I was born and grew up in eastern Iowa in towns along the Mississippi River, Clinton and Camanche, respectively. My parents divorced when I was seven; along with my younger brother, I was raised by my mother. We lived in a mobile home below the poverty level but my queen-of-budgeting mother made sure we had clothes to wear, food to eat, and special birthdays and holidays.
My writing career originally sparked when I was three years old and my mom would tell me the letters to write to make the words to send my grandmother letters. It continued when I was about five and thought I was writing a song with the lyrics “I’m on top of the world looking down on creation.” Imagine my disappointment when I heard “Top of the World” by The Carpenters on the radio. It really took hold at about ten years old when I caught the writing bug after a school assignment. From that moment, I was either writing or thinking I should be writing.
Upon graduating from high school, I had amassed enough scholarship awards to pay for half of my college education and started the following fall at Iowa State University. I graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community and Regional Planning with Honors and Distinction in May, 1996. As part of my honors program, I took creative writing classes to fulfill my humanities requirements.
In April, 2001, I moved to Davenport, Iowa and began working as a Paralegal for a prominent local law firm. After several years, my job satisfaction declined. When I looked closely at my job, I found the parts from which I gained the most satisfaction were those tasks involving writing.
When a friend from work was diagnosed with breast cancer, I asked myself if something happened to me where I was removed from living or at least prohibited from participating in life for a long period of time, “What would I leave undone?” That answer and my experience with my growing preteen daughter and the friends in her scout troop led me to publish Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls in 2008.
My interest in writing as a profession grew. I completed a young adult novel manuscript, started another, and began thinking about how I could earn a living from writing. When another friend at work died from colon cancer twenty years to the day after I’d lost my almost two-year-old cousin to a car accident, I decided it was time to jump in. So I did in January, 2010.
I won the Bettendorf Public Library’s Love Poem Contest in early 2012; my full-length poetry collection, The Other Side of Crazy, was released by 918studio in September, 2013. I published my novel Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters in the fall of 2012. Melody Madson – May It Please the Court? came out in the summer of 2014.
I knew I wanted my next book to be even more of a historical fiction piece than was Missing Emily and I knew I wanted it to take place at the time of the great Camanche, Iowa, tornado of June 3, 1860, because I heard over and over growing up if it hadn’t been for the tornado, Camanche would’ve been bigger than the neighboring city of Clinton. From that was born Taming the Twisted where Abigail Sinkey (named after my grandmother’s maiden name) is forced to deal with the death of her parents, raising her siblings, a missing beau, a new romance, scorn of a townswoman, and a murder after the tornado.
My vision is to have a whole series of books involving people in or connected to the Sinkey family throughout history in Camanche, Iowa. My next book after the Taming the Twisted sequel, therefore, will involve sometime in the 1890 to 1910 time period when families would camp along the Mississippi River’s shores in the summer to harvest clams to sell to the button factories, mostly in Muscatine, Iowa. I also published Versed in Nature: Hiking Northwest Illinois and East Iowa State Parks in spring 2017.
When I’m not writing or running my Wordsy Woman business, I enjoy walking my beagle, Maizey, and hiking. I also like to travel when I can away from my home in Davenport, Iowa, where I live with my husband, daughter, son, cat, and said beagle.
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