Why I Write

Maybe my mother put me to bed too early, but I started making up stories and dramas when I was a very young kid in order to get to sleep. I would invent intricate plots with multiple characters, most often female. One would have brown hair, one would be blond, another dark-haired. That’s basically what I started out with in Private Faces, a multiple-woman-character story told in first person by Natalie, a portrait artist.

I was a mother, teacher and artist, but my writing career didn’t get going until I was in my forties, when I started to take writing courses at UC Berkeley Extension. There the instructor told me I couldn’t just tell stories about the family drugstore in Oklahoma— that I should try tying all the anecdotes together into a plot—then maybe someone would want to read it. That’s how The Wind Came Running came to be.

The Putneyville Fables grew out of my interest in animals, which was fueled by watching innumerable nature shows on public television, as well as caring for the family pets. I coupled my love of animals with my lifelong fascination with proverbs and sayings— in this case Aesop’s fables. Then I threw in the human factor, lots of intrigue about love affairs and family relations, which to me are the most fascinating aspects of life.

I have also written a collection of short stories called Foolish Girls and Reckless Women, to be published.

I love writing about women. I guess it’s because I know more about them than I know about anything else.

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