I grew up in a family that valued both reading and writing. My father was a newspaper editor in rural Minnesota. To this day I can smell the ink and hear the rhythm of the press as it printed out the Wheaton Gazette. While my father ran the paper, my mother wrote a weekly column called “Over a Cup of Coffee.”
My first major attempt to write a novel began at age ten. I’d just finished a book that was the autobiography of a doll. I decided to write the autobiography of a puppy. To this day I remember the opening line: “I take pen in paw (with a little difficulty) to write my memoirs.” The rest is lost to history.
While I always wanted to write a novel, life took its own turn. After graduating from high school in Caracas Venezuela (a story for another time) I met Jerome, my brother’s college roommate. He was tall and gangly and wore wire rimmed glasses. It was the summer of love and I eventually became a teenaged bride. We recently celebrated our fifty-first anniversary. Through the years, he’s been an insightful editor and supporter. Plus, as a technical editor and writer, he knows where the commas go.
I went into nursing hoping to be of service to mankind. I found my passion working in hospice. For nearly thirty years I worked to promote improvements in end-of-life care. I used my ability to put a sentence together to write several books on end-of-life care including the award winning “To Comfort Always: A Nurse’s Guide to End of Life Care.”
Even with two children and fulltime work, I claimed time to write fiction, humor, short stories and yes, a novel or two. When we lived on ten acres of woods in central Minnesota, I wrote a series of short humor piece published in the Minneapolis StarTribune Sunday Magazine. The one entitled “Funeral Jell-O” won an award for humor writing. I have a certificate (somewhere) to prove it. I remember my daughter at age twelve coming home from school and glaring at me as I sat at my first computer (an Epson QX-10). “Mom are you writing again? Can’t you do something else?”
Well, the children are grown and have children of their own. We have moved from windchill of Minnesota winters to the rain of Tacoma, Washington winters. The Epson is gone along with several other computers. I have retired from writing about end-of-life care and moved on to writing about murder (there’s got to be a connection somewhere.)
“Death of an Editor” is the first in A Cabin by the Lake series. Each book will give you a sense of the beauty and mystique of Northern Minnesota along with the realities of life in an isolated rural place.
As my mother wrote, “If you are sitting around with nothing to view—read on!”