I was born, raised, and still live in Largo, Florida. Not Key Largo, but Largo in the Tampa Bay area. I grew up running dirt roads, climbing trees, and collecting bottles to get the deposit money. Skipping through the sprinklers in my nautical one-piece was a highlight during summer breaks. Tra la. I also liked to walk on the railroad tracks on my way to Largo Central Elementary School. We still have the train chug through here about once a day but most of the streets are blacktop or brick now. And, that stupid little dog that used to chase me when I cut cross the alley is now in doggy purgatory.
You didn’t expect a cosmopolitan gal like me to have such backwater roots, did ya? You thought I hung out in libraries, art galleries, and opera houses to reap fodder for another manuscript, right? But, of course I do. I just have to climb into my ’87 Oldsmobile and put-put over the bridge to Tampa to get there. I saw Andy Roddick while driving through one day – that’s how sophisticated I am. He grimaced when I waved hi. Man, it’s great to be a famous author.
I started writing when I was a kid... silly, silly stuff. I wrote my first manuscript after my children were born... silly, silly stuff – and rejected. I was devastated, so much so that I stopped writing for seven years. Then, when I was 40 years old, I thought: Now! The children are practically grown (11 is practically grown, right?) and I wrote For the Love of Murphy while sitting at the breakfast counter at 4:00 a.m. It was rejected too but this time I was mature and could appreciate the criticism. Sure. I kept writing. A Horse Called Hustle, Ring Around His Heart, Courting Roxanne, For the Love of Lauralee all rejected. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that the stupid little dog will bite you if you don’t keep running. You have to make it to the school crossing guard who keeps a can of mace on his belt. And then viola! Published. At last.