Connect with Day
I live in the midst of a maritime forest on Hatteras Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Despite the yearly storms and the occasional power outages, I find the beautiful climate, superb fishing, and unbeatable seascape more than adequate compensation. Being flexible and having a sense of humour also helps, I’ve discovered, along with a love for both the island and my craft.
There were four kids in our family when I was growing up, and us three girls all close together in age. We were home from school one winter day because we’d had a blizzard and Mom… Well, she was practically pulling her hair out in an attempt to keep us entertained. We’d fought our way through any number of board games, had read all the books in the house and were basically making a total nuisance of ourselves. Out of sheer desperation, Mom told me that if I didn’t have any books to read, I should go write one.
So, I did. It was a historical. A Cinderella story set in the Wild West with a wicked stepmother and two wicked stepsisters. As I recall, those two stepsisters bore an uncanny resemblance to my own two sisters. I guess I was out of charity with them at the time!
Although I’d thought about being a writer in high school, I majored in Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. I had decided I was going to be another Jane Goodall… right up until I went camping for the first time. It forced me to reconsider a lifetime spent without the basic necessities of life – like running water and flush toilets.
So I dropped out to reconsider my career choices. That’s when I met my husband, Frank. It was a whirlwind courtship. We married five months after meeting.
I began writing when I fell pregnant with my first son, Matt. Me and my husband, Frank, were running a produce market together at the time and I decided that I wanted to do something different. I’m not a natural sales person like Frank, I’m much more introverted and would rather be sat in the employee lounge reading a book! I told Frank that I’d like to find another line of work. He was incredibly supportive. He asked me what I wanted to do and without even thinking I said, ‘Write. I want to write Harlequin Romances.’ The next day we drove into Seattle and bought our first computer. And the rest is history! Well, not quite. Harlequin returned my first attempt – three mercifully short chapters. They said that although my writing was competent, the plot of my story was melodramatic and my characters stereotypical – but I took competent to mean good. That one word gave me all the encouragement I needed. The next book received an even more positive response – and this time, a request for a revision. Although they ultimately turned that second story down, I never grew discouraged. It certainly never occurred to me to give up.
Then tragedy struck when my younger sister, Nancy, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died the following year. It was a very dark time. We’d recently moved into this tiny condominium outside of San Diego, California, and I didn’t know a lot of people. My son, Matt, had just turned three and I spent the summer hiding in our home with the drapes drawn, playing with him. Finally my husband – out of sheer desperation – told me to start writing again or go get a job at McDonald’s flipping burgers.
It worked! I sat down and wrote a slapstick romance called Jinxed. After three months of depression, I needed some comedic relief and that book provided it. It was my first Harlequin Romance and I dedicated it to Nancy.
As for the future? I have a tonne of ideas. Last time I checked my schedule I was booked several years ahead. And considering I come up with book ideas all the time… well, let’s just say that I have a lot of writing ahead of me!