Not too strangely, based on my personal association with books and the part they have played in my life, I must tell you that my first job after high school was as a typist-clerk in Lansing, at our state library, now known as Library of Michigan. I went to work there after the time of the infamous fire in the Lewis Cass Building that originally housed the library. We were at that time, housed in a warehouse on Saginaw Street, kitty-corner across from Central Fire Station. At the time of my hire, employees were still working on saving all the books they could from the fire damage.
I suspect the library’s eventual name change was due, in part, because we were frequently confused with Michigan State College's library. Yeah, it was still called MSC, or by those superior-minded U of M fans, "Cow College." Frankly, I didn't view that disparaging nickname as insulting; I happened to be very fond of most things agricultural, loved cows and all the foods associated with them, and lived quite near the beautiful, sprawling MSC campus. I even owned a white wool blazer with the green Michigan State College patch on the pocket. Some of my work went to MSC but it was under someone else’s name; I later attended LCC but never MSC. I often cruised the shelves in State’s library on Saturdays, though; who could resist a college library after all?
This afternoon, I recalled a bit of my history from the time I worked at the state library. It involved the very nice gentleman who was in charge of Reader Services during my employment, known to me as simply Mr. Scannell. One day as he walked through the Order Section, he inquired whether anyone would be able to take care of his family’s cat while they went on an extended vacation. Being both book lover and animal lover, and having accommodating roommates, I volunteered, and thus became the cat-keeper while he traveled. The cat’s name was Quinten, and it was a very long-haired, good-sized kitty who was the perfect houseguest.
Last year, by pure serendipity, I discovered Mr. Scannell’s obituary and was very surprised to see how closely our paths had crossed for years after I left the state library to become a nurse. He attended university and lived in areas of New England where I, too, had lived later. Of course, his life was most likely much more complicated than mine, and his professional reputation was a testament to the sort of man that I thought he was.
I’m now writing a new novel set in Boston in that decade when I met Mr. Scannell. I’d like to think that he would have approved the paths I chose after leaving the library. I’ve smiled a lot while putting together this post, thinking too about Quinten, the cat that one of my roommates and I used to take for walks down our street, West Michigan Avenue, where what was once our apartment is now under the parking lot of the beautiful Library of Michigan and Historical Museum.
In today's mail came my current registration certificate for "Home to the Hill" from WGA-W; it's the second time I've registered this title but the book was edited, improved, and just a better read than when I first registered it some years ago. It's registered with the U. S. Copyright office, of course, but because it was originally registered with WGA-W, I didn't want 'anyone' to think it was no longer a registered work. Okay, I'll admit that I'm a little paranoid about creating an ownership trail for legal eagles because while I lived in New Hampshire, I 'lost' a box full of handwritten and typed (on a real typewriter) manuscripts and discovered purely by chance that at least two of them were in print under someone else's name, my books, word for word. It was an incredibly traumatic experience that so stunned me that I walked out of the bookstore without having the presence of mind to write down titles and 'authors' and publishers' information. It was ten years before I even told anyone else about it. There was no way I could prove they were my works because I never made any copies and didn't 'sign' my pages or in any other way secure ownership. My only consolation--if you can call it that--is that both books won literary awards. One was about a clutch of bunnies of varying colors and sizes and was intended for very young readers. The other was a first-hand narrative about a youngster's reaction to the family gathering held after 'his' grandfather's funeral. There was one 'funny' point about that story; it was autobiographical but when I wrote the story, I changed the gender from female (Grandma and me) to male (the boy and his grandfather.) Whomever stole the work altered only the genders and made it totally accurate for real life. I've learned to not dwell on this very often and continually remind myself that millions of people on this planet have experienced the loss of far more precious things than manuscripts. You have to wonder if the pirate ever had any twinge of conscience about being a total fraud...
Hello. I’m very pleased to have an opportunity to get acquainted a bit. I don’t know anything at all about you aside from you liking to read, an assumption based on you having arrived at an author’s site. That also means you’re curious. It may even mean you’re considering spending a little of your grocery money on a book. Ask me how I know that.
As a child, I began writing fiction to entertain myself, allowing my imagination to grow small ideas into a story. While raising a family, I wrote only in fits and starts, mostly short stories, since the demands of a home and of a career in nursing didn’t allow much focus on any creative pursuits not directly related to the home and family. The need to write was overridden by the need to get other things done both at home and away.
As a newly divorced mother after nearly two decades of marriage, I struggled to make ends meet after taking several pay cuts so I could have a schedule that better fit with my children’s needs, I began reading other people’s writing as a way of unwinding after a busy day. During those first difficult months, I spent about half of my grocery money on a Friday evening for a trade paperback, if that gives you some idea of the food budget that week. The childlren were not home with me that week, so not to worry that I'd take their food to get my book. Unfortunately, I did not scan the volume well enough before handing over the cash because I was in a yank to get home and be done with dealing with live people for the week.
I made it to--maybe--Chapter 2 and was so disgusted with the gratuitous sex and sleazy main characters that I just tossed (well, make that slammed) it into the wastebasket, wishing I'd bought more groceries instead. Still fuming two days later, I began writing again, this time in earnest; a little fiction here, a little poetry there, and then a whole basketful of ideas for books began to ferment in my world-weary brain.
I have enjoyed a varied and interesting life, filled with varied and interesting characters. Some were wonderful humans, a few were far along the other end of the spectrum, and every one of them left some sort of impression that I can now pull out of my memory bank to flesh out an imaginary character. If you’ve ever been unpleasantly surprised by a twisted, morbid ending to an otherwise okay--or even better than okay--book, be assured that will not happen if you chose to spend your time and money reading any of my offerings. I loathe cliffhangers, dark endings, and anything left untidy, anything that just leaves you wondering and disappointed. I read to be entertained and I write for others who also want to be entertained and left relaxed and satisfied at ‘The End.’
That is not to say that everything goes well, ends happily for everyone, or that there is no ‘sex’ or violence of any sort. Excuse me, but that is not how things work right now. Sexuality is part of being a human, but that is a very broad term and applies to everyone, even if it is only the explanation of how they came to be walking around. There is a huge difference between intimacy and sex; it is quite possible to have one without the other, but humans are designed in a way that they are happiest with a balanced mixture of both. So that’s okay with me and you’ll find that sort of mixture in the stories.
I like people to be happy. I enjoy making new friends, and I find the variety in cultures and ethnicities to be a source of interest. Did I mention that I’m an explorer at heart? Perhaps an archaeologist and for sure a geologist…Viking DNA don’t ya know. These characteristics and bits of history are a fairly good clue to the types of stories you’ll find between my covers.