I was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area, the oldest of ten children. My parents bought a rundown, crumbling sort of spooky old house near San Carlos that was reputed to belong to the first governor of California – as his stable! It was also supposed to be haunted by wife of one of the previous owners who had been struck down by a Model-T. However, no ghost in his right mind would dare to materialize at our house.
With a large family like ours, one can imagine the chaos. The five boys were all smack in the middle, full of spit and fire (literally, my youngest brother set the detached garage and several ancient trees on fire playing some kind of chicken poker with lighted matches. Don’t ask.).
One of the anomalies about our house was the Sunday evening blackouts. We figured that the City lowered the wattage grid on that day, but whatever the reason, as my father made a fuse run, we children would gather in the dark and tell stories. I think that’s where my love of spinning a spellbinding yarn began.
Art was big in our family, too. I can’t think of a single brother or sister who isn’t artistic, musical, or dramatic.
I studied art in college, and planned to be an art teacher until a prospective employer at Sunsett Magazine told me I’d get a better education BEING an artist, than studying to be one. He said artists work at it, and all the rest teach. A little harsh, I think, but I got the job. My year at Sunsett was indeed an education. I left to marry, but learning the basics of book design has never left me.
I’ve lived in Oregon for well over 35 years. My three kids were born here. And when my fabulous, beautiful, funny husband passed away, I found myself raising teens and a preteen alone. The results have been mixed. (Just kidding.)
What I knew for sure was that I needed a job. I began my own graphic arts business and ran it for ten years, but my real love was writing and illustrating for children. I was lucky enough to be picked by Simon & Schuster for a new children’s imprint. My first book was It Chanced To Rain. I sold five picture books to them, had a ball, and would have written and illustrated books forever. Unfortunately, I needed a more secure job. I found one working with good friends at an educational publisher, and my illustrated books sort of fell by the wayside. In my spare time, however, I did begin to study the art of writing.
My first completed novel turned out to be Far Corners. I feel privileged to have found a wonderful, young publisher in Diversion. My day job is very intense, full of deadlines, re-dos, and weeks of panic when it’s catalog or book convention time. I love my work but it leaves little time for much else.
Nevertheless, I keep writing.
A blatant self-promotion bid: my second novel, the YA fantasy The End of Dominion will be out this year, and I’m hoping to sell two more novels in the young reader genre.