When I was a kid and a young adult in high school, I was a voracious reader. I loved how a book could transport me out of my mundane existence and to another place and time, and even into someone else’s life or head. It’s not that my life was so horrible, because it wasn’t. I was a happy child with loving parents. It’s also not that my life was boring or lonely, because it wasn’t. I had many friends — some of whom are still good friends to this day, and many of us were quite adept at finding or creating excitement.
People always told me that I should be a teacher. I absolutely did not want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a writer. People then would tell me that it’s hard to make a living as a writer. Still, I persevered. In high school, I wrote. I wrote short stories and poems, and, like many high school girls, I even kept a journal. But, about a year before I entered college, a friend told me that everyone he knows who majored in English wound up teaching. So, I changed my major to Sociology.
I worked my way through college by working with young people in trouble, and I graduated from Rutgers with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. I tried social work for a brief period, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Whether working with kids in trouble with the law or working for welfare, I realized that the system only exacerbates the problems it is supposed to address.
I again thought about the possibility of becoming an attorney, something that I had occasionally considered for many years, but I believed I would find that as frustrating as social work. A year after attaining my undergraduate degree, I returned to Rutgers, only this time at Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, where I earned my Master’s degree followed by my doctorate.
Ironically, I then taught Criminal Justice, and a little Sociology, for the next three decades. When someone would ask me why I changed my mind about teaching, I would say, “I realized I would rather be teaching what’s wrong with the system than working within it. I would find it far too frustrating. Let my students go out there and try to change it, fully armed with the knowledge of what needs to be done.”
I loved teaching, the opportunity to interact with students, to talk about a subject I find fascinating and even to write, and be published, in scholarly works. After 30 years of teaching, however, I am now pursuing my long-time desire to write fiction.
When not working, I enjoy going to concerts and the theater, traveling, animals and nature, scrapbooking and, still, reading. Although I live in New Jersey, my heart belongs equally in Holland Michigan on the Great Lake and Albuquerque New Mexico looking up at or down from the Sandia Mountains. One of my greatest joys through the years has been spending time with my nieces and nephew. They have been the inspiration for many stories, including my first children’s book, Annalise’s Up and Down Day. And that adolescent journal, which I kept for over 20 years, is now fodder for many more children’s and young adult books. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I’ll enjoy writing them.