I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, having the good fortune to be raised in a multi-generational family of Southern story-tellers and book readers.
In the second grade, I wrote a prize-winning essay about my Chihuahua, Mathilda, and my writing career was launched. My parents gave me a typewriter for Christmas, and I began to churn out one-page mysteries, neighborhood newsletters, dreadful songs (remember, this was Nashville) and even worse poetry.
Away from my feverish typing, I joined the Girl Scouts, loved the outdoors and camping, and loved particularly the chills that went down my spine when ghost stories were told around the campfire. I’ve always loved dogs and horses-Quarter horses and Boxers, especially.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and I’m living in Asheville, North Carolina.
Though I’ve written all my life—ad copy, a couple of short stories, ghost writing for a children’s series–I’d never found my voice, so to speak, as a novelist. Then suddenly, in the midst of these spooky old Appalachian forests, I did. My heroine Mary Crow came to me almost like the goddess Athena, popping out of Zeus’s head. I knew what she looked like, how she laughed, what made her angry, who she loved and what moved her to tears. Her story would be as intrinsic to these mountains as her Cherokee people have been for so many generations. I wrote my first Mary Crow novel, “In The Forest of Harm” over the course of a year. I sent it out, got an agent who sold it pretty quickly. I remember my editor saying “You might be on to something here.” Well, five books into Mary Crow’s adventures, I guess she was right.
Though I’ve come far and written a lot during those years since I captured the second grade essay prize, at heart I’m still that same kid. I write lousy songs and terrible poetry, but I love the smell of the woods, love to hear a hoot owl in the forest at night, love the chill that an eerie ghost story sends down my spine. If you enjoy those things, too, then take a look my at books. We just might have a lot in common.
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