Daphne Award Winning Author!! I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to an Irish woman who believed in fairies and angels and God and the inherent goodness of man. When I was small, she wrote a fairy tale named Nogard (the inverse of Dragon). She read it chapter-by-chapter to each of her three children when we were old enough to understand it. Of all the books she read me, I remember that one, its characters, its story as clearly as if it were yesterday.
Like my mother, I was and am an avid reader. I read “The Bobbsey Twins”, “Nancy Drew”, “Cherry Ames, Nurse”, all the stuff a young reader should have until I obtained my own library card. Then, I discovered Frank Yerby’s “The Foxes of Harrow”, and decided I’d had enough of sweet young women who did all the right things. In my teen years, I was directed toward John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, but not William Faulkner, whose prose is so dense I still can’t enjoy his writing. When I discovered “Peyton Place” on my own, my mother stopped worrying about what I was reading.
I tried my hand at writing in junior high school, sickeningly sweet, melodramatic fluff. It’s a testament to the poor quality of young writing that I was chosen as a finalist in a contest. Being a finalist gained me an afternoon at Belmont College with my teacher, a cup of tea, a few cookies, and encouraging words from those who’d read my little offering. I did not win the contest.
I became a wife and then a mother and had no time to breathe, let alone write. My marriage fell apart, leaving me to raise my children alone with even less time, but in my spare moments, I jotted down a story line here and a snippet there. I escaped my life in books and dreamed of better days.
When my children were nearly grown, I met another man, as different from my children’s father as could possibly be. Not only was he brilliant, he was attempting to make his living writing classical music. I had heard classical, liked it well enough, really preferred Opera and rock and roll, but in the presence of this musician who lived, breathed and ate classical, I learned to appreciate its depth, the way it twisted themes through labyrinths and then brought them back in the end to triumph and save the day. The way I wanted my themes to do.
He wondered why I’d never written a novel.
I’d never written a novel because I’d never had time to write a novel and besides who would publish my novel? As our relationship deepened and he continued to write music most people didn’t understand and sell it, earn awards and be featured in such places as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the National Cathedral, a spark ignited within me. If he could be this successful in classical music, maybe I could write a novel.