Hello new friends!
I’m thrilled to join Writers Who Kill, and connect with so many mystery buffs who follow this eclectic and talented group of crime writers. My bio briefly introduces me, but let me tell you a little more about myself and my path to becoming a cozy mystery author.
I grew up an avid reader. Even though I loved crafting my own stories, I had a hard time believing I could ever be a published author, like those I revered. Maybe this is why the few times I’ve come across the first edition of Chicken Soup For the Kids’ Soul in a library or thrift store, I still open it to locate my name. It was my first published story, and spurred me to continue to write.
When the Hartford Courant had a statewide contest for the best Connecticut Christmas short story, I entered “A Perfect Christmas, Guaranteed,” about a family, too busy to bother with the season, who purchase holiday insurance for the promise of a picture-perfect Christmas with all the trappings. But their vision for it is not what this magical insurance company has in store, leading them to, of course, discover the true meaning of Christmas. My winning story was published in the newspaper and read on National Public Radio on Christmas Eve. The following year, it was turned into a short ballet where I spent eight months shadowing the director in order to write a feature article about the process. The ballet was performed with The Nutcracker that Christmas season at the Bushnell Theater.
I was in the process of attempting to turn it into a television movie screenplay when my then-husband and I adopted a child. I made promises to myself to return to writing in earnest as soon as our son started preschool. However, the school environment presented some challenges for him, and he was later diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and high-functioning autism (ASD). I would spend the next thirteen years advocating for him in the school system so he could get an equal education and live up to his potential. My writing projects took a back seat, but I kept creating. I was hired to write biweekly humorous essays about motherhood and small-town life by our local Patch, an online newspaper. When that gig ended, I started my own personal blog just for the fun of it.
Mid-2016 found me newly single, which meant my SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) status was no longer an option. While co-parenting and working part-time, I had to step up my writing game or leave the dream behind forever. In short, I finished writing a cozy mystery novel I’d been pecking at for years, got an agent, and with a new project proposal, received a contract from Macmillan Publishers for a three-book deal. (More on that in my next blog post.) In the meantime, our son is finishing his junior year in high school with honors.
I continue to navigate this new chapter of my life as if it were my own best-selling novel—I make sure to sprinkle in some humor and adventure, perhaps throw in a dash of romance, attempt to figure out the mysteries, and strive for a happy ending.
We all turn the pages to new chapters in our lives—a job change, an empty nest, retirement…. I’d love to hear about yours. How have you navigated a major change? What have you learned about yourself in the process?