Like most writers, my love of books and storytelling began with being an avid reader. I grew up on Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. I always loved gothic romances, I still do. I graduated to Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss in my teens, and loved those books, rereading them many, many times. When I met Kathleen Woodiwiss at a writer's conference several years ago, I was so overcome with emotion, I cried. She was my idol, the only person outside of my family that had a profound impact on my life.
I've always admired writers, but the thought of becoming one was as far fetched as thinking of being a famous actress--sure, who would want to do that, but no way it was really going to happen. And yet, I've always been a writer.
I remember writing for my own pleasure as far back as seventh grade, when my friends and I wrote ongoing romances featuring us and our favorite television characters (Star Trek was a favorite). Writing continued to be an important hobby, something I thought of as my "dirty little secret" as I never let anyone know that I had all these stories going on in my head. I was certain they'd think I was crazy!
I even remember my high school psychology teacher saying that daydreaming was an aberrant coping mechanism. I knew I was in trouble. And of course, I was going to keep this to myself.
(I got the last laugh on her, however. Not only did I put those daydreams to good use in my writing career, I became a psychologist. I received my undergraduate degree in psychology in 1982, then my masters and Ph.D. in 1987. I began a career as a psychotherapist, and still have an office where I see clients two days a week. And now that I know more than that teacher did, I can say with authority that excessive daydreaming is not an aberrant coping mechanism. It's just the way some people are built. And it makes for the basis for a fulfilling and enjoyable career in fiction writing.)
Through the years, I wrote occasionally, scratching a phantom itch to create a story, populate it with characters, act out the ideas that were always buzzing around my head. I began writing seriously after the birth of my second child. This is how I decided to write a novel: I had started my practice, was living in a lovely home in a town I liked and had two great kids. I had a great husband and an active life. Yet I had some undefined restlessness in me. Not knowing what it was at the time, I puzzled about this pervasive dissatisfaction with my life. The busier I was with my wonderful family and the career I'd worked so hard for, the stronger the feeling became. I began to search for what it was I was missing. Then I remembered all the writing I had done through the years--that "dirty little secret"--and thought perhaps I would feel better if I began to take writing seriously.
That hit the nail on the head. I began to write a novel, and I that feeling of being vaguely unfulfilled blossomed into excitement. I was thirty years old when I began that first book. It took me several years to write, and it went through countless revision. I sold that book in 1998 to Harlequin Historicals after many rejections and a long road of multiple revisions. But there it was, my book in print, with my name on it, and there was no turning back.
The first book was followed by five other historical romance novels and a novella in a Medieval Christmas anthology for Harlequin, which was a wonderful home for me. I moved on to Berkley in the hopes of gaining a wider audience and am getting ready to release my fifth book with them, and my first novella, in May.
I live in Maryland still with my husband and three children and a houseful of very entertaining pets. I still practice psychotherapy two days a week in my own office and am determined to continue my writing. I still have all these stories in my head, you see...