My husband and I emigrated from the UK to the US when I was still in my teens. We loved the wide open spaces in America and the energy and drive of the American people. Soon after we arrived, my husband found work as an engineer in Boston. We sat in a coffee shop looking through a local newspaper for apartments close to his job because we didn't yet have a car. Then we walked back from his place of work to each apartment until we found the one we wanted.
During our first two years here, we used our weekends to drive to different places in New England. It was a time of exploration and learning for us. I joined a writing group and wrote poems and short stories.
In the UK, I'd won a scholarship to a boarding school founded in the sixteenth century for the poor of London and I graduated early at the age of fifteen. Instead of going to college, I wanted to experience the "real world" and that meant living and working in London. I worked in the Foreign Office, opposite 10 Downing Street where the Prime Minister lives.
In the US, I would've lived in New York if my husband and I could've afforded that. Instead, we settled in Boston and its suburbs and raised our two children there. I've always liked the bustle and energy of cities and the cultural opportunities they offer. I acquired an MA in literature and taught at Northeastern University and an MS in nursing and worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Just as we were beginning to feel like an American family that could reap the rewards of working hard and being involved in our local community, my husband died. He was the person with whom I'd spent the most time in my life and my closest companion. I thought I'd never get over my loss but I had kids to consider and they got me through that time.
Once they were able to fend for themselves, I became restless and decided to move. My real estate agent helped me discover Western Massachusetts where I now live. Nature and everything that happens within it is so close. During storms and the height of summer, nature presses against the walls and windows of my home.
I use Western Massachusetts with its contrasting seasons as a setting for my WIP. In my work as a nurse, I learned to observe and solve problems and I give my protagonists these skills and enhance them. As a nurse and foster mom, I learned more than I could've imagined about relationships and the way we behave under stress or facing crises. In my writing, I like to place my characters in near impossible situations so they have to find their way out. As the only one in my natal family who moved so far from home and who still likes to explore new places, I create characters that have to track down clues and villains.
I'm finding out it takes time to develop fictitious worlds that deepen my understanding of the people and places I thought I knew.