I grew up in a small town in Northern California, a town I used to think was a little too small but was a comfort, too. Grass Valley was a place I fell in love with over the years, a place I felt safe. One California place I loved to visit while growing up was Fort Bragg, a small coastal town in Mendocino County. There is something peaceful about the ocean with its feeling of oblivion that washes the stresses of life away. My family lived there for a few years before we moved to Grass Valley, the foothills that I would call home for over 30 years.
Travel was a part of life that I longed to explore. My first trip outside the US was to Ireland. Its Northern Coast is one of the most beautiful places I have seen so far: the people, the food. One of my favorite book series, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever books, uses Ireland as its location, so I had to visit. I loved everything about it; it touched a piece of my soul. The myths, the legends — it really is a magical place.
That is why my first book’s location is Greece. I looked at pictures of the beautiful structures and wondered what it would have been like to live in that era and see them being built like Zeus’ temple, and the Acropolis. I took a trip to Greece and found the roots of Behind the Mirage. My novel is based in the neighborhood of Plaka. I chose it for its picturesque homes, overflowing flowers, and quaint shops. I wrote the novel to feel the atmosphere inside those places. After I visited Greece, my life took a drastic turn. I lost my job. The silver lining? With the time I had gained, I was able to finish Behind the Mirage.
There are always one or two teachers who open your mind to the possibilities of discovering different worlds. For me, it was my sixth grade English teacher and my senior high English teacher. I learned to love Greek mythology and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream for the way they told the stories; they showed the story, not just told it.
It took me over twenty years to finish my first novel. Why? Life got in the way, as it normally does; life was about riding the ocean one wave at a time. Over the years, though, I've written screenplays, filling countless notebooks cover to cover. Behind the Mirage started out as a screenplay, but I decided it could be better as a novel. Transforming the story to a novel changed it completely.
I have filled notebooks front to back and have countless Word documents on my computer and folders on my thumb drive. I sometimes consider it all organized chaos. But like Lex, the hero of my book, I choose to follow my dreams, no matter where they take us both. I won’t say that it was easy. I hope to share my worlds with those who are willing to discover them with me.