When I was young, I wanted to be an artist, but I married and had children. As a wife and mother, I tried to practice my craft by setting up a studio in my home, but that didn’t work, because my children either smeared the freshly painted canvas, or they squeezed the paint tubes dry and tried to paint everything in the house, including my shoes. So I gave up painting and turned to sketching instead, but after a while it was just infrequent doodling.
I always loved to read, thanks to my Mother, Vernice Tankersley Watson, originally from East Bernstady, Kentucky, my Aunt Mary Horne, also from East Bernstady, Kentucky and my Aunt Marie Hicks, from Middlesboro, Kentucky, (sadly all deceased). They were all three avid readers. My mother used to read True Story Magazine faithfully, although in later years she would have denied it. My Aunt Marie, who was blind, liked almost anything. I used to spend part of my summers in Middlesboro, Kentucky, reading to her. Now my Aunt Mary was different, she loved Comics. Summer visits to her house were amazing because she would lug out big bags filled with comic books, and I would eagerly read until my eyes hurt.
Bonnie Gay was also a big influence in my life because she introduced me to motivational books and tapes. Many of them impressed me deeply, and allowed me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to.
Shirley Caudill was another major influence in my life. I met her at a community meeting, and when I found out that she was a reporter for the local newspaper, I was awe struck. Even more so when she told me that a college education does not, and can not, make one a writer. "A writer has to write," she said. "And no one can teach you to do that. It's a compulsion." With her encouragement, I wrote my first nonfiction article and took it to the editor of the Sentinel Echo, newspaper in London, Kentucky, and he published it. Soon, I was one of the highest paid Special Feature writers for that newspaper.
My husband was a huge influence in my life as well. He believed I could do anything I wanted to do, and that I was always right. He was my greatest fan. We were together for 33 years, but I lost him to heart failure in 1999. It has left a big void in my life.
My children have influenced my life greatly too. Each one of them are multi talented, intelligent, decent men and women. They encourage, and believe in me, while pursuing their own goals.
Then there are my grandchildren. I desperately want to leave them something of me once I'm gone. I want to show them by example that you can do anything you want to. No one can kill your dreams except you. To quote from my first novel: “The world is full of possibilities, and tomorrow is a new day.”