The McNeal Family
(I'm the little critter on Pop's knee)
I grew up in a home without television. My father believed that television would take away our resourcefulness. Once in a while my mother would find some old beat up TV for ten dollars and my two sisters and I would wallow in the wonder and awe of Disneyland. But, alas, as soon as the TV met it electronic end, we would return to our main source of entertainment--reading.
But even before I could read, I was off in a world of adventure that existed only in my imagination. So I told stories about these imaginary adventures. I remember when I was four years old telling my grandfather a story about rabbits who lived in heaven and came to earth sometimes to visit little children.
After I learned to write, I put my stories to paper and have been writing ever since. I don't think I could stop writing if I believed that I would never be published. I guess like so many other writers, I'm driven to do this thing that brings me such joy--storytelling. And the most wonderful thing about writing a story is when someone tells me that they loved reading it.
I may never have thought of writing as a career until my high school English teacher, Thomas Freeman, announced to the entire class that he thought I had the ability to become a professional writer. With a mixture of pride and embarrassment, I sank into my chair with a red face. But a little spark ignited in my spirit that day.
My father, ever the practical scientist, believed that a writing career was totally impractical. He felt the only career that would provide a steady income was in medicine. So I became a registered nurse. In gratitude, I have never been without a job or means to make a living. Mostly, it gave me fuel and substance for my stories.
I struggled for years learning how to write by taking classes and by writing one story after another. I learned by trial and error, by pure determination and persistence.
I have had my fair share of rejections. I got my first rejection when I was thirteen years old. In spite of rejection, I just couldn't stop writing down my imaginary tales. That little spark has grown into a blaze that cannot be put out. Putting words to paper or cyber "paper" brings me a joy and satisfaction that nothing else can.
And, if I'm having a really bad day, I can get into my story and kill off a character. (:
I have five published short stories and one nonfiction piece. I also help write a monthly newsletter from the emergency department.
LAKE OF SORROWS is my debut novel was bought by NCP and is now edited and reissued with Publishing by Rebecca Vickery. It's actually the second book in the Legends of Winatuke series.
I also wrote about a man who died too soon and a woman who risks everything to go into the past to save him. It's an almost true story about the man I inherited my violin from, my beautiful Uncle John.
When I'm not hunched over the keyboard, I like to play my violin, my bagpipes or my harmonica. I also have a sweet kitty, Liberty and my wonderful golden retriever, Lily. Just this year on February 13, I lost my darling golden retriever, Kate. I miss her still. On the same day, an hour later, my oldest sister, Marlene whose nickname was Snookie, also died. Acorn, my big yellow kitty with a big voice died February 4, 2010. I still have my older sister, Mary and my nieces and nephews and I am grateful for them.
I retired from the Emergency Room in 2009. It was quite an experience working there over the last 17 years. I worked Coronary Care and Critical Care before that--42 years of nursing altogether. I have found a wealth of fodder for stories and characters from my long experience in nursing. But now, I am living my dream--writing. Although I've been writing all these years, now I can spend all the time I want developing new stories, creating interesting characters and communing with other authors who have a passion for the pen.