About the Carleton Sisters, my debut novel, will be published by She Writes Press in the spring of 2023. This culminates a journey begun as a child growing up in western South Dakota when my sisters and I spent summer afternoons haunting the local Catholic cemetery where we made up stories about the dead. Much later, when my poetry veered in the direction of story-telling, I shouldn’t have been surprised. By now, at seventy-nine, I’ve knocked on many doors since I first began writing seriously in the early '70s. I was then a re-entry student at San Francisco State University in my early thirties, and I focused on poetry in both undergraduate and graduate studies. While studying with Stan Rice, his wife Anne Rice’s publication, Interview with A Vampire, inspired me to try my hand at fiction. It was the ‘70s and reason enough for my family to “drop out” and migrate to Cannon Beach, Oregon. We owned a small motel with another family which we ran while our sons graduated from high school. In 1979, I self-published a book of poetry, The Double Fire Burning. But my heart has always vibrated loudest in storytelling.
A great influence on my finishing graduate school and teaching was Richard Hugo, someone I studied poetry with during the summers when he came from Montana to Cannon Beach. Though I taught for a few years in a local junior college, I found that teaching absorbed all my creative energy. I soon returned to graduate school in San Francisco to become a family therapist, a profession I knew would carry me into my 80s. With a specialty in addictive processes, I continue the work I started thirty years ago.
I’ve been fortunate to have two major fiction writing teachers along the way: Janet Fitch (White Oleander) when I lived in San Diego for ten years where I worked in a psychiatric hospital. On my return to Oregon, I studied further with Tom Spanbauer (The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon) and the Dangerous Writers. During that long apprenticeship, I completed three novels and a book of essays. Thematically, the pursuit of agency and empowerment propels my female characters in both my creative and therapeutic work. Today, I live and work in Portland, Oregon. My essays have appeared in The Big Smoke, an online magazine.
While I gear up for my debut novel, come with me on this journey of many firsts! You can connect with me through my newsletter (this is where you'll get the most behind the scenes look!), follow me on Instagram, and like me on Facebook. I can't wait to share this new path with all of you. Thank you for being here with me.