One of the best gifts I’ve ever received came from one of my teachers in the 7th grade.  Mrs.  Linda Baird, God rest her soul, noticed that I was, uh, a bit less than attentive during her English lessons.  I think the only thing that kept me out of the principal’s office was the fact that I earned all A’s in all my subjects.  Yes, the class nerd, that was me.

Anyway, instead of punishing me, Mrs. Baird called my mother and the two of them had a heart to heart and concluded that I was bored.  To add extra challenge, I was given a list of books that I was required to read before the end of the semester.  They also decided that I was to meet with Mrs Baird, one on one during my study hall, to discuss my thoughts about what I’d read.  That semester, Mrs. Baird opened up a whole new world for me and began my lifelong passion with books.  She’s passed on now but I hope that she realizes the impact that she had on this particular student.

So, what did we read?  Harlequin Romances, Historicals, Regency.  I discovered the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes.  I still have nightmares when I read “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.  Mama didn’t know, well for that matter, neither did Mrs. Barron, at least not until much later,  about Sidney Sheldon’s “The Other Side of Midnight”.  And neither of them knew about Xavieria Hollander’s “The Happy Hooker”,  so let’s just keep that one our little secret, okay?

I like figuring out puzzles and tinkering with ideas and the how’s and why’s of things.  So, it was a natural progression for me to fall in love with books of suspense and thrillers.  My library is full of an eclectic mix of authors including Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Kay Hooper, Jim Butcher, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, James Patterson, Dean Koontz and Steven King, Caleb Carr, Terry McMillan, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tananarive Due, Octavia Butler, Brandon Massey, and Walter Mosley and countless others.  This list is nowhere near inclusive, after all, I am typically reading 2-3 books at any given time, but these are the ones that I turn to over and over again.

I’m certain that my writing style has been influenced by these amazing authors.  My writing content is probably strongly influenced by my day job.  I am a mental health therapist with nearly 20 years experience.  Every time I think I’ve heard it all, someone new walks into my office.  My work tends to be character driven, with heroes and heroines with real life flaws and weaknesses but through tests and external conflicts, they discover a hidden strength and courage they had never had.

Kind of like me!