I was so excited about my first award for writing that I decided right then and there to pursue it full-time. I was six. To bring you up to date, multiply six by ten. That’s where I am now (more or less). And I’m still writing. I used to call myself a journalist and editor. But because I’m picky when it comes to words, I switched to describing myself as a writer. Then I traded that for author.
My journey pursuing the right words has been both straight-forward and circuitous. I’ve written nothing but the facts, and I’ve created worlds out of pure imagination. Either way I loved telling the story. Stories are connectors. They bridge our experiences and help us understand each other better. My story began in the bootheel of Missouri, but quickly moved to a little corner of western Kentucky called Paducah. You may have heard of it—it’s a UNESCO Creative City and is the home of lots of famous people like nationally renowned quilters and artists, professional baseball and football players, authors, singers, and a vice president.
I didn’t plan on coming back to Paducah after I graduated from Texas A&M University, but I did. And I’m glad. My husband is an engineer and while he operates out of the left-side of his brain, I doggedly remain on the right side. His facts and my feelings are a nice balance actually—together we manage to have a complete brain. Our over-forty-year marriage resulted in two married sons and six grandchildren. With our kids living miles away, we had to adopt a kooky little dog to keep us entertained.
Since that very first recognition of my writing when I was six, I’ve managed to earn more awards for my profession, which has been rewarding. But not necessary. I would have written anyway. I wrote for magazines, newspapers, businesses, churches, the City of Paducah, and myself. Sentences and paragraphs, periods, and commas (and exclamation marks! I love a good exclamation mark!) have tumbled out of me for years.
Even when a particularly stressful time threatened to shut down my words, they wouldn’t go away. I incorporated them into art—two- and three-dimensional collages and a line of prints, cards, and a gift book that I sold nationwide. These collages and whimsical watercolor and ink illustrations kept me tied to words. Although I’m not in the art business anymore I still paint, and I think the time I spend painting nourishes me as a writer. When I’m stuck on a piece of plot, the simple act of spreading creamy colors across a canvas unsnags my thinking.
While I’ve enjoyed every part of my writing journey, like the way you enjoy every stage of rearing your children for different reasons, I’m most satisfied with where I am now. I feel like I’ve found my true home in fiction. With the help of many writers’ conferences led by brilliant fiction-writers, a stint at the Collegeville Institute writers retreat, and another week at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, I learned the craft of birthing stories from nothing but an idea.
I’m proud to be a part of the Regal House family and can’t wait for my first novel, Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace to be released in the summer of 2023.