I guess every writer starts her journey with reading. It helps if you have family who encourage you to read and provide the stimulus and resources. My childhood was spent on a dairy farm and when I wasn't doing chores (like milking, bailing, cleaning stalls, driving tractor for Dad), I was inevitably found with a book in my hands. I could read in the dark, read in a car, read on the floor, read and watch TV.
My earliest memory of a wonderful gift was visiting my Grandmom and Aunt Em and finding our cousin, Marcy, had given us all kinds of books, but mostly Nancy Drew and the Dana Girls. Trixie Belden would come later. Oh, I couldn't wait for the day when I could grow up and wear pumps and drive a coupe, just like Nancy. Then I moved on to match wits with Agatha Christie, unfortunately, I lost more often than I won but I was born to be a sleuth.
During high school and college, my major was British literature (Wordsworth and Keats, two of my favorites). Nothing else would "stick." I came to love the English language through exploring Dickens, Tennyson, Austen, and the list goes on. During my senior year of college, I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Carmarthen, Wales. My good friend, Lorna, and I would go to the market every Wednesday and Saturday looking for old Mills and Boon books. It was just the continuation of my love affair with everything British. My great-grandparents hailed from England. How could I not become an anglophile?
Do you have what I call the "Austen" gene? Not everyone can lay clam to it. Maybe it was from watching all those Helena Bonham Carter movies ("A Room With a View"). Maybe it was visiting Tenby, one of Agatha Christie's haunts on the 100th anniversary of her birth with my sis. A wonderful memory. Maybe it was watching "Nicholas Nickelby" on stage and on TV. Or maybe because I always wanted to acquire a British accent. My love affair with Britain has many beginnings and no endings.
On to the "writing" gene. My first magnum opus (I've wanted to use that phrase for years) was when I was ten years old and in the fifth grade. It was called, "The Mystery of the China Cat." I wrote it in one night. Every chapter was a page and I wrote 20 chapters. Of course, towards the end of the night, my margins became wider and wider. Proud of my accomplishment, I took my book to Miss Leddy, my favorite teacher in all the world, and asked her to type it up for me. Every day I waited to get my hands on my first "published" novel. Finally, when she had a chance, she typed my little notebook up and gave me the twenty pages back. Hmm, a little light. And on each page, was a paragraph! A paragraph? That's it??? Wasn't there more? Not long ago, I looked at my first manuscript, and I was actually surprised by two finds: I knew "big" words back then that I didn't realize I knew, and I had actually put a plot together that made sense. Though It probably could have used more suspense and a lot more words.
So, after college, I stumbled into a job that I’ve been doing for twenty years, with the inevitable highs and lows, and reading, reading, reading, a bit of everything. What I did then and still love to do is actually write poetry. But my writing has taken center stage with my first two completed books for Kensington. I've begun work on my 3rd book in the series of "Bridegrooms." These three books and probably the rest of my repetoire will take place in the Georgian/Regency period, my very favorite time in history.
My family is very happy for me, particularly, since they all write to some extent.- two of them write for a living, one is writing five novels, and the other writes when he isn't running marathons, acting in local theatre or making people laugh in a comedy troupe. We hope to write an autobiography some day about growing up on a dairy farm.
I wouldn't be here at this precipice without my family who mean the world to me. Their support, encouragement and love have made all the difference in my life. Then there's my husband Frank, who absolutely means the world to me. He has been working feverishly on this website and totally understands my need for time for my writing. The last one to be introduced is my “child,” Merlin. My little terrier has been with me for over ten years. You can see his picture on the website. He brings me joy and laughter, except when I’m writing and he wants to a) play, b) go outside, or c) beg for a treat from the pantry or d) trick me into thinking he wants to go outside, but is actually leading me towards the pantry!
Well, I hope I haven’t been too long winded here. I’ve listed my influences, inspirations, and support, what a writer really needs. I hope whatever your dream is that you have what it takes to get there and the "genes" to go with it. All the best, Kit