Writing wasn’t my first career choice.
At the age of eight, I decided to become an archaeologist. I had no idea what an archeologist did, but it sounded very important, and I liked the pictures in the encyclopedia. By the time I reached high school, I realized becoming an archeologist would require a significant amount of studying. Not being fond of studying, I switched my career aspirations to creative writing, the one class where making up the answers was actually encouraged.
Writing stories turned out to be a poor career choice for someone who wanted to eat on a regular basis. Writing computer programs, on the other hand, paid extremely well. I became a nerd and surfed the technology wave for thirty-five years in Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.
In 2007, in the grip of a delayed mid-life crisis, I abandoned my secure niche in a cube farm, took early retirement and moved to India, where I signed on as a volunteer with a social services organization in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. I had many wonderful adventures exploring South India, meeting the people, and learning their culture.
My western background created some challenges for me during this time, but the only truly insurmountable difficulty was the dearth of interesting reading material.
I’m a fiction junkie. For most of my life, I’ve had a three novel a week monkey on my back. Desperate for something to satisfy my addiction, I began writing my own novel, using the people around me and the stories they told as inspiration. I scouted out locations around the city, photographing buildings and inviting myself into homes as varied as marble mansions and slum hovels. I followed my maid through her daily routine and tried, with little success, to do what she did. I subjected my incredibly patient Indian friends to endless interrogations about their culture and poured over the case files of the social services organization where I volunteered to understand the challenges faced by my characters. The result was my first book: Sisters of the Sari.
Writing a novel turned out to be just as interesting as reading one, so when I returned to Canada, I wrote another one, and then another. Writing is now more of an addiction than reading, and almost as much fun as my true passion which is:
I learned to knit the same way I learned to write—in desperation.
The story of my first knitting project is here.
Died: not yet
There are no plants in my house. They always die. Who needs that kind of guilt?
There are no pets in my house, either. It’s not that I don’t like animals. Dogs are great, but I live in Canada, where winter walkies are both inconvenient and unpleasant. Cats are great too, but everyone knows us little old ladies cant stop at just one.
You’ll notice there’s a fair amount of purple on this website. Purple and I have a spiritual connection. It’s a side effect of fairy princess syndrome.
You’ll also notice the only social media link in the menu is to my Facebook page.You’re welcome to visit, but don’t expect me to hang out there much. Social media is certainly an improvement over snail mail, and I’m quite fond of cat videos, but creating regular posts cuts into my writing time.
This is the way I wish I could work:
But no matter how I start out, I always end up working this way: