Where it all comes from

    My love of reading books came from my parents, especially my mother. My parents’ house is filled with bookshelves crammed with books, some two layers deep, some stacked on top of each other. Mom is never without a book. She joked she got a job volunteering at the library so she’d have a chance to check out the new releases before anyone else. When I was growing up she and Dad worked in the same place. Dad did the driving to and from work and Mom either worked on her needlepoint or read. Now she checks out books on tape so she can listen to books while she sews. My parents let me have an unrestricted library card as soon as I was old enough to have a library card which allowed me to check out books from both the children’s and the adult sections. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and Edgar Allan Poe right alongside Lucy Maud Montgomery, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Lewis Carroll. My parents never told me no in a bookstore and a box filled with the latest Nancy Drews always appeared under the Christmas tree.
     I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember, at least since the first or second grade. I’m an introvert and I’ve always found expressing myself in writing easier than expressing myself orally. One of my earliest elementary school class projects was bookmaking—writing and illustrating the story, making the covers, assembling the books. When we finished our books the school librarian added them to the library shelves. I won my first (and, so far, only) writing prize in the sixth grade for a (rather dreadful when I re-read it as an adult) poetic saga about a superhero named XY. I still have the prize—a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. In high school I was on the staff of the yearbook and the literary magazine (lots of bad poems about talking cows). As an undergraduate at Vassar College I enrolled in every creative writing class I could find. I even passed up spending junior year abroad so I could take playwriting and screenwriting with Professor James Steerman. I also had the good luck and the pleasure to study children’s literature with Newberry Medal winner, Nancy Willard. Writing took a backseat to medicine while I finished medical school and my family medicine residency (although some of my patient histories did take on a storyteller-like flare as I wrote my chart notes). Once I started working as a full-fledged physician I enrolled in writing classes and workshops whenever I could. Creative writing helped refill my spiritual and mental wells as I dealt with illness, trauma, and drama day in and day out. Eventually, work led to Dallas, Texas where I found SMU’s creative writing program, The Writer’s Path. That program led to a finished manuscript which led me to where I am now, a debut author with a published mystery, Murder in G Major.

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