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I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest of five (overachievers, every one), and fell in love with words and stories the summer I read Gone With The Wind. That year, for my twelfth birthday, my parents gave me a typewriter (with italic font – it was the coolest thing) and from that day on, I’ve had my fingers on a keyboard, pounding out love stories for fun. My AP English teacher taught me the two most important lessons an aspiring author ever needs:
1) verbs are the key to life
2) a writer should get a real job.
After attending UCLA and graduating with a degree in communications, I tried acting and television broadcasting. Oh, they aren’t real jobs? I learned that the hard way. I changed my last name from Zink to St. Claire because a news producer told me Roxanne Zink had too many harsh consonants for a TV personality – apparently Katie Couric didn’t get the memo. I got some fun gigs, and even met Tom Hanks when I did a guest appearance on Bosom Buddies. I liked on-camera work, but wasn’t too crazy about starvation, so I moved to Boston and got that 'real' job. In fact, I placed my foot on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder and didn’t look down until I’d climbed all the way up to the level of Senior Vice President at the world’s largest public relations firm. On the way up, I met the man of my dreams in an elevator. Two years later – in the same elevator! – he asked me to marry him and I wisely said yes.
I stayed in PR, moved to Miami, had a few babies, lost my home in a hurricane, built another one a few hours north, and all along I kept writing my 'stories' for fun. One night, I read a particularly fabulous romance novel that changed my life for good. That night, I decided I wanted to make someone else feel as whole and happy as that author made me feel. (Everyone asks! It was Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.) With two small children and one big 'real' job, writing my first novel wasn’t easy, but I did finish a manuscript that managed to get the attention of a literary agent. She told me to do one thing and one thing fast: write another book (the first one is usually a 'learner' book, honestly). Since then, I’ve written almost thirty more, in multiple genres, and long ago replaced the corporate ladder with the rollercoaster of publishing as a full-time novelist. Finally, writing is my real job.
Today, I live in a small beach community in Florida with my husband and our two teenagers, and one spectacular Australian Terrier named Pepper. When I have spare time, I spend it with my family, but also dig in the dirt with my plants, travel for business and fun, hang out with my many writer friends, and, of course, I love to read. I’m still crazy about words and stories and hope to write at least a hundred books in my lifetime. And, yes, verbs are the key to life. My favorites? Love. Work. Play.