First time I meet someone in person, they almost always say, "How does such a nice girl like you write such dark books?"
The answer: Beats me. I was raised in suburbia by two accountants. Normal childhood, normal house, normal family. Maybe this is simply what so much normalcy does to a kid.
I've always loved to read and I've always loved to write. At eighteen I got the bright idea to write a romance novel. I needed something to do during the day before I went to my summer job as a waitress. God knows waitressing wasn't going well. We had this appetizer called flaming saganaki—basically flaming cheese. You're supposed to serve the sizzling cheese with grand flourish, dousing it in brandy, then tossing a match. Mostly I caught my hair on fire. Then there was the time I flipped the flaming appetizer onto the floor and had to beat it out with a serving tray. Let's just say my days in food service were numbered, so it was a good thing I was working on a novel.
A funny thing happened my junior year of college. The novel—rewritten several times now—actually sold to Silhouette Intimate Moments. They gave the book the title, WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT, and me the name Alicia Scott. It was pretty exciting. Then I got the check in the mail. Three thousand dollars. Not much for three years of work. I bought a computer for my new nom de plume, then went out to get a real job.
I became a management consultant. And frankly, that was the best decision for my writing career I ever made.
I absolutely loathed being a consultant. Morning commutes, claustrophobic cubicles, unsympathetic bosses, and worst of all, pantyhose. The only good things were my coworkers and a fresh appreciation of Dilbert cartoons. Basically, I worked as a consultant for twelve hours each day, then wrote romance novels during the odd hours of the night. I ended up producing thirteen romance novels, earning one TV-movie—AT THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (CBS 1995)—and becoming one very tired girl. I needed a change. So I wrote a suspense novel. One where I could kill lots of people, some of whom may or may not bear the same name as various vice presidents who made me work all weekend.
The end result was THE PERFECT HUSBAND. One psychopathic ex-husband, a good half a dozen murders. Bantam scooped up the manuscript, launched it in a huge way, and next thing I knew, I was throwing out all my pantyhose and discovering the delights of daytime TV.
I have to say, being a self-supporting writer is one of the best gigs around. Now, when I have business trips, instead of visiting Manufacturing City, USA, I go to fascinating places like the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I also haven't caught anyone on fire with flaming cheese in a very long time.
These days I live in New Hampshire with my wonderful husband who loves auto-racing and black-diamond skiing. I work out of the loft with two barky shelties guarding my feet, and one hostile, three-legged cat banging her head against my leg. Our little girl now frequents the office copying her mom "working". Sometimes it takes days to find what she typed into the manuscripts.
Life is never quiet. No one around here gets much sleep, but we're all having fun
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