The Long, Long Journey
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time exploring my grandparents’ house. (A huge, strange, monstrosity built in 1875 with material salvaged from a defunct Dutch Reformed church.) Its many rooms, nooks and crannies fired my imagination. I found old books and papers and junk whose owners had long since passed on. And I wondered who these people had been and what had their lives been like?
Along with poking into corners, I also loved to read and often carried a basket of books with me as I explored the dark and dusty rooms. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. I was my divorced parents only child together and my mother and I lived with her parents. I lived in a world of busy adults and books were my escape. They were my path to other worlds and adventures beyond my rural upstate New York hometown. (There were more cows living there than people, I’m pretty sure.)
My childhood inspired in me a desire to write about small towns, the people who choose to live there, and, sometimes, the mysterious homes that shelter them. Writing grew as a natural extension of being a voracious reader. I read such powerful stories, I wanted to write them too! The first story I remember writing was about a boy who got a puppy for his birthday. I was five years old, sitting at my babysitter’s kitchen table. I still recall some of the illustrations I drew to accompany the story. It’s been a long, long time since I was five years old, and I think my writing has improved dramatically, although I can’t say the same for my drawing.
Over the years, I’ve written stories in nearly every genre. But in recent years, I’ve concentrated on mysteries. I’m a sucker for a puzzle that involves people, secrets, and the past (and sometimes dusty old houses). Anyway, I’ve written, and I’ve written, and I’ve written, but life always kept me too busy to actually pursue a career as a writer. I spent most of my professional life as a high school English teacher, which I’ve loved, but the time came when I thought, if I don’t pursue a writing career now, then when? My children are grown. And, although I knew I would miss my students, it was time for a change. I decided to look for a literary agent and to see what might happen.
Two years of querying agents and writing and rewriting brought me many near misses, but no offers of representation. But after writing for my whole life, I was pretty much undaunted. And persistence paid off. I finally found an amazing agent who loved my stories and believed in me, Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency. And she found the perfect fit with a wonderful editor and publisher, so here we are.
I hope you will stay with me on this journey. I hope you find my book (and the ones to follow) exciting, engaging and heartfelt. And I hope to hear from you along the way!
I think this is a fabulous post–so interesting. I love your new website!
That’s so encouraging, Terri! I’m at a similar stage of life and recently completed my debut novel (set in a North Georgia small town, of all places!) your book cover and title caught my eye – hope it’s a big success for you.
Thank you so much! And congratulations on your novel as well. Please let me know the details. I’d love to read it!