I grew up in Virginia Beach and I now live in Keswick, Virginia with my husband, daughter, and three dogs. I have two wonderful stepsons, who are grown.
We live in an old farmhouse with a view of the Southwest Mountains. The house is called Keswick Farm and it is the opening setting of my historical novel, The Thin End of the Wedge.
I write in the old bunkhouse, (below) which is freezing in winter and hot in summer. There is no plumbing, and mice live in my knitting yarn.
In 1981 I received a BA in Fine Art from Mary Baldwin College (now Mary Baldwin University). I moved to New York and attended graduate school at the Fashion Institute of Technology then I worked for Ralph Lauren, as a member of the women’s design team.
After that, I moved to Nantucket Island, where I lived year-round for seven years. I had a shop on Center Street, selling antiques and fine linens and tableware.
Twenty-three years ago I moved back to Virginia when I married my husband, Rocky. Here we are in Edinburgh, Scotland:
When my daughter was little I worked for the Monticello Catalog, as a product designer, buyer, and photo stylist.
Then I started a little business making baby accessories from recycled cashmere sweaters. I had my line in Barney’s New York.
These days, I’m an empty-nester. I’m concentrating on my writing, and I volunteer at Hospice of the Piedmont, and I serve on the Board of Directors at WriterHouse in Charlottesville: “The mission of WriterHouse is to promote the creation and appreciation of literature and to encourage the development of writers of all levels by providing affordable, secure workspace and meeting space, high-quality writing instruction, and literary events for the public.” (from WriterHouse website.)
I came to writing late in life. In fact, I could say that I fell into it. Literally. When my daughter began high school, I signed up for classes at Piedmont Community College. My love of literature prompted the return to school, and I loved being in the classroom. Never mind that I was the oldest student. By far. (Have a Kleenex, dear. Keep the packet, I have more. Have you taken any vitamin C? Did you bring a pen today?) They got used to me. I took African-American Literature and French. Then I moved to online classes: British History, Philosophy, The 19th Century Novel! My favorite was titled Crime and Horror in Victorian Literature and Culture, taught by rock star Harvard professor, Dr. Matthew Kaiser. When I found myself facing a choice for Fall of 2013 between Literature of the Restoration (yawn) and The Writing of Fiction, I chose the writing course, which was taught by the wonderful Sarah Kennedy, author of the Cross and Crown Series.
Two weeks into the writing class, I broke my right ankle. Don’t text and walk. Just don’t.
Did I mention that the break occurred hours before I was supposed to leave for France? Well, it did. It was really quite dramatic.
The online writing class became a refuge during eight weeks I was stuck at home recovering. I began what is now my first novel. When the class ended, I kept writing.
I have since attended the Novel Writing Retreat at the Vermont College of Fine Art and completed a semester-long program called Queen’s One Book through Queen’s University in Charlotte, as well as the St. Augustine Writer’s Conference 2014 and 2015, led by the incomparable Connie May Fowler. I also took a year-long novel class at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, taught by the fabulously talented author, Mary Kay Zuravleff. In the summer of 2015, I attended the Left Bank Writer’s Retreat in Paris. Now I’m ready to begin my fourth semester at the low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
For links to my work, see my Published work and notices page. To view my Author’s Guild profile, click here.
The first piece I had published was an essay in a literary magazine in early 2015. Acceptance emails may cause euphoria (do not operate heavy machinery, etc.) Something like this may occur:
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