Biographies are a tough sell. John Nash, Joan of Arc, Helen Keller–people who led very readable lives, and yet the movies did better. I’ll tell you now, I have no big-screen moments, not even the hint of a Lifetime movie. That said, here we are.
I grew up on Long Island in the 1970s, the daughter of 1940’s parents. I was fortunate to have older sisters. They were more convincing in the part, following rules, politics, and parental advice. I bucked the system. I wanted to be a singer, devastated to learn I couldn’t carry a tune in a trough. Instead, I wrote. This was something I had an aptitude for, something that pressed boundaries, and I liked that. Looking back, my pedestrian childhood was probably a good thing, having spent more time making up stories than anything else.
Life picked up pace as I went off to college, outlining the idea for my first novel, Beautiful Disaster. Interestingly, I wouldn’t write the book for another twenty years. I attended the University of Georgia where I fell in love with a boy, a friend, and the South. It fashioned me into a chameleon of sorts. The North is home, but that evocative place changed me, giving me license and a classroom far beyond J-school where they actually did give me a degree. The South plays an integral role in Perfect Timing as well, though it’s a Jersey Girl who wins the day. I suppose it’s “write what you know,” coming to fruition, and certainly geography has influenced me.
One of my favorite book club questions is, “When did you finally decide to write a novel?” I know there’s a dreamier answer than: “When public education took over childcare.” But that’s the truth. Novel writing is demanding and success is relative. So for now, I’m happy to be in the game and excited for the chance to bring a second novel to readers. An older wiser me says real success is more about heading to my laptop every morning, content and grateful just to be there. In between those marathon writing sessions, Matt and I continue to live with our three exceptional children, two dogs, and two cats in a 100-year old house outside Boston, where there’s always a book in progress.
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