I have a propensity to get bored easily and, when bored, to ask a lot of questions. It's a combination that has enabled (or, arguably, forced) me to collect careers and experiences the way some people collect stamps. I blame this on two pivotal events that occurred on the same day in the fifth grade: My first attempt at writing comedy was met with tears of laughter from my creative writing teacher and classmates; later that afternoon, I was asked to leave the Girl Scouts because of a tendency to conduct analytical deconstructions of the leader's decisions. Later on, it got me kicked out of the convent before I really even had my foot in the door. These combined events became the foundation of a career path that has lurched rather than meandered through a series of jobs linked only by my often under-appreciated skill at finding the humor in any situation, and my audacity in writing about it.
So you might say I have a somewhat, ahem, diverse professional background, having had about three or four careers prior to writing fiction. The one trait that lends cohesion to them is that I have always been a writer and wrote a lot during my early careers. Then I became serious about it and went back to school. A few years later, armed with pair of degrees in journalism, I ventured into the lofty heights of academia with the intention of getting a Ph.D. in Journalism with an emphasis on communications law and regulation.
Alas, the techie side of me that I didnít know existed burst onto the scene and about a year and a half into my doctoral program, I abandoned my doctoral dissertation, which focused on the privatization and globalization of international telecommunications systems and the commercialization of outer space. I segued pretty easily into the aerospace, defense, and software security industries, where I spent the next twenty years working as a senior technical writer and editor. Even now, I canít completely abandon that world, so I keep my feet wet and my imagination churning by occasionally freelancing in the corporate security and intelligence worlds.
My first foray into publishing came when I was asked to ghost-write a business book for executives addressing corporate digital security. That project made me realize that, hey, writing books is fun! And having my name on the cover would be really cool!
A few years later, NAL, a division of Penguin Putnam, published two romances that I wrote, My Hero and Big Trouble. I thoroughly enjoyed writing those books and they provided a wonderful entrance into the world of being a "real" writer. It's a great buzz writing a happy ending in which two people fall in love and set their own world right.
When the opportunity to write high-tech eco-thrillers with a local celebrity serendipitously landed in my lap a few years ago, I took it. It's been great fun, especially when the paperback edition of our first book for Tor/Forge,Category 7, spent two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. I have to say, though,I am really enjoying the resumption of my solo career and being free to write about more than weather stories.
The experience of writing action, destruction, murder, and general mayhem has taught me a lot about my own strengths as a writer. It was a big change to go from writing happy endings that ended with a kiss to writing happy endings in which the world is not quite damaged beyond repair. But despite the dark edges of my thrillers, I still manage to sneak some of my snarky dark humor and witty repartee into them.
I'll continue writing both thrillers and more romantic fiction until I get bored
and between the drama in each day's headlines and the laughlines of everyday life, I can't imagine that ever happening again. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming releases.