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Ann Major

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Marriage at the Cowboy's Demand
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Laura Lee Guhrke
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Many people think writers know from birth that they were meant to be writers. Not so. I had been a voracious reader since the age of three (God bless Dr. Suess) and I wrote my first story at the age of six, but writing for a living seemed, well, too ordinary. I wanted an exotic life. You see, the first decade of my life was the 60's, I lived on top of a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains next to a hippie commune, I had intellectual parents, and I wanted to do something important. Something groovy. I decided to become a biologist and go to the Galapagos Islands to study iguanas. Why the Galapagos? Why iguanas? I haven't a clue. I was only seven when that brilliant career idea came to me.

Then my parents decided to get away from big city life, and I found myself in Kuna, Idaho (population at the time: 634). It was while at Kuna High School that I discovered biology as a career was not for me. We had to dissect frogs, and the minute I had to pull apart a frog's insides with those tweezer things, I threw up into the nearest waste basket and knew I had to find a new career goal.

After rebelling against small town life in the only way I could by creating and publishing an underground high school newspaper, I went off to college, thinking I might make this writing thing work somehow and become a journalist. That sounded great, until I discovered I was a capitalist at heart. What I really wanted was to make money. Writers and journalists, I thought, don't make money. They also face rejection all the time — why would anyone set herself up for that? I changed my major and graduated from college with a business degree and a vague ambition to become rich.

But something happens to you when you turn 30, and la vida loca just doesn't seem as fun anymore. I wanted to buy a house, and even with two jobs, a house in a decent LA neighborhood wasn't affordable. So, I packed my bags and moved back home to Idaho. My dad, who owns a building and development company, built my first house. I got a new advertising job, and I knew that now I was supposed to find a husband.

I didn't get around to the husband part, mainly because of this insane idea that I should be in charge of the remote, but also because I hadn't quite found myself yet. I kept yearning to find a satisfying career that didn't require me to work for somebody else. That's when writing books became my new life ambition. I knew most writers didn't make much money, but I reasoned that it would all work out somehow, and I would be like Jude Devereaux or Judith McNaught. You see, I had always been a sucker for a good love story, and romance was what I loved to read, so writing romance seemed like a great career move. How fun it would be to have a job like that. And you know what? It is.

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