At about 14, I took my first writing job. I was a journalist for a small newspaper in BC. I made $5.00/week.
At 16, I wrote my first novel, took it to school to show my LA teacher and someone broke into my locker and stole the manuscript. This was before MS Word! I had typed it out on my mother's typewriter. The only copy. I was devastated.
When I graduated high school, I knew I needed a career that paid money...and I knew that a new writer--even published--doesn't make much. So off I went to hairdressing school. At the age of 23, I owned my own salon, becoming the youngest salon owner in BC at that time. And between cutting and perming, I wrote a Health & Beauty column for a military newspaper.
I got married and moved to the east coast. There, I took a Journalism & Short Story Writing course and graduated with Highest Honours and a 96% average. I went on to write another novel.
Shortly after my daughter was born, we moved to Vancouver, BC, and I became a motivational speaker for a well-known international company. Every week, I held 3-4 sessions where I spoke to hundreds of people. I was dedicated to helping them overcome certain obstacles in their lives. I loved this job--and it became a way of life for me and it also involved writing. I loved seeing people transform, seeing their lives so enriched, and it challenged me to be a better speaker every week.
After almost 2 years with this company, I had some health issues plus another opportunity, and I made one of the hardest decisions of my life. I decided to leave Vancouver, and my job, and my family moved to Edmonton, AB. Before I left, everyone from one of my weekly sessions gathered together and gave me a going away party. I was very torn between wanting to stay and continuing to help motivate these people or leaving.
The move to Edmonton turned out to be the best thing--for me and my husband. After homeschooling my daughter for a year, I decided to go into home childcare so I could stay at home with her. At the same time, I wrote 2 children's picture books and illustrated them. I had them printed and bound into prototypes, but was unable to find a publisher. I continued with childcare for over 15 years.
During the last 5 years of this career, I began a childcare consulting business and then wrote and published The Edmonton Childcare Directory. This lasted a year. Then I wrote a romance novel and newsletters about my dayhome. I sent the latter to all our neighbors. And in the back of my mind, I kept saying, 'When I grow up, I want to be an author.'
I quit childcare and went on to be a Pampered Chef consultant. I really enjoyed the parties and cooking in front of people. I loved it. I loved visiting with adults. I was still doing this when I wrote my first novel, but once it took off, I quit Pampered Chef.
I am now a full-time author with 3 bestsellers--Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention. And I couldn't be happier. I am doing something that makes me feel so fulfilled, so...me. I am never short for ideas. I have a list of books I want to write.
I live in Edmonton now, where I am considered to be a bit of a "celebrity". It is fun seeing my name and photo on the front cover of a newspaper or watching myself on TV or listening to a radio interview. But even that little natural 'high' is nothing compared to the joy I feel when I complete a book. Or when I hear back from fans.
I always used to say, 'When I grow up, I want to be an author.' I guess you could say... I finally grew up. :)
I invite you to check out my novels. If you read and review any of them, please let me know and I'll write about it on my blogs and link to your site/blog.