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Writing and Reading

   When I began writing as a child, I thought I didn't have anything to write about. So like any beginning writer, I imitated authors I admired. As I read more, my pantheon of authors grew. I learned more about writing craft,  technique, and skill.


    When I was in college, I began honing in my skills. As an English major, I read widely. By reading literature from the past. I learned a lot about the world. Authors write about the human condition no matter what century they live in. The frailties of human nature haven't changed.    


     I studied Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Henry James, Marcel Proust, Albert Camus,  George Eliot, George Sand,Theodore Dreiser, William Shakespeare,  Geoffrey Chaucer, Henry Fielding, Gunter Grasse, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne,  Mark Twain, Upton Sinclair Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol,  Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway,  John Steinbeck,  Alexander Dumas, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville. I could fill  whole pages with the authors I studied.


  I learned a lot about the world by reading, more than I could have learned from being out in the world. There is wisdom in books that can't be measured  It's the wisdom of the ages.

Imagination in Writing

  I began writing short stories in high school with encouragement from my English teachers. One took the time to read my stories and comment  on them.  My inspiration came from  the Twilight Zone. I loved the series with the clever surprise endings.  My  short stories were  inspired by the Twilight Zone. In my story, the reader thinks that there are soldiers fighting, when in reality it's children playing war.

The Twilight Zone was one source of my inspiration. Another was Star Trek.    I also became an avid fan of Star Trek  in high school.  I still am today.  Gene Roddenberry was a visionary. I like the fact that his world of the future is a positive one.  The ship is filled with people of all different races. Everyone works together for a common goal.


 During my sophomore year, I modeled for Marshall Field and Company, representing my high school on the fashion board. I received a free outfit.  It included a cranberry blouse , a white fish net sweater and a cranberry skirt and  Capezio shoes  That was exciting for a teenager. I modeled in  all of the fashion shows: the back to school show, the spring show and the bridal   dress show.  My photo ( as well as the other models) was posted in the junior clothing section of the store, i

While I wrote stories in my free time, I was still an active Girl Scout, a Mariner, in  high school. As part of the program I went to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and lived on the Joseph Conrad, a Danish training vessel.  We sailed in dinghies off the side of the ship.


I also was an alternate for Girl Scout roundup.  We camped in Canada near Sault St. Marie. It was a good experience.


I used my travels  for the  settings of my stories.


During this time, I was also busy writing feature stories for the high school newspaper.  I wrote about subjects that interested me: found art, local rock bands.


I had my first job as a publicist covering the school dance. I appeared with the chairman on various radio talk shows.

Meanwhile I read science fiction magazines like Analog, and others. I was fortunate to meet George R.R. Martin when he visited our library with other science fiction writers. I loved his novella, "Song for Lya."    The story astounded me. I became an instant George  R,R. Martin fan.



My beginnings as a writer

I've been a writer since I was five years old. My first work was entitled, The Easter Bunny Mystery, about two pages long. Then I began reading everything I could. I've loved reading from the moment I learned how. By the time I was ten I decided it was time to write a novel. So I formed my own publishing company with two other girls in the neighborhood, Karalee and Linda. We called ourselves "The Greenwood Trio." Sounded more like a singing group than a publishing company.


But I went ahead and wrote the first one, a Doris and Danni Kane mystery. The Mystery of Mule Hill. Then I wrote the sequel entitled: The Mystery of the Ship's Cargo. I was an avid fan of Nancy Drew. I read the whole series and loved the illustrations. So why not write my own series? I was motivated because my literary librarian mother wouldn't let me read Nancy Drew books.


I remembered that Nancy Drew was resourceful, honest and advocated justice for everyone. Not being able to read Nancy Drew books was unjust. I wouldn't let my mother stop me from reading the books I loved. So why couldn't I write my own?

Karalee Keeler. who lived across the street from us, on Greenwood Avenue in Highland Park was a budding artist. She could do the illustrations. I cut out sheets of paper and fashioned a cardboard cover for each book. The computer hadn't been transformed into what it is today. So I did everything by hand.

Both books are filled with Tom Swifties that are very funny. I reread them when I was older and laughed.  All the while, I was reading, I won the library contest for the child who read the most books during the summer. I got gold stars. My favorite books were Star Girl and Cherry Ames nurse I read a lot of history books, since my father taught American history at Highland Park High School. He graded papers at night and explained the maps of the Civil War to me. I learned about the battles and the various interpretations of the historians like Bruce Catton.


   I've been surrounded by books my whole life. I feel they are wonderful way to learn about the world. You can travel to times you never lived in and learn how other people lived. Books give you a broad view of the world and a respect for other people.

In high school, I won a writing contest at a local radio station. I wrote a humorous story about teen night clubs. I was interviewed by the DJ, George Carl on the air. Afterwards I collected my prize, a cayman. I'll never forget watching George Carl pick up the cayman with his bare hands. The reptile craned its neck and snapped at him. Since don't like reptiles, I was very unhappy about winning the alligator. I wished I had won the second prize: a record album. So I brought the cayman to school and gave it to my friend Jill Steinberg. She kept it as her pet.

Then I interviewed George Carl for a story in our school newspapers, since I was on the staff. I wrote many features for the newspaper and later became a professional journalist writing features for newspapers and magazines