The quintessential small-town girl, I grew up on a small farm in Oregon filled with family and animals. Books and the stories I created from my own imagination were constant companions. After high school, I failed miserably at college, fell in love, got married and failed miserably at that. I returned to school with far more success, studying sociology and writing until a chance relationship offered the opportunity to move to the Bay Area and the heart of the Silicon Valley tech boom.
I overestimated the job market, and I applied for a hundred jobs before landing an interview in the elite Stanford Shopping Center at a little travel bookstore called Phileas Fogg’s. At my interview, the manager, Marty, told me that people underestimated what it took to work in a bookstore. He scowled as though he was exhausted from explaining himself. “I need someone who’s not afraid to break a nail.”
I held up both hands, with their broken nails, rough cuticles, and a healing raw blister on my thumb and said, “No problem there.” What followed was the beginning of my immersion into the world of authors, publishing, and buying and selling books.
I’ve written stories my entire life. My family is full of writers, musicians and artists, but I had never taken my art seriously. “You can write,” I was always warned, “But you can’t live off it.” Suddenly I was meeting authors by the dozen, and discovering that writing wasn’t a pastime. It was a career. I met publishers and editors who let me see behind the scenes and understand what it was to take a pile of words on a page and turn it into a published work. I met agents and publicists, who shared the secrets of connecting in the industry.
After Phileas Fogg’s closed, I left the Bay Area for five years, living in happy solitude on beautiful Mount Shasta, working at a travel and language bookstore, Language Quest, selling books, maps and language materials, and finding inspiration in the crisp air, clean water, and stunning scenery. By the time I moved back to the Bay Area, the ease of online publishing had changed the book industry forever, but I was changed as well. I was ready to be a writer. My day job is just that- a day job. My identity is writer, novelist, author.