I always loved the written word. As a child growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, I delighted in hearing favorite stories. Reading them myself heightened the joy. And then I could write!
My earliest published effort was a mimeographed sixth grade newspaper. In high school, I followed Daddy’s advice to prepare for a “suitable career” for a woman of the times. Opting to learn secretarial skills, I found typing a breeze. Shorthand wasn’t ! Panicked, I went to the office and begged to be transferred to another class, any other class. I landed in journalism.
Coincidence? NO, I don’t believe in coincidences. It was providence.
As a senior, I co-managed the school newspaper and applied to Stephens College because it had a good journalism department and a stable of 50 horses! I love horses as much as reading and writing, so my out of class time was divided between the journalism lab fulfilling duties as editor of Stephens Life and riding horses.
Upon graduation, I parked my typewriter to marry Richard Willman. For several years, wife and mother was a full time job. I herded four children and our horses, dogs and cats through several moves . We called Austin and Harlingen TX, Joplin and Kearney MO and Lincoln NE home before landing in Claremore OK, and putting on the brakes. Richard left Sears retail management to buy a feed and farm supply store. It was a family operation – Mom and Pop plus the kids, and even the basset hound worked there.
I thought about writing a contemporary romance. I wrote a few chapters, stopped, started, stopped. Then we sold our business and I returned to journalism. For nine years, I wrote everything from obituaries and feature articles to crime stories for the Claremore Daily Progress.
Next I felt called to work in my church where I continued to write and edit the newsletter and bulletins. Working in the Lord’s house may have saved my life and certainly my sanity when my husband of 43 years died of chronic lung disease. Surrounded by people who loved God and loved me, I learned to live by myself.
When I retired, I trained as a docent at the Will Rogers Memorial and volunteering there led to writing and editing a docent newsletter. I also continued to freelance for the Claremore newspaper and magazines and think about that novel. The story evolved into a Christian romance and I was serious enough about it to attend writing conferences and workshops.
Then, I got a surprise phone call from an acquaintance from feed store days. He, too, had lost his mate. Our friendship blossomed into love. Garlyn Cummins, the second love of my life, is also my best friend and sweet supporter of my writing projects.
Back to the keyboard, I finally finished the novel. Magnolia Monday is the first in a trilogy and I am now writing Tulips on Tuesday. Watch for it.