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I am born. 1960 was my year. September. Yes, that's right. I'm a Libra. A classic one, to be precise. To me, the whole world is cast in shades of gray. I see every side of every question, and you could learn to golf in the amount of time it takes me to make a decision. That's probably why this is the first time I've ever written a lengthy public biography. I couldn't decide if a) it's a good idea, and b) what to say.
Nonetheless, here I am, pen in hand, ready to tell you all a bit about me. I was born in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf.
I am transplanted to a misty green world where the sun makes an infrequent appearance. When I was eight years old, my wild, wonderful, adventurous father pulled up the family's tent stakes and loaded us all into a Volkswagen bus. Off we went, into the unknown. My mom, my dad, three small kids (I'm the eldest), and a dog. We were told to keep our eyes peeled for the most beautiful place on Earth. Is it any wonder I ended up making my living in the world of dreams?
Six weeks and ten states later, we drove into the place that would become home. Western Washington. An impossibly green land with towering trees and sparkling blue lakes and rain that never stopped for long.
I come of age and learn to dance in the disco era. Enough said. Needless to say, I have kept very few photos from my teen years. Does anyone else remember the asymmetrical hair cut that was all the rage?
Law School sucks me in. I still don't quite know how it happened. One minute I was a lowly associate in a trendy advertising agency (working all week writing one perfect sentence); the next thing I knew I was taking the LSAT and filling out loan and graduate school application forms. The surprising part was how much I loved law school. It must be that Libra thing again. What could be better than dissecting every issue from every angle and making up opinions?
"But you're going to be a writer." I will never forget the day my mother said those prophetic words to me. I was in my third-and final-year of law school. Roughly sixty thousand dollars in debt, but who's counting? My mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer.
There were so many things we didn't want to discuss. Sadly, I was too young to know how much I didn't know…and how many questions I would someday long to ask her. And she was simply too young.
I was shocked to discover that she believed I would bag the law and become a writer. I didn't realize it at the time, but of course, the years-and my own journey into motherhood-has taught me plenty. The dream was her own; she gave it to me, all wrapped up in ribbon and promise.
For the next few months, we collaborated on the worst, most clichéd historical romance ever written. Each night I brought her dozens of copied pages from research material. We talked and planned and plotted. We loved every minute of it. I still remember writing my opening sentence of my first novel. For reasons that defy explanation, I wrote in purple felt tipped pen on a small pad with rainbows in the corners. My mom never got to read those words, but somewhere she knows…
I become a Supreme Court Justice. Just kidding. After my mom's death, I did what everyone expected me to do, me included. I packed up all those bits and pieces of paper we'd collected, and all the outlines we'd written, and put them in a box in the back of my closet. I was, after all, a lawyer, not a writer. I no longer had time for those pie-in-the-sky daydreams. Next thing I knew, my life was measured in billable ten minute increments. I got married and started working and went on. I loved practicing law.
But it turns out that there was something I wanted more…
The good news is: You're pregnant. The bad news is: Go to bed and stay there. Sixteen weeks. Apparently that's how long I can be pregnant and walk. Thank God I didn't try to chew gum at the same time. Anyway, my doctors soon sent me to specialists who immediately sent me to bed. For the next five months, I lay in a hospital bed. Only a few images from that time stay with me. First, is All My Children. Erica Kane was also pregnant and bedridden. Unlike me, she sort of lounged around, wearing designer silk nightgowns and eating sumptuous meals off of silver trays, served by gorgeous men in tuxedos. Naturally, I changed the channel. Game shows came next. By the time I'd read every book in the house and started asking my husband for cereal boxes to read, I knew I was a goner. That's when my darling husband reminded me of the book I'd started with my mom.
I see my future. That was really the start of it. I pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off, and thought. I could do this. I bought a computer, spent a week learning how to turn the darn thing on and began. Quite simply, I fell in love with writing. By the time my son was born, I'd finished a first draft and found an obsession. I wrote in every spare minute (damn few of those with a newborn, but hey, it was better than the alternative-wiping up spit off every garment I owned).
I keep at it, through good times and bad. That's really the secret of writing and I was lucky enough to learn it early. The rejections came, of course, and they stung for a while, but each one really just spurred me to try harder, work more. In 1990, I got "the call," and in that moment, I went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and I've never looked back. In all the years between then and now, I have never lost my love of, or my enthusiasm for, telling stories. I am truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer.
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