My two works of fiction are A Garden for Allegra and Composing Molly. They are available to order on amazon.com.
Both of these novels are generally considered light-hearted romantic comedy. It is hard to fit them into an exact category, (and as a character Molly definitely defies description) but one could say they are ‘coming of age’ stories.
Even at that, all ages of both men and women have enjoyed them; even the youngest readers have found something they couldn’t wait to tell me about or write me about, while older readers just enjoy being able to relax with a some old-fashioned story-telling.
Now for the long version….
I would describe my style as an observant, compassionate humorist. Life can be awkward, people can be funny; we all need just a good laugh now and again. My stories are character driven; I come from a long line of characters, and I feel quite comfortable in the presence of harmless quixotry, absurdity, and eccentricity. While these books are considered ‘romantic’, avoidance of pretense and sentiment was a priority. Formulaic solutions were studiously avoided, when possible. (except for happy endings; we all want the formula for THAT.)
Ultimately, I write about finding that sense of place, of belonging. Of being loved and appreciated for our differences as much as for what connects us to what we call community or family.
So while you could call them love stories, what I choose to write about is the best kind of love; love that is more about giving than taking, more about reality than romance, and a love that puts us in the best place we could possibly be.
Part of the inspiration for my writing comes from the fact that I am an avid reader myself, like my first main character, Allegra. When you are a small child with a large imagination, and spend many hours alone with books, it is hard to describe the wonderful effects these stories can have on your life and how they mold your thinking.
The internet being what it is, one could say ‘I was reading Tolstoy and Chekhov by the age of seven and Knew Then I Would Be A Writer’, but the truth is, I was more powerfully influenced by Anne of Green Gables and Through the Looking Glass, and by my mother quoting Elizabeth Barrett Browning with tears in her eyes (over a steaming sink of dirty dishes while I dried).
In making my own contribution to the world of stories and character, my aim was to create a placeholder in time, where readers would feel good while there and not want to leave; to create a believable, likeable, loveable character. And, it must be admitted, watching ‘Clockwise’ with John Cleese, gave me the inspiration for Ethel, the eccentric housekeeper. (but her hatred for slugs is all mine)
A vintage ‘B’ movie named ‘Margie’, starring Jeanne Crain, provided part of my inspiration for Allegra and Andre.
Many real life events are woven into the books. A funny snippet overheard at a party becomes fodder for two pages of dialogue, for example; an intensely passionate desire to play Rachmaninov well is embarrassingly real, and scenes like the moles in the well, the German homesteaders, and the frustrating inability to hold your own against a pushy salesperson while shopping in an impoverished haze of dreams, all are drawn from real experiences. Many of Mrs. Hornsby’s colorful expressions came straight from my mother, who immediately credited them to HER mother. (naturally)
So there you are. If you are new to the slightly madcap world of Allegra and Molly, I hope you try them out. And I hope you love them. Or at least feel good while reading. That was the point.
Readers comments on A Garden for Allegra:
“Charming, witty, delightful–I didn’t want it to end.” B. Dupaquier
“Allegra’s world is a unique place where you can set your watch by afternoon tea, lose yourself in an abandoned garden, or be romanced by a botanist with a working knowledge of Latin….” J. Gunz
“It’s not just a delightful story or book–it reaches the heart..” S. Longwood
“Like a cup of warm tea, ‘A Garden for Allegra’ is an endearing story that warms your heart. Our charming heroine is witty and intelligent, bringing to mind other classic characters such as Anne of Green Gables and Jo of Little Women. It’s a love story simple and true that is bound to be an instant personal favorite.” M. Weir
“I was reluctant to leave the warm, funny, inviting world of ‘A Garden for Allegra’. I’d like to live there!” C. Griffis
“Allegra’s particular personality traits as relates to the animate and inanimate are well worth reading. Any character who aspires to wordsmithing and flora properly identified with Latin names will always delight. Allegra brings out the intellectual and the twit within us all. Refreshing!” K. Roberts
“Exquisitely enchanting!” P. Stover
“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book. The characters were so wonderful. It reminded me of some of my favorite Austen novels. The story line was so delightful and so involving. I keep a personal journal of memorable passages or thoughts from different novels that I have read. Yours has supplied several pages into my journal.” G. Smerchansky
“I loved ‘A Garden for Allegra’! I want to read it again and again…” S. Brainard
“I read it fast. Then I read it slow….I was captivated by the image of Allegra writing around a dozing lady bug–it’s one I will never forget. ‘Treasure’….is that word overdone?” K. Pendergast
“…a charming, quaint, loveable story….your descriptive passages touched me deeply.” N. Delaney
“I just finished reading ‘A Garden for Allegra’, and you can consider this official fan mail. Actually, I think devoured is a better word than read!” M. Grimm
“Just a note to say thank you for such a wonderful book and story. ‘A Garden for Allegra’ was one of the best books I have ever read. It caught my attention from the first page and kept me intrigued through til the very end. The characters and story line were beautifully written. Thank you. Please let me know of another book you write.” C. Paulsen
“I just had to let you know how much my family and I enjoyed ‘A Garden for Allegra’. My two daughters and I all read it, individually, and found it to be so entertaining. I especially liked it that the heroine is intelligent, polite, but has a good sense of self….I’m sure we will be reading this book many times over as we do our other ‘classics’. Do you think you will be writing a sequel? We’d love it if Allegra could go on and on in the manner of Anne of Green Gables.” D. Leverton
“…This is more than a romance novel. ‘A Garden for Allegra’ is about the decay of manners in this century and intellectual drought in an agriculturally fertile region.” –From a press report [‘I swear I did not make this one up!‘ RR]