MY GOAL IS TO CREATE STORIES that engage, move, and uplift readers. I want my protagonists to stumble and overcome against all odds – to be ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. As it turns out, life has dealt me a few of those.
My memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, describes the death of my 19-year-old daughter in a horse riding accident and the subsequent donation of Maya’s organs to strangers in need. Meeting the man who received Maya’s heart, and the story of our ensuing friendship, gives readers an inside look at how organ donation affects grief recovery. The book is a New York Times e-Book bestseller and was nominated for the Independent Publisher of the Year award.
A MISADVENTURE INSPIRES MY LATEST BOOK
My latest book is a novel about a midlife woman’s search for belonging. Clarissa Thomas, 57, leaves the suburbs to join a cohousing community in a gritty Oakland neighborhood. Midlife crises often provoke radical changes, but what happens when vision collides with reality? Co-opted: A Novel of Manners in Cohousing shows how grit and humor carry us through challenging times. Clarissa learns that dreams can have unintended consequences that help us land in a better place.
PROFESSIONAL AND CREATIVE LIFE
My poetry and essays have been published in several collections, including Creative Nonfiction’s anthology, At the End of Life, and This I Believe: On Motherhood. I have an MFA in creative writing from Mills College and have taught there as a visiting writer. I’m a member of the Author’s Guild and the San Francisco Writers Grotto, a community of writers where the hive energy inspires me.
THINGS I LOVE
Greatest joys: urban walks, Yoga, Zydeco dancing, and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order.
Favorite book: Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, or anything by Zadie Smith, Louise Erdrich, Ann Patchett, Orhan Pamuk, or Jonathan Franzen.
Favorite TV series: Claire Foy in “The Crown,” in which the young Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) have some memorable face offs.
Can’t live without: jasmine green tea, espresso, dark chocolate, good bread, and frequent hugs.