I have been a writer at heart since sixth grade, when I discovered that I enjoyed writing even answers to essay questions. But my understanding of the mechanics of writing were shaky at first, as you can see from my response to the last task on the eighth grade entrance exam to Fourth Baptist Christian School: Diagram the sentence, "The turtle slipped silently into the water." The task puzzled me, but I did my best. My response looked something like this:
My prospective teachers had a good laugh over that. But fortunately I was admitted and learned many things about writing. During my years there, I wrote regularly to my paternal grandparents. Here's a picture of them:
I learned lots about good literature from my professors at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, where I wrote tons of papers. While there, I made puppets and began writing and performing puppet scripts for children's church ministry. During my sophomore year, I met a young seminary student, and spent the next two years writing love letters while I finished my degrees in English and secondary education. Lots of writing practice!
After I married the love of my life, my husband introduced me to the many children's classics I had missed growing up. An avid reader who studied the newspapers on the floor when I tried to cut his hair, he shared his passion for THE HOBBIT and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I was soon hooked on children's fantasy, including MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH and THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE.
I adored reading to my children and began writing in snatches between singing lullabies, wiping runny noses, and spending long mornings at the park. I spent many happy hours with them listening to wonderful audio renditions of Beatrix Potter's THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT and Laura Ingalls Wilder's LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.
As the children grew older, we made countless trips to the library, and I discovered children's serial novels such as BETSY-TACY, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, REDWALL, and ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY.
When my family moved from Minnesota to South Carolina in 1984, I started working full-time in the business world, first as an administrative assistant and later as a trust banking specialist. For a while, I switched back to teaching middle school English. I found my writing skills extremely helpful in all of those positions.
Reading was one of the ways I relaxed. I read classic romances like LORNA DOONE and coming-of-age novels like COLD SASSY TREE and HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. I enjoyed series like MRS. POLLIFAX and LOVE COMES SOFTLY. I especially loved the charm of old times and the flavor of small towns.
Gradually, stories my grandfather had told about his mother began shaping themselves into a cohesive tale. In the 1990s I began working on ANNETTI and its sequel LETTERS TO ELSA, but I found breaking into the publishing world to be much harder than writing.
When I became a grandmother in 2008, I started making up stories to amuse my granddaughters. My efforts grew into a collection of stories, LEGENDS OF ELLANDRIA, and the related middle-grade adventure, PENNY AND THE SEER'S BALLAD.
With the advent of ebooks and on-demand publishing, I decided to take the leap and start my own writing business with the help of Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace.
And here I am--learning to navigate the world of self-publishing and realizing a dream. My education never ends. Many thanks to my dear husband and family members and many others who helped me along the way!