Venus and Me


fullsizeoutput_33Hey there. You’re probably here because, like me, you wonder who the heck is behind all those words when you’re deep in a novel. Or thinking of diving in. So here’s a bit about me.

I’ve worked as an editor for more than twenty years and have authored, or collaborated on, a bunch of non-fiction books (under my married name). Venus is my first novel and I’m working on a second. Fiction is my new love and I may never write a “true” book again!

My husband and I have four adult children who live in Oregon, and one who is gone, but still very near (we miss you, Noah). Three years ago, Dave and I moved from Colorado to New York City, which was quite a culture shock, not the least of which has been the size of our apartment. Think postage stamp. But we love it here. We enjoy walking or riding bikes around Central Park. We like to do dinner and an Indie movie with friends, the occasional play, and on those hot and humid evenings of summer, head down to the truck vendor at the corner for soft ice cream. I love reading novels, of course, and meeting friends over coffee, and the bad habit I love most is watching dumb TV to help me wind down before bed.

IMG_2972I kind of, sort of, like walking my dog, Henri–except in winter when he hides under the couch as soon as I grab the leash. Problem is, he’s pretty sure I’ll make him wear his cute little coat in front of all the other dogs in Midtown (so embarrassing!). Why can’t he see they’re all wearing silly coats, too?

A bit about how Venus came to be. One morning I heard a girl’s voice in my head. She sounded really scared. And really angry. She had places to go, people to see–and I soon realized, a crime to commit. Clearly, she expected me to follow her around, listen to her talk, get it all down, and most importantly, get it right. 

Like so many novelists, my characters often felt more real than conjured, like they already existed and knew exactly what they wanted to say or do next. In this way, they led me around tight corners in the plot and generously confided what they were thinking. In such moments, the writing process felt mysterious, even magical. (Other times, it was just damn hard!).

I do share some things in common with Venus. I grew up in Everett, Washington, when it

Venus for site
This is a piece of the original cover, which got bumped by the current one, which I love. But…what I loved about this version was that it captures Venus’s inner world, her badass attitude, all that HAIR!

was still mostly a mill town (lumber, paper) and before it was a bedroom community for high tech companies in Seattle. Like Venus, I was often angry and mouthy as a teen, and I had a volatile relationship with my stepdad. Fortunately, we worked things through before he passed, and (thanks be to God) without help from a gun.

One final bit. Losing our son a couple years ago was the hardest thing I’ll ever experience, I’m sure. But his full-on enthusiasm for an early version of this novel sustained me as I wrote. And so did the story and the characters themselves. Strange, how that happens. And wonderful too. It might be why I was never tempted to abandon Venus (like she’d ever let me!). Even when I lost my way in the writing, it felt like I was participating in some kind of small, messy miracle. Of course, it also helped that I kept falling for these flawed, but mostly lovable, characters.

I hope you’ll fall for them too.