I led a charmed life, an excellent thing for a writer in the making. Nine years younger than my only brother, I followed closely in his footsteps, all the while learning to observe while remaining invisible. A tomboy and a risk taker by nature, no dare went unchallenged.
I learned to read at the age of two. Had to, my father wouldn't read me Prince Valiant in the Sunday comics. My two favorite books are still Dr. Seuss's A Fly Went By and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Dr. Seuss was the first book I remember reading, and the Alcott introduced me to Jo March, and exclamation points. Both changed my life.
At the age of four, I left my heart in Miami. Promised myself I'd go to the University of Miami and kept my promise. During high school and much of college, I kept writing, journaling experiences as diverse as was jumping out of airplanes (perfectly good ones, I'm told) and diving from boats (also perfectly good – so they say).
A trip to the airport often resulted in boarding the first plane that announced last call, no matter the destination. I pulled beers in a pub in Britain's Lake District and cooked on a freighter in the Caribbean. The journals grew to contain color-coded sections for character studies of the people I met, details of the places I saw and vignettes of scenes, both real and imaginary.
My working life proved just as varied. A seasonal job selling fine china and glassware in the Washington, DC area soon morphed into a move to New York City and a job with a high-end Italian gold jewelry import company. The call of the tropics brought me back to Miami and a job working for one of Miami's most colorful characters as he and his Dallas Cowboy owning partner developed a national restaurant chain. A stint with the fledgling Miami City Ballet provided more grist for the journals. That led to years working with estate planning law firms and lessons learned in the front lines of litigation. I wrote five novels during this time honing voice and characterization, learning scene and setting. The books, some masterpieces of head hopping, live under my bed. I love them all.
A few years ago, I met someone very special. Someone able to help me funnel all that risk taking energy into more creative channels. Together we fly (these days I stay in the airplane, he's the pilot, I navigate), boat and dive. We also ski, snowmobile and generally enjoy a sporting life. I also took stock of my vast store of life experience, and began writing the stories of the people who have been living in my head since I first met Jo March. I've learned to ration the exclamation points. That, they tell me, is a good thing! ?