I grew up on a dairy farm near the New York-Pennsylvania border. We had wood stoves, well water and kerosene lamps. We raised all our own food except for tea, coffee, sugar and flour. Grades one through five were spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Then the district was centralized and I found myself shifted to the village school where I never quite fitted in. In high school, every year I would tell them I wanted to be a writer or work in broadcasting, and they would sign me up for another semester of home economics.
Finally, in my junior year, a new guidance counselor arrived and she was determined to send me—and dozens of my classmates—to college. Before that, it had never been a priority. In college, I was a speech and drama major and my favorite instructor was a marvelous man who taught acting and stagecraft. He used to force us to go into a room and write a description of the wall behind us without looking around or to sketch buildings in town from memory. This process of observation and recall is a gift that he gave me.
Communication was always my goal and persistence earned an entry-level job at a nearby radio station. Later, after I moved to Syracuse, I took broadcasting courses at the University and became a television continuity writer. Four years later, I move to Manhattan and worked in promotion for 18 years. A perpetual student, I took courses at NYU, the New School and the Museum of Natural History. I attended many writing seminars, until I found Erika Duncan’s women’s writing workshop in West Beth. It was in that supportive atmosphere that I wrote ACHIEVING IT ALL, a feminist comedy.
I returned upstate and worked as development manager for the local PBS/NPR station, writing grants and selling underwriting until I started DEATH BY A DAM SITE, based upon an idea that I had been nursing for years about the disappearance of a friend and the disruption caused by man-made lakes.