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 currently off contract as I re-write and look for a new home for it.
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.
I am a member of Defenders of Wildlife and I hope you consider joining as well.