The bestselling author of 11 novels, 3 books of non-fiction and an entire storage shed filled with forty years of newspaper and magazine clippings, some really terrible poetry, and three book manuscripts I should just go burn right now.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and left home for Montana about twenty seconds later. Somehow the next forty years became a whirl of life experiences that I bundled up and now use on a daily basis as a full-time author.
I also traveled around the world and as a journalist covered just about every conceivable story - murders, court trials, natural disasters, baton twirling competitions, state fairs, political stuff and more murders. During my lively, often humorous, always exciting, and totally demanding career as a journalist I was also stalked, shot at, assaulted and threatened with everything from a rock to a shotgun. I hung out the side of helicopters, went to Bosnia during the war, flew an airplane, rappelled down a mountain cliff, almost drowned in the Colorado River and drank a lot of beer.
And here I am-working on novel number 12 and winding back to where I started with a non-fiction book. I am filled with words and ideas and never plan to stop.
It's important to have a mother and father who just smile and listen when you verbalize your dreams. Apparently they believed me.
They believed me when I left home at fifteen to work my rear end off as a mother's helper near Chicago. They believed me when I said I had to go to college and would figure out how to do it myself because they could not help me. They believed me when I told them I was going to become a journalist. I am lucky to have had amazing parents.
Nancy Drew inspired me just like she inspired thousands of other would-be girl writers and adventurers and I still keep The Secret of Shadow Ranch, right next to my computer.
My first real job was working on a tomato farm-picking, packing, and sweating for a buck an hour. My mom would hose me off, honest, when I got home each day and listen while I talked about how I was going to move out to the mountains some day, write books, and ride horses into the sunset.
And then all this: Professional Girl Scout. Bartender. Window Washer. Worm Harvester. Lifeguard. Caretaker. Camp Counselor. Waitress. Freelance Writer. Newspaper Columnist. Fulltime reporter. Assistant Bureau Chief. Bureau Chief. Professional Volunteer. Magazine Writer. University Teacher. University Newspaper Advisor. University Lecturer. Managing Editor. Nationally Syndicated Columnist. Author. Full-time Author. Wine Lounge Owner.
I also got married. I had two babies. Then I got divorced. I moved to California, Utah, Arizona, back to Wisconsin, back to California, married again, and now I live in Florida. Whew!
I am thinking about it. I also try very hard to work out five or six days a week because I refuse to give up my wine. I also swim, ride my bike, golf, pine over the motorcycle I had to sell, am a pretty avid bird-watcher, hike, kayak, sketch little do-dads that resemble absolutely nothing, read everything I can get my hands on, fish a little bit with not much luck, and seriously believe that all the characters in my book are real. And recently took up fly fishing!!!
My first published book was a true crime tale. Then I wrote a book about the psychology of birth order. Then the wind shifted, the sky turned a lovely shade of dark blue, six dogs barked and it was simply time for me to become a full-time novelist.