I’m excited about the release of my fifth book, Sailing with Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific. As we had done when in Africa with the Peace Corps, we asked our families to save our letters home, which helped immensely to bring back rich memories of this 13,000-mile journey.
After returning home from the South Pacific, I wrote numerous magazine articles about long-distance sailing. After a few rejections, three different magazines published my work in the same month. That success gave me the self-confidence to consider writing as a profession. Cruising articles morphed into RV and destination pieces.
One summer during an Oregon camping trip I spotted a girl, probably in her teens, walking along a rural highway with a huge pack on her back. She looked weary and hot. My mind whirled with reasons she might be out in the country, back-packing by herself. I would never know her story, but I made up one of my own. My first novel, Rosemount, was born that day. Leslie, the character in Rosemount, wouldn’t leave me alone. Her story wasn’t finished, so I wrote a sequel, McClellan’s Bluff.
While researching for Rosemount, I visited a cattle rancher in eastern Washington. He made several references to the Mount St. Helens’ eruption of 1980 and the disruption that event caused his cattle operation. Tenderfoot, a romantic suspense with a sub-plot of the Mount St. Helens eruption, was my third novel.
Although it had been on my mind, I had never written of Bruce’s and my experiences in Africa with the Peace Corps because I had reservations about the self-exposure that memoirs create. I tip-toed carefully into our story and, refreshing my memory with those letters written to family at home, realized the story would interest people who liked to travel and to learn about other cultures. The gamble paid off. Tubob: Two Years in West Africa with the Peace Corps has brought me many opportunities to speak to groups about life in a third-world country.
Being a writer has enriched my life. I’ve made fascinating contacts and life-long friends with other writers, people whom I deeply respect. It’s gratifying to have someone come up to me in a grocery store and tell me they enjoyed a book or article that I wrote. Someone has noticed, and that’s important to me.
I’m honored when invited to speak at library and community groups. Any writer would be thrilled when asked to attend a book club when the selection being discussed is her own.
My husband Bruce and I live on rural acreage on Camano Island, Washington, where I’m thinking about my next book….
I am a member of Women Writing the West, The Writer’s Guild, Pacific Northwest Writers Association and Skagit Valley Writers League.