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In 1975 Nancy Bush (sister of author Lisa Jackson) bumped into a fortune teller celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at a popular Irish bar in Portland, Oregon. Always intrigued by the unexplained, Bush dared the woman to read her palm. The fortune teller informed Bush that she would someday be a writer and have one child, who would be the single most important thing in her life.
At the time both writing and children were the furthest things from Bush’s mind. A graduate of Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition, Bush was working at a bank and honing her business skills. She was dating her husband-to-be, Ken Bush, but at the time they had no plans to marry. She thought the palm reader’s prediction was little more than a clever act.
Little did she know how close to the truth the fortune teller’s vision of her life would become. She married Ken Bush in 1976 and gave birth to her only daughter, Kelly, in 1980. A year later, Bush read an article in Time magazine about young mothers who, after their last child was put to bed and the final diaper washed, pulled out their typewriters and began penning romance novels–for money! Bush told her sister, Lisa Jackson, “I think we could do that,” and overcoming Jackson’s arguments that they were both mystery readers, not romance readers and therefore didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades of writing one, Bush began developing her first romantic novel. Jackson eventually agreed to be a part of the project.
The sisters and a friend spent half a year creating, writing and rewriting a book they titled STORMY SURRENDER. Bush retyped the work and sent it to many New York publishing houses, which all rejected the novel as being “too suspenseful”, “not romantic enough” or “having too much mystery.” The team of three split up, and Bush, reading that Young Adult romance novels were the next big thing, turned her attention to the teen scene. Though she complained to a friend that she didn’t think she could “roll back the years to the senior prom,” her friend disagreed and, sure enough, she was soon pounding the keys of the typewriter again, this time focusing on teenaged angst. ABBY’S CHANCE was finished a few months later. Retitled DARE TO LOVE by Silhouette Books, Bush’s first novel was published in November 1982.
From the moment of the first sale, Bush was hooked on writing. In the ensuing years she wrote more than thirty novels, the bulk for Silhouette Books’ Special Edition imprint; plus a series of historical romance novels set in 1880s Oregon for Pocket Books, several young adult series and five Nancy Drew Mysteries.
During this time she also turned her attention to script writing. Through perseverance Bush was awarded a chance to move to New York and be part of a soap opera writing workshop. There, with her husband’s support, she eventually worked as a breakdown writer for “All My Children,” developing a storyline into daily scripts. She ultimately returned to Oregon to write a mystery series of her own.
In 2003, at home with her husband and Pug puppy, The Binkster, she penned GINNY BLUE’S BOYFRIENDS, a “chick lit” novel that chronicles the life of Ginny Bluebell, a commercial film production manager in Los Angeles, who reviews the list of men she’s dated and wonders “what was I thinking?”.
Bush moved from chick-lit directly to mystery, selling a mystery series to Kensington Publishing. CANDY APPLE RED is the first of the Jane Kelly mysteries. In CANDY APPLE RED Jane answers the question, “Whatever happened to Bobby Reynolds?” a family annihilator missing for four years. Along the way Jane inherits a Pug, reconnects with an old love and wonders if she’ll ever be able to swim in Lake Chinook again now that a dead body’s been found floating in its green depths.
Bush couldn’t be happier finally being able to write the kind of books she loves to read. The Jane Kelly character is an amalgam of herself and her daughter, Kelly. The idea for Jane’s Pug was actually conceived before Bush bought her own dog, three year’s ago. The Binkster originally came to life within the pages of CANDY APPLE RED but now is an entertaining member of the Bush family.
Bush, always an avid reader, loves to work crossword puzzles, read mystery novels, walk around a nearby Oregon Lake, and spend time at the beach with her husband, daughter, sister and dog. Glimpses of her life sometimes appear in the pages of her books. She has several more Jane Kelly Mysteies in the works and is considering writing a sequel to GINNY BLUE’S BOYFRIENDS.
Thirty years after the fact, she looks back at the chance meeting with the fortune teller in the Irish bar and realizes it truly was fate. As it turns out, the palm reader was right on the money.
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