I grew up in the Air Force. No, no, I didnít wear little fatigues or salute my parents (although I have a snapshot of me attempting to do push-ups beside my pilot dad at age four), but as anyone in a career military household knows, itís not just a job, itís a life that includes the entire family and one that can provide some unique experiences. At a year old, I thought any man in an Air Force uniform was my daddy. At nine I received a government-issue set of dog tags, and at ten I rode an elephant in Bangkok and later watched an earthquake ripple like ocean waves across our front yard in the Philippines.
Unlike a lot of authors, I didnít grow up wanting to be a writer. I didnít even want to be a pilot like my dad. I wanted to be an astronaut. I spent hours alone in my room either reading, watching Star Trek, or imagining other worlds filled with magic, strange creatures and dashing space pirates. The dream followed me to college where I studied engineering with plans to head for NASA when I graduated. But at nineteen I woke up to the reality of the modern space program and the stars finally fell from my eyes. The Space Shuttle was never going to take me where my imagination wanted to go.
Instead, I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Industrial Engineering and went to work for a major computer manufacturer. I still devoured books (almost exclusively romances) and even tried writing one, but after the first exciting chapter I had no idea what to do with my characters. I thought I couldnít write. In hindsight, I simply had no idea how to plot.
I set aside the dream of writing for a few years while I had babies, though I continued to create stories in my head. Then one night as I did the dinner dishes, one of those daydreams became too big to keep in my head. I had to write it down. This time, however, thanks to the recent opening of a brand new library down the street, I discovered a wealth of books on plotting and character development and realized I could learn how to turn scenes into books and craft entire stories. The process was neither fast nor easy, encompassing four manuscripts, half a dozen partials, and eleven years of hard work before I sold my first book. Fortunately, I had a lot of encouragement along the way. With my very first book I finaled for Romance Writers of Americaís most prestigious award for unpublished writers, the Golden Heart. Each of my subsequent books also became a Golden Heart finalist, the third winning the award outright. The fourth, through the Golden Heart, sold.
Now I spend my days in those fascinating worlds filled with magic, excitement and dashing heroes, and my evenings with my real-life hero and two wonderful kids.
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