My one regret in life? I wish I'd started writing sooner.
Talk about misspent youth. What did I do during those lazy
summer days of childhood when I could've been honing my
writing skills? Nothing. Okay, so I spent a lot of time
dreaming I was a cowgirl with a trusty black stallion. Oh,
and I read every Walter Farley horse novel. I was an only
child so I relied on my imagination to supply the
excitement in my life.
By high school, I'd decided to trade in my lariat for a
trench coat. I was into dark and dangerous. As an intrepid
foreign correspondent, I'd stalk the mean streets of the
world. Did I actually write anything? No, but I did read
all of Agatha Christie's mysteries.
I worked at a department store during college. My short
stint in the accounting department taught me a lot about
math. Three hundred-dollar shortages plus hysterical tears
equaled instant move to gift-wrap. A career in math was not
in my future. I didn't care because I'd discovered "real"
literature. I plowed through James Joyce's Ulysses
and Tolstoy's War and Peace. If it didn't make my
eyes cross then it wasn't worth reading. Yes, I admit it, I
was a literary snob.
But there's just so much "real" literature one person can
take. I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in
English Literature and a determination to avoid books that
induced eye crossing or had tragic endings. The only things
I managed to write during those years were research papers.
I taught second grade for several years then spent two
years in Dublin, Ireland. A friend and I supported
ourselves by singing folk songs in Irish pubs. We weren't
great, but we were young, enthusiastic, and wore short
skirts. It was obviously my destiny to be the next Judy
Collins. I spent a lot of time pouring through music books.
Returning to New Jersey and reality, I taught elementary
school until I grew restless again. My cross-country
odyssey included stays in Arizona, California, and Texas.
Along the way, I indulged my love of horses. No black
stallions, but I did have several beautiful Arabian mares.
I read tons of books on breeding and showing.
Somewhere between California and Texas I grew addicted to
romance novels and cats. The cat's independent attitude was
exactly the quality I admired in my romance heroes. And
once I decided to try writing my own romances, I made sure
a cat crept into each story.
Texas is my permanent home. I've come full circle. Born in
San Antonio, I spent most of my life in New Jersey. Maybe
the Texas in my blood accounts for my attachment to strong
men, fast horses, and wide-open spaces.