First, a little biographical information as introduction: Born in Richmond, VA, I grew up in Northern Virginia in Arlington, close to Washington, D.C. I attended university and received a Bachelor's degree in English Literature & Journalism, married, and started my family there. All four of my daughters are grown and established in careers of their own and are literally scattered around the globe. I now reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with two very demanding dogs.
I suppose if I were being completely honest, I'd have to admit that I always knew I was a born to be a writer. I spent my childhood with my nose in a book and loved writing. But as I grew older, my life got much busier. Like so many of us, I never could find the time to write the stories and characters that kept appearing in my mind. So, I talked myself out of it. After all, raising a family and attending Business School in Accounting was difficult to juggle, particularly when I decided to become a CPA.
Still, the characters and their stories kept comingtrying to get my attention when I'd take my early evening workout run or while driving or planting flowers. I'd shove them away, pleading no time to listen. If they complained loudly enough (some characters are feistier than others), I'd jot down short scenes on notepads and toss them in a folder. Then, I'd insist they return to the Queuethat place in my imagination where my characters waited, some more patiently than others. They'd sulk and complain, of course. Sometimes the surlier ones would elbow their way up the Queue. Survival of the fittest, I figured.
Finally, I decided I had to start writing these stories. The Queue was getting pretty darn crowdedand noisy. Since I'd come from a long line of Virginians and absolutely adored history, I started writing historical novels. This allowed me to indulge a secret passion: library research. Yes, I'm one of those strange people who loves disappearing into the stacks with books piled around me. Since I had no shortage of historical characters waiting their turn in the Queue, I indulged myself, creating a Musketeer swashbuckler, a sweeping Medieval saga set in 12th Century England, a turn-of-the-century American family saga complete with Robber Barons, struggling Irish, and corrupt politicians, a post-Civil War western historical, as well as historicals set in Colonial Virginia and early Frontier America.
It was during those years that our family moved to Colorado, and I was able to network with vibrant writers' groups at last. I began my apprenticeship in the craftnetworking with the other writers, attending conferences and seminars, and joining critique groups, studying, writing, critiquing, and submitting. The focused effort paid off, and my Western historical, ABILENE GAMBLE, was published by Berkley in August 1995.
My life took a sideways turn at that point (as did the historical market), and I used that opportunity to take a new look at my fiction. I discovered something interesting. No matter what time period my historicals were set in or the length of the novel, two things were always present. First, there was a mystery at the heart of the story, sometimes more than one. And secondly, I killed a lot of people. Heck, I managed to kill off more people in one historical romance than in most amateur sleuth murder mysteries.
I figured that was probably a clue, so I began to study the mysteries that I'd grown up loving as well as the new mystery writers who had come onto what was clearly a lively and changing mystery scene. New characters appeared immediately and elbowed their way to the front of the Queue. I didn't need any further encouragement and jumped feet first into writing mysteries. Since I was starting a new career in real estate at the time, it was no surprise that the first amateur sleuth who walked on stage was a real estate agent. Again, time was in short supply, but I finished that novel in 2002 and sent it off to my agent. It sold and is now available as an ebook.
The story of how I came to write the Kelly Flynn Mystery Series is completely different. Meanwhile, I'm having a great time writing about Kelly and her friends. Kelly has a knack for poking her nose where it doesn't belong, so I figure she'll keep me busy following her around while she unravels clues as well as her latest knitting project.