Who am I and why do I write?

As a kid, I never thought I would become a writer. I loved reading and marveled that people could think of such wonderful stories. I even fantasized imaginary situations, but it never occurred to me to actually commit my imaginings to paper.  I discovered drawing at the age of seven and art became my focus and goal.


Growing up as the second of seven children, I knew I needed to work full time in order to go to college part time. That didn't change when I married and had two children. I eventually graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Studio Art and teaching credentials in both art and English. In time I earned a masters degree in education, with an emphasis on technology. (This sounds fancy, but it was for using computer programs in the classroom-- I know specific programs, not computer innards.)


Along the way, however, a co-worker introduced me to category romance novels. Always a voracious reader, I found the short books fit into my hectic life of home, family, school and work. After I complained about a particularly disappointing story, my friend challenged me to write one of my own. That first attempt taught me two very important things: (1) writing a novel is easier said than done and (2) I wanted to write a book worthy of being published.


When a local chapter of Romance Writers of America formed, I joined.  I came away from that first meeting knowing I needed to begin a new story that reflected what I wanted to share with others. That new story went through several versions and alterations as I learned the craft of pacing, characterization, turning points and emotional motivation. At the encouragement of fellow members and for unbiased feedback, I entered the Romance Writers of America's national Golden Heart Contest for Unpublished Writers.


Becoming one of six finalists in the competition brought home another fact of publishing: you must write more than a synopsis and three chapters to be published. Not wanting to be disqualified from the final round of judging, I survived on four hours of sleep a night for the next five days to finish the manuscript.  When I mailed it off the following Friday I knew I would not win, but I had taken the first true step into the world of publishing.  Two years later, I rewrote the book, resubmitted it to the Golden Heart and was again a finalist.  I eventually sold it to Kensington Publishing and Silent Song was released in July, 1996.


Life has a way of redirecting you at times, and changes in schools, administrators, teaching assignments and a return to college for a master's degree took over for several years and I was too exhausted to solve plot questions. I put writing on hold and refocused on painting and photography. Since retiring, however, the characters began dancing in my head once more... only now they dance to Regency music.