I am ambidextrous. My teachers forced me to write with my right hand, but I wrote backwards with my right hand til second grade. I still like to pitch and bat with my left hand, and I often cut my meat with my left hand when no one's looking.
I love medicine and healing. My high school Chemistry teacher discouraged me from pursuing medicine. I still enjoy figuring out medical puzzles, but I'm glad I chose what comes to me with such ease it's almost like magic: Writing. Once I identify my protagonists, I close my eyes and the plot just plays out in front of me like a movie. I also like to interview my characters. Their responses often surprise me.
I've visited (or lived in) every continent except Antarctica and Australia, though I've had the same landline phone number for over 30 years. My friends always know where to find me! Both my parents (and their parents and grandparents and great great great grandparents) were all native South Carolinians. I had lived in three states (IL,TN, PA) by the time I was 5.
My son was born in Switzerland and my daughter in China. Yet my writing is most influenced by lazy summer days listening to family stories as I swung in a porch swing sipping sweet tea. I still remember my Grandmother Annie Lee's stories about a disabled bear and my mother Sarah Elizabeth's stories about two Cuban ghosts, one of whom was a horse.
I'm a mezzo soprano. I can sing opera, jazz, sacred, and show tunes. I also love to sing "Hotel California" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" on Karaoke nights. I don't know many famous musicians, but I've had dinner with my friend Marcie's brother, Kinky Friedman. I've never heard him play, but I have read and enjoyed his mystery novels.
I may be distantly related to Former President Jimmy Carter. At least that's what my father's mother told me. Carter was the first president I ever voted for at age 18, and I interned for him, before I knew we were related. We both are melanoma survivors, have a desire to bring peace to the world, and a love of the land and Dylan Thomas' work. (My son's middle name is Dylan.) So maybe my granny was right about the family connection.
I got my first college fiction award when I was 16. First place for a dystopian fantasy. I got a scholarship to Hollins University, and so studied creative writing there instead of journalism at the University of Virginia. I then became a journalist six weeks after graduation. Go figure. I kept writing fiction all through my journalism and cause-related marketing careers. I've worked at National Geographic, other mass market publications, television stations, and international organizations, and I'm happiest right now. A short story I wrote at Hollins got published last Spring. I've come full circle.
I belong to a multicultural family not by marriage but through adoption. My daughter is from Kunshan, China. She prefers Italian and English. My biological son speaks Mandarin and just returned home from Chengdu, China. My experience with other cultures comes from friendships and some wonderful colleagues from the 190 countries that are members of the network of Red Cross or Red Crescent societies. I've traveled throughout the Middle East and Africa; my last trip to Lebanon was a few weeks before the 2006 war there.
The way to win my heart is to make me laugh...hard. My husband told me a joke the night we met I'm still laughing at. We've been married more than three decades. See what I mean?
I would rather eat a vine-ripened yellow tomato with hummus sandwich than anything else in the world. Hold the mayo, though...please. I'll end the meal with a peach plucked directly from the tree.
I can't survive without my family, dark roast coffee, travel, and the love of an animal, preferably experienced at exactly the same time. Travel inspires me and feeds my creativity. I return with so many story ideas I'll never live long enough to write them. Animals feed my soul. And the coffee is just a bad habit: I paid over $10 for 3 ounces of coffee on a Hungarian train once.
You can learn more intriguing tidbits about me and my new novel at shoresofoursouls.com.