There were several formative experiences from my childhood that made me into the writer I am today. For a time we lived on the grounds of the VA Hospital where my father worked. It was a unique environment similar to growing up on a military base. We wandered the halls of the hospital and interacted with the domiciliary patients (They were the men who suffered from Battle fatigue, now called PTSD, who were warehoused there because they had no effective treatment.) We swam at the hospital pool in the late afternoon after the patients were done with their physical therapy. We played tennis and climbed the apple trees and rode our bicycles around the campus. It was the era before air conditioning became common, so every evening in the summer our parents would gather outside to talk and the kids would play together. Almost all of our fathers had served in WWII or Korea or both. My father had been a doctor at a MASH unit in Korea. A close friend was the daughter of a man who had been in a Japanese POW camp. The father of another friend lost an arm in Italy. It was an education in the cost of war.
When I was ten, my father handed me a book that changed my life. It was Starship Troopers by Heinlein. It was the first science fiction I ever read and I was hooked. And the politics underlying the book fascinated me so much, that years later when I went to college, I majored in Political Science. My brother, that same year handed me a book called the Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of the Lord of the Rings. I gobbled that up, too. And eagerly awaited his visits home from college, so that he could bring me the other volumes. The next year Star Trek debuted and my brother introduced us to that as well. I’ve been reading and watching science fiction and fantasy ever since.
As a child, I was too smart for a girl and got ostracized and bullied at school. I got no support at home either because my father was emotionally and then sexually abusive. It took decades before I was able to say that out loud.
I was also a horse girl. I asked for a horse for Christmas every year from age 2 until 32 when I decided I would have to buy one myself. I owned three horse in the 18 years I had a horse and trained them in dressage. I also acquired several broken bones from the middle horse, the Hanoverian from Hell.
I never married or had children (unless you count my dogs). But I lived in sin with a man for 26 years until his death in 2008.
Most of my jobs were analytical in nature. I was a sewer planner, a manpower specialist, a management analyst, a technical writer/editor, a systems administrator, a computer instructor, and a data base developer and data analyst. But I was always wildly creative as well, designing and making quilts, painting, creating fractal art, taking abstract photographs.
As an adult, I have spent years learning to live with depression and anxiety. I speak openly about that because hiding it makes it shameful, and it is not.
In 2003, I wrote a fan fic for a little known show called Firefly. I thought it had the beginning of an idea for a novel. I knew I couldn't publish in that universe, so I took my idea to my own universe and developed my own characters. But life and work got in the way. In 2018 when I retired, I was still stuck at 8 chapters. I decided that I would make it a retirement project to finish the novel. I published that novel on Amazon in September 2020.
Along the way I got hooked on writing and started taking writing classes (and volunteering) at the Muse Writer’s Center in Norfolk Virginia. I wrote the first draft of two other novels and the workshop feedback made all of my work get better. I have more novels in progress as I start to polish the fantasy novels and get them ready for publication.
My work has themes about aftermath because so much of my life has revolved around dealing with the aftermath of abuse, bullying, death, rape, sexual assault and harassment. That doesn't mean everything I write is dark, there are beautiful moments of love, humor, and joy in aftermaths.
My characters are diverse because I didn't read a character who I thought of as representing me until I was in my mid-thirties. Representation is important. I also make sure that older women and men are represented because I am an older woman and I am tired of only teenagers saving the world. The heroes in my first two novels are mostly middle-aged. The hero of my third novel is a 66-year-old woman. The heroes of my fourth novel are an 11-year-old girl and a middle-aged, blind woman (who kicks ass at unarmed combat, BTW). Other characters in these books include a disabled alien, a dragon with epilepsy, a couple of married tran people who have four children, a gay healer.
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