My first brush with fame came the day I was born in Hollywood, California, and my basinet neighbor in the hospital nursery happened to be Michael Landon, Jr. When she should have been looking at me, my Aunt Karen instead gaped at the man beside her and nearly passed out when she found she was standing next to Michael Landon, Sr. at the nursery window. And so, my connection with the entertainment industry had begun.
Actually, I think it's encoded in my DNA. My grandmother was a ballet dancer (from Wisconsin), my grandfather was a concert violinist (from Hungary), and they both were very close friends of Bela Lugosi (the man famous for playing Dracula). For the first 10 years of my life, my family lived above the Utter McKinley Mortuary on the corner of Hollywood and Argyle, kitty-corner from the Pantages Theatre, and one block away from famous Hollywood and Vine (sadly, the location is now a parking lot). Is it any wonder I'm fascinated with the arts?
I've always loved books and writing came as a natural extension of that. In school, whenever there was a writing assignment, I was the kid that wrote way more than was necessary. In high school, my best friend and I would write short stories for fun and trade them with each other. In fact, I wrote my first complete book in high school. Titled “Like Roses” it was a story about an overweight girl who lost a ton during the summer and came back to her senior year to find that her new figure brought her love, happiness… and a little danger. It was exactly how I wished my life could be (minus the danger) but it was also quite melodramatic. It is now buried at the bottom of a desk drawer, a testament to the optimism of youth… and the fact that you've got to write a lot of not-so-great stuff as part of the learning process.
I wrote my second novel, a circus romance, in college. This one was good enough, I thought, to publish. I sent it to Harlequin, where it was rejected, but I did get a full-page, personal rejection letter (which I still have) telling me what the editor liked and where I needed work. Rather than be encouraged by the personal attention, I stopped writing books for awhile, and followed life down a few unexpected paths.
As I look back on my life, it's interesting to see where God's taken me, and where I took myself that God pulled me out of. I finally got back to writing, the dream of my heart. Since 1996, I've published numerous short stories, devotions and plays. I've also been active in church drama ministries, another passion of mine. My first novel, The Love of His Brother (November 2007, Five Star Publishers), was followed by The Pastor's Wife (February 2010, Abingdon Press). Two more books are scheduled from Abingdon, The Mother Road (April 2012) and A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (November 2012), book two in the new Quilts of Love series.
Besides being a writer, I am a wife and mom. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, my family has learned how to enjoy the fabulous buffets here without severely impacting our waistlines. God is good!