Being forever curious about how writers became writers, I figure the best way to introduce myself is to tell you how I did, after many years of slipping other people’s books under my pillow, in hopes the Book Fairy would do a fly-by and leave one with my name on the cover. I was bitten by the writing bug when I was 8 years old. Highlight’s Magazine published a snippet of something I wrote and don’t recall the gist of, but I vividly remember the $10 check and the six-foot-long, stuffed snake I bought at S.S. Kresge’s with it.
When I was a kid, Daddy often told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, if I wanted it badly enough. I was in my mid-thirties before I understood the “badly enough” part required more effort than wishing and waiting for the Book Fairy to find me.
The “growing up” part hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t, as I’ve been earning my living for over a decade doing what I used to get grounded for, on a near-daily basis: a smarty-pants mouth, and an unbridled affection for making things up.
My “Smarty-mouth” side takes its turn in a weekly, self-syndicated newspaper column, Family Circle’s “Humor” page, in talks given to myriad groups and organizations via Program Corporation of America, and in two, RANDOM HOUSE/CROWN essay collections, THE TOAST ALWAYS LANDS JELLY-SIDE DOWN, and I HAVE EVERYTHING I HAD TWENTY YEARS AGO, EXCEPT NOW IT’S ALL LOWER.
The “Making Things Up” category, combined with a love of history and the women who lived it, includes six, historical novels published by SIGNET. However, two of those titles, namely TRINITY STRIKE and KLONDIKE FEVER, were based on the adventures of my real-life hero and subject of my Western Writers of America Spur award-winning biography, NELLIE CASHMAN, PROSPECTOR & TRAILBLAZER–an incredible gal whose amazing life-story needed no embellishment.
May 2000 will mark the collision (collusion?) of Ms. Smarty-Mouth and Ms. Making Things Up with MIRA’s release of EAST OF PECULIAR, the debut title of a contemporary suspense series set in the central Missouri Ozarks.
No sooner than Hannah Garvey, a forty-something former advertising executive, becomes operations manager for Valhalla Springs, an upscale retirement community, she’s involved in a murder most foul, trying hard NOT to get involved with David Hendrickson, the hunky, seven-years-younger county sheriff, and riding herd over a gang of elderly “gumshoes” determined to track down the killer in their midst.
Hannah, her someday-maybe lover David, and the buttinskis-turned-private-detectives will return in SOUTH OF SANITY, scheduled for early 2001, with NORTH OF CLEVER following later that year.
Okay, so is this female, Missouri-born version of Peter Pan having fun yet? Darned tootin’, Fig Newton. But if I’ve learned anything from having the great, good fortune to be living a dream, it’s that the bona fide grandest part of the whole deal is the people I’ve met along the way.
Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I hope to have the pleasure of making your acquaintance and hearing your story, someday, too. Turnabout is, after all, fair play!