They have two beautiful children—a boy with a bright, inquisitive mind and vivid imagination, and a girl with huge eyes, a busy mind, and an assertive nature even at 18 months. We call her "Twinkle" for her personality, and no one will ever walk all over her.
Our oldest son was married seven months later to a wonderful woman, who I feel is the ideal mate for him. They have a son, whose disposition is as sweet as his smile. I had the pleasure of making all the gowns for both weddings—creating a memory I will cherish, and hopefully mementoes for "my girls" to hold dear all their lives.
Our younger son amazes me at his strong resemblance to my husband in appearance as well as his intellect and sense of humor. He has refined bachelorhood and dating to a fine art, though I have no doubt that he will someday find that perfect woman. Naturally, all our children and their spouses are wonderful in my eyes and in my heart.
My mother, a most amazing woman, lives with us now. She reads a book a day—romances of course—and accompanies me to conventions when I can get away from deadlines. Most of my writer friends call her "Mom."
I hit fifty last year but since I've discovered that life truly does begin at forty, I figure I'm just a kid. *grin* God has blessed me with a close and loving family, good friends within the industry and without, and the opportunity to realize my dream and share it with other lovers of the written word. I've won awards and made some bestseller lists, but the most gratifying and precious moments are the times when I receive letters and e-mail notes from readers, confirming my belief that book people are the most special in the world.
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