I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, the setting for my first novel, Tell No Lies. Because I was the youngest of six children and the only girl, my parents used to tell everyone they found me in a basket on the doorstep. One look at me standing next to my brothers, though, and you’d know they were teasing.
I grew up in the suburbs, and as you might expect of someone living with so many boys, I was quite a tomboy. I’ve been asked many times why I wrote a novel from the male point of view. I can answer the question in several ways, but I’m convinced that being surrounded by boys had something to do with it. Most of what I write, in fact, is from a guy’s point of view—I guess I just consider the male half of the species to be more interesting!
Like most writers, I’ve always loved to write. Early on, I wanted to be a journalist (and even attended the University of Missouri-Columbia for my first year of college with the intention of going to the journalism school there). I quickly changed my mind when I realized I didn’t have the stomach for interviewing subjects during what were often the lowest points of their lives. (After seeing how sensationalistic the media has become in the years since I made that decision, I think I chose wisely). I’ve also always loved animals, and sometimes I think that if I hadn’t been a lawyer or a writer, I would have been a vet.
But I digress. Instead, I transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, where I earned my English literature and law degrees. I continued to write creatively in undergraduate school, but I never thought it could become my career. As my family and friends can attest, I’ve always been opinionated and love to argue, so law school was right up my alley. Not surprisingly, I loved it. Wash U. is also where I met my husband Rick, again. I say “again” because the two of us actually attended the same junior high and high school, although we didn’t become friends until college.
Early in my legal career, I practiced with private firms in St. Louis. Though I’d started my career in general litigation, I quickly gravitated towards bankruptcy for several reasons: first, bankruptcy gave me more opportunities to appear in court (ironically); second, I thought the smaller bankruptcy bar was more collegial; and third, bankruptcy law simply made more sense to me.
During this time, Rick and I had two daughters, Jessie and Sally, and after Sally was born I took several years off to stay home with them. This is when I resumed writing—or I should say, resumed writing fiction (because as any lawyer can tell you, the practice of law involves a lot of writing).
We eventually moved from St. Louis when Rick took a job in Boston. After living in St. Louis so many years, it now feels like we’ve become nomads: in addition to Boston, we’ve lived in the suburbs of Philly, and now Orlando. I wrote the first draft of Tell No Lies while living in Philly (thanks to my wonderful Monday night AWA-method workshop). It was also there that I went back to practicing law for a few years when my “dream job” became available – as a trial attorney with the United States Trustees office in Wilmington, Delaware (part of the U.S. Department of Justice). I was fortunate enough to work on some of the largest corporate bankruptcies in the nation during my time with the DOJ, and I reluctantly gave up the position only when we moved to Florida. The trade-off has been a good one, though. I now get to spend my days doing what I love best (writing), and one of my favorite places (the beach) is just a short drive away.
If you haven’t heard enough already, check out the FAQ page, where I answer the questions I get asked most frequently (most about writing, Tell No Lies, Rescuing Olivia, and Keep No Secrets, the upcoming sequel to Tell No Lies). If you have other questions, or just want to say hi, email me. I’d love to hear from you. To see what’s on my mind, check out my Blog.