While growing up on a remote Oregon farm, I inherited a love of books and writing from both my parents. In between moving irrigation pipe, caring for livestock, hauling hay and various other agricultural activities, I found time to read voraciously, clearing out whole sections of libraries within weeks.
My first attempt at fiction happend at age nine, when I handed in an alarmingly violent pirate tale as a fourth-grade assignment. I also completed a gothic romance novel before graduating from high school, an effort which has mercifully, been lost in the mists of time.
During this period, I had the opportunity to visit my mother’s family in Germany several times. It was during one of these visits that I first came upon some of the historical anecdotes that eventually inspired the Desolate Empire series.
Writing took a back seat for many years as I went to college for a history degree, studied abroad, traveled all over Europe, received an MBA, got married and finally settled into a job at a big bank. At that point, I started writing again for fun, though completing an entire book seemed like a distant dream.
Life then took some unexpected and tragic turns. Within a few years, I lost my job, my health, and my husband to an untimely heart attack. Writing was very far from my mind as I regrouped for several years.
But when I met my second husband, a truck driver, he encouraged me to write while he drove me all over the country. My first effort was a joint one: we wrote a non-fiction book about online dating and self-published it. It’s safe to say it was a flop, since we had no clue about launching or marketing such a beast. In spite of that, we have a second book in the pipeline and might even publish it someday.
Once I got the the creative juices flowing, I was ready to try my hand at fiction again. I’d heard of NaNoWriMo, but the idea seemed daunting. I first tried it in 2012, when I tried for inexplicable reasons to write a romance novel. The novel was a complete failure, but I learned that writing a bit every day generated some serious results. By the following year, I was ready to pursue a project that had been in my head and heart for decades and an early version of Rise of the Storm was born.
I still had a lot to learn, and after absorbing numerous books on craft, I reworked the entire concept, going from historical fiction to historical fantasy. I loved the idea of being able to compress timelines, skip over boring or confusing events and ultimately, have complete control over a world I had created.
Rise of the Storm, the first in a project five-part series, is based upon the early days of the Thirty Years War and the Protestant Reformation. It has loose underpinnings in real events and real people, but is mostly a product of my imagination. It is followed by Valley of the Shadow and Hammer of the Gods. Book four of the series- Winter of the Wolf- will by published by the end of 2016.