My first published work was a letter to the editor of the local newspaper in Cape Girardeau, Missouri when I was 19. A protest against the war in Viet Nam, I was surprised when it appeared on the front page of the newspaper, with my name withheld. At first, I found that amusing until emotional, even violent responses began to appear on the paper's op-ed page. I was suddenly glad my name had not been published. More importantly, however, I realized the power of the written word, even a simple letter from a college student, to move people to action. I've been hooked on writing ever since!
Over the years, that ability has taken me many places, like three years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and a variety of jobs, including ten years with the Laclede County Sheriff's Department, the last three years of which I was the Jail Administrator for their 106 bed jail. I spent five years as a freelance feature writer for the local newspaper, and in 1985, I wrote my first book, The Fifteen Most Asked Questions About Adoption. It sold out its first printing in the US & Canada in less than a year and brought me one of the top five National Adoption Activist Awards the next year. It stayed in print for 10 years.
Between raising kids (three of the four adopted, of course) and working, it would be 20 years before I wrote another book. In 2006, a colleague, Dick Dixon and I interviewed 30 methamphetamine addicts, in sustained recovery right here in southwest Missouri. They told us how they got on, how they got off, and how they stay off meth. Ozark Meth: A Journey of Destruction and Deliverance includes Ozark residents and their families and friends, who are today actively contributing to their community once again, after beating meth. Through this book, they offer help to others to do the same. Today, I've returned to freelance features and I've written three new novels, The Heart of the Spring and its sequel, The Heart of the Spring Lives On and Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice.
In the first two, as a 30 year resident and writer at Bennett Spring, I've blended one family's story with a bit of history to bring to life a book about living through the challenge of a changing world as well as the romance, the beauty and the joy of life in a place called Bennett Spring.
In Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice published in January 2011, I've written a story of a small town county sheriff and the Salvadoran woman who comes to his town to run the Christian mission there. They say..."write what you know" and this novel is the result.
My husband, Warren retired this year from the Missouri Conservation Department after 33 years. We have four grown children, two in Missouri and two in Texas, and five grandsons. We have so much to be thankful for! And fortunately, Warren, my children and now even my grandchildren, continue to be great supporters of my writing career!