My home is Bay Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, where I live with my husband, two children (now young adults), and a Yorkipoo named Bobo. My path to becoming an author was a little unconventional, so if you'd like to read more about it...
Okay, I'm dating myself here, but way back in 1990 I went to college to study finance and eventually got my MBA. Growing up in a house where money (or I should say lack of) was a constant source of chaos, I was determined to eliminate that worry and climb the corporate ladder. And, I did that for 7 years, even getting married to my high school sweetheart somewhere in-between. See, I was a planner and at 28 years old, everything was going according to plan. But, as all moms know, having a baby changes everything.
Do not believe the Pampers commercials people! Swaddling your baby in the softest and most absorbent diapers will not make them sleep through the night. When you have a colicky baby, you may actually have to resort to 3:00am car rides while singing "Hush Little Baby" through your tears of despair.
That time in my life was insane, and not just because I was overwhelmed with the challenges of balancing motherhood and a career, but because life throws you curve balls that you can’t always predict. Experiencing all kinds of strange & scary symptoms, I just knew something wasn’t right physically.
I went to countless doctor visits where it went something like this:
DR: "You do have a history of anxiety and you'd be surprised at the symptoms it can cause."
ME: "Well yes, but can it cause a sudden and complete loss of all feeling in your left leg & only from the knee up?"
DR: (pause, looking at the chart): "All of your tests are normal."
ME: "Ok, but I know these feelings are not normal, so maybe more tests?"
DR: (sigh) "Your brain MRI is normal."
ME: "Yes, I'm aware." (I jumped up & down in celebration when I got those results) "But something is not right."
DR: "I could order an MRI of the spine but your insurance may not cover it and it's unlikely--."
ME: "Yes! I don't care. Yes, I want the MRI!" (Maybe you can sense my desperation since I had already been through MRI hell once and was begging for more.)
And, bingo, wouldn't you know it? Lots of ugly lesions in my spine. Multiple Sclerosis usually presents in the brain first, but not in my case, and at 32 I finally knew what was wrong with me.
The diagnosis completely changed my perspective on just about everything. We decided to buy a smaller house and simplify our lives. I decided to hold off going back to work and stay home with the kids. And a few years later, when my nights became mine again, I began binge-reading (I had always preferred books to tv.) Unexpectedly, an idea for my own story popped into my head and I thought, "I should write my own novel." I mean, how hard could it be?
Hard. Very, very hard. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! But, after a lot of self-doubt and procrastination, Hope for Garbage eventually came to be. Those of you who have read it already know it is filled with the message of hope - things will get better. I try to remember this in my own life and it is not easy.
Every day MS seems to challenge me a little more. When I published Hope for Garbage in 2014, I had already had MS for 10 years but my only 'external' symptom was a slight limp. By 2020, when I published The Lake Never Tells, I was using a brace, a cane, & sometimes a wheelchair. I also might mention that I gradually lost all function in my left hand so TLNT was written completely with the one-handed-hunt-and-peck method on the keyboard. However, I can also remember typing school papers on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter - so perspective, I guess?
I do know that if it wasn’t for this crappy disease, I am 99% sure I wouldn't have chosen the path I did. And I definitely wouldn't have tried to write a novel...or two...or three. Writing has been both fulfilling and therapeutic - little bits & pieces of my own life experiences are sprinkled into my stories.
If you get a chance to read any of my books, I’d love to hear what you think! If you have questions or comments about anything – please fill out the form below. I always respond in a day or two.
I am working on a fourth novel, so please check back for updates!