My Favorite Dance Partner
I’d like you to meet my favorite dance partner and the main inspiration for The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress series, my husband, David Francis. He’s a US Navy veteran of two wars and worked on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
This photo was taken in the 1990s, as a promotion for our swing dance instruction classes we held in Phoenix, San Diego, and later, in Lockhart, Texas.
Why I Write
Like many writers who use fiction to act out or become things we dream, I used my characters Violet and June to be the kind of dancer I wished I could be. Because David was in the Navy and frequently deployed we had to squeeze in our dance practice and teaching when he was home. That coupled with two small children and no family living nearby, limited our opportunities.
I continued to teach with different partners and competed occasionally, but rarely got the chance to compete and build a competition platform. Although David loves to dance and teach, he’d never been fond of competition, but just like my characters in my novel, when you find someone you’re in sync with and have a connection with, it’s hard to dance with anyone else. With every homecoming, I couldn’t wait to get back on the dance floor with David.
Through June and Violet I became a competition winner, traveler and world class instructor. I let my characters take me to places dancing that I couldn’t go in real life. I hope they take you there, too.
As for my other writing, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, and poetry, I write because I’ve found that if I don’t have a creative outlet I fall into depression. I must create and writing (at least first drafts) is one of the lease expensive forms of creation I can do.
My Mother and Teacher
Every time I stand at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables, rolling out dough for cookies, or smashing garlic, I thank my mom. She made everything from scratch and patiently taught me how to stuff ravioli and season by taste. She was an inspiration. Her expertise helped guide me through countless vintage patterns when the directions just didn’t make sense. I have fond memories of her singing and dancing around the kitchen or living room when a song struck her rhythm. She was an old-fashioned homemaker who taught me not only how to cook and bake but to sew and live with gusto. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel the loss of her in this world.
My son and daughter, as they’ve gotten older have been instrumental in my writing. They patiently listen to me when I ask to read a story or scene to them, often coming up with something I’ve missed or an interesting new angle or idea. Ghostoria: Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright couldn’t have been done without them. They listened and critiqued each of my stories and at one point told me, “Mama, you’ve got to have a story that’s more bloody.” I wrote Ten Knives, just for them.
Friends, Dance Partners and Co-Workers
Many others have been my inspiration, encouraging and educating and sharing my love of vintage, dancing, and writing. A few are specific to the writing of my novels, but most are wonderful dancers who have shared their joy of dance with me on and off the dance floor.