The book launch of Return To Me at Penguin Bookshop was a night of celebration — of my debut novel, but also of the people in my life who made stories matter, and who supported me along the way.
My mom, a former kindergarten teacher, always had a book in my hand, a story in my ear, and encouraged me to write. She read to me, often from the passenger seat of our family station wagon during long trips. Charlotte’s Web, Misty of Chincoteague, and Where The Red Fern Grows were the start of a lifelong passion.
Those of you who’ve been to one of the many dinners my parents have hosted, in every state we’ve lived, you know that there’s always a good story floating around the Skarada table, told by all of us, the best told by my brother, Doug, who, along with my dad, has a remarkable gift for suspense and humor. What you might not know is that my sister, Priscilla, reads every scene I write, as I write them, and prints and saves them all in a binder. Or that my mom always visits her grandchildren with her bag of books. Some grandmas bring cookies, my mom brings books. And cookies.
My college professor, Hilary Masters, was a huge inspiration to me. He cared about the craft, and he cared about writers. It didn’t matter to him if you were starting out or a seasoned novelist – he treated every writer with respect. It was during his year-long novel writing course that I wrote my first manuscript that later evolved into Return To Me. I only wish he had gotten a chance to read it.
And to my husband, who built this author site and toils endlessly to improve it, who cheers me along, and who secretly read my latest manuscript on a plane ride to CA. I can’t imagine taking this leap of faith without you.