The reality is that I began writing back in 1990, which gives me experience of 23 years now and puts me about 25 years ahead of the launch of the paintings of Grandma Moses whose art popularity began in her late 70s. However, she was known as an individual successfully beginning a career at an advanced age who inspired housewives, widows and retirees, so she's definitely not a bad person to be compared to. Then when you factor in her fame and the millions of dollars she made, I should be so lucky. Therefore, I'll just consider those comparisons as what they were intended to be, compliments.
When I first began writing, I wrote poetry. Poems would come to me, completely intact, usually in the wee hours of the morning.. I could never simply sit down and create a poem because I wanted to. A few of them were published, but it wasn't long before my writing evolved into short stores and articles, mostly in the law enforcement genre.
Then my writing took a huge turn in 1994 when I wrote an angry and cathartic article after a citizen telephoned my husband, the chief of police, while he was home on sick leave following abdominal surgery. We live at 8000 feet in the Colorado mountains and this happened at night in the midst of a blinding blizzard. As I watched my husband gingerly dress into street clothes and summon one of his officers to drive him downtown to the police department, merely to negotiate a petty complaint about another officer, I opted to sit down and express my fury on paper. I was livid because this little matter could easily have been settled over the phone. Afterwards, I put my quasi-editorial away and didn't see it again for months. At that time, I read it once more with every intention of pitching it into the trash and decided, instead, that it was pretty darn good.
Though I've had chapters in a few anthologies, my first book "We Are Different Now" was born when our 21-year-old grandson, Pete, fell 100 feet from a mountain ledge to the canyon floor below in the pitch black of night while celebrating July 4, 2010. He died instantly from a skull fracture and he was the apple of my eye. After that, I simply could not longer journal, though I'd done it daily for many years. My emotions swung like a pendulum between numb and blinding grief. Seeking solace, I could not find any books to help grandparents cope with such sorrow, so my daughter, Pete's mother, suggested that I just sit down and write something every day about what I was feeling and later put it into a book. It took me 16 months after Pete's death before I could even start and that is when I regretted the fact that I did not journal the whole experience. It also took another full year to finish what turned out to be my manuscript.
Via PSWA I had my manuscript reviewed by Keith Bettinger, who is an author, retired police officer and a grief counselor with many years of experience. He told me that my book absolutely needed to be available, so I submitted it to Oak Tree Press and it was accepted. To my surprise and delight, my book has crossed over from my original target readers and is going to sell to people of all ages and in all walks of life, whether they've experienced such a loss in their own life or not. Pete wrote poetry and he was also a talented artist. Perhaps Grandma Moses and Pete are up there plotting the course of my book together.