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The Easter Bunny is supposed to bring candy. One year he brought a bouncing baby to my parents instead. I’ll let you make your own association here. My parents claim they were elated, but I think it just took time for the shock to wear off. As the oldest of what turned out to be six brothers and one sister, I grew up amid noise and chaos. Mom thrived on it. Dad thought about emigrating to Australia.
I would like to say I take after my dad, preferring order and quiet in my life, but since I seem to find myself constantly surrounded by chaos that I’ve either created or somehow become embroiled in, I figure you could say I got the best of both of them.
In high school, I met a man at the drugstore where I was working the soda fountain. (Yes, they really did exist outside old movies.) I went home and told my sister I’d met the man I was going to marry. Almost two years later, I did. We had two sons and thirty-some years later, I’ve kept my promise. I told my husband our lives would never be dull. There are times I’m sure he’d like to consider emigrating to Australia as well.
Reading and writing have always been part of my life. As a child I wrote plays and talked neighbourhood children into performing for parents and anyone else I could coerce into sitting through them. The rest of the time I spent reading – I used to walk to the library every Saturday to replenish my stack of fiction.
In high school I finally began writing my own novel. It was a murder mystery featuring a private investigator and a mysterious, beautiful woman. It was written in pen and pencil on all sorts of bits of notebook paper and after months of labour, I proudly handed it to my sister and best friend to read. My sister was furious that I had killed off the female lead at the end. My best friend pointed out the entire story took place in an impossible 24-hour period. Other than that, they both swore they liked it.
Over the years, I continued to dabble in writing, particularly after I discovered science fiction. Unfortunately, good science fiction requires a solid scientific background. Not my strong suit. But the most inhibiting factor was that in the old days, writing involved typewriters and carbon paper. For those of you too young to remember – typewriters didn’t all plug into the wall and none of them had anything resembling a ‘memory.’ They had messy ribbons and sticking keys and bells that went ‘ding!’ when you came to the end of the line.
Carbon paper is a vile substance that requires patience, discipline and accurate typing skills. I guarantee you, if man had not invented home computers, I’d still be living the stories in my head. Spell check, now done with the click of a mouse button, was an incredible boon to writers the world over, believe me. So when my sister asked me to write her a romance novel while I was between jobs, it sounded like a snap.
Ignorance is bliss, huh? I wrote my first romance novel in something like one week. I was so pleased by the results that I followed it up with two more. Then I discovered a group of writers who met once a week to critique and offer support to one another. Shortly thereafter I discovered a local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Of the five writers who formed the initial critique group, the three who were able to persevere are now all published authors. Moreover, I am proud to add that all three have been nominated for RITA® Awards.
Thanks to the loving support of my very own hero and the two sons we raised, I sold thirteen books in five years. I’m proud to call myself a writer. And hopefully, I’ve given to others some of the pleasure I’ve derived from a lifetime of reading.
Barefoot In The Park, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and All That Heaven Allows