I grew up in Darien, a suburban town on the Connecticut coast. When I was young I was always writing short stories and poems, and my teachers encouraged me to write – especially my ninth grade English teacher, who was one of two people to whom I dedicated my second novel. By the time I started college, I decided I’d better take up a practical career, as I didn’t think I could ever make a living writing fiction or poetry. I decided to major in journalism because at least that way I’d still be writing, although doing a very different kind of writing. I spent a couple of years after college working for a small trade magazine in Connecticut (fortunately, an interesting one that covered the field of magazine publishing), and then ended up going back to school to get a law degree. I worked for a law firm and then spent fifteen years working in the legal department of a large corporation in Westchester County, New York.
It was during that time that I realized I had to start writing fiction again. I kept imagining scenes and thinking of dialog and I figured I’d either have to write or I would drive myself crazy not doing it. I enrolled in an evening fiction writing class at Fairfield University in Connecticut. And that was it. I was totally hooked again. I wrote “on the side,” whenever I could – late at night, on weekends, traveling, any time I could squeeze it in.
Over the next few years, several of my short stories were published in journals and literary magazines. Then my husband, also an attorney, was transferred to South Florida and we moved there. After that, I had our daughter, Morgan, and I put the writing away for several years, during which time we opened our own law firm. But, once again, I came back to writing fiction and began to work on more short stories. Jamie Callan, the author who had taught the fiction writing class I took at Fairfield University, had become a good friend and mentor, and she kept telling me I needed to write a novel. I didn’t believe I could take a character or an idea and spin it out for a few hundred pages. I think the longest story I’d written had been about thirty pages.
But one morning I heard something on the radio that changed all that. A woman was talking about how her grandmother had died, and how right before she died she said, “Erase my hard drive!” I don’t know what was on her hard drive or what the granddaughter ended up doing about it because I think I must have turned the radio off. I was fascinated with the idea of the grandmother and what secret she wanted to hide. Was she involved in organized crime? Did she have another family somewhere? Was she a spy?
I kept turning this over in my mind and I eventually came up with my own version – a grandmother whose dying request was to have her granddaughter deliver a letter. The letter was to a man in Maine, a man the grandmother had been in love with when she was young. I began to write the story and when I got to page 75 I knew I was writing a novel. It turned out to be the The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, which was also adapted as a film called The Irresistible Blueberry Farm for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. After Blueberry Café, I went on to write The Rules of Love & Grammar and I’m currently working on another novel.
This is my third career and the one I’m keeping. I’m very fortunate to be able to do what I’m passionate about. It took me a while to get here, but I’m here!