When in doubt and you live with teenagers, blame it on the kids!
I remember being a ten year old hunting and pecking at an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter, banging out my first short story anthology. I still have those pages, in a box on the shelves beside me, a reminder of how far I’ve come. As creative as I was back then—I did write science fiction after all—I would have never envisioned my desk today with laptop computer, cell phone and multiple large cats who take turns on desk duty. Yet here I am.
I suppose this is really my kids’ fault.
College and graduate school took their toll on my writing. Years of university teaching after that did not help. My writing was limited to curriculum and academic endeavors. But my kids kept the storyteller in me alive.
They loved the stories I told them and the stories we would create together. One of their favorites came about on a morning drive to school. We noticed how the rear lights on the car in front of us made a distinctly frog-life face. This of course inspired the woe-filled tale of the hapless frog who had been turned into a convertible by an evil wizard. We illustrated that story and bound it professionally. I suppose that was my first publication.
Several years later an incident of school bullying set us off on a new adventure, martial arts. I always considered myself a klutz and something like tae kwon do was totally outside my realm of possibility. But they dragged me into it with them, kicking and screaming at times—and I have two black belts on my wall to show for it.
The experience made me realize if I could do that, then it was time to pick some other impossible dreams and pursue them as well. Just four years later I released my debut book, Darcy’s Decision.
Not surprisingly, my favorite Austen adaptations to write (and read) are ‘what if’ stories that consider what would happen to our favorite characters has some significant life detail been different.