I’m often asked why I write, what got me started. Until now, I didn’t have a clear answer. I’ve always had an active imagination and a passion for words. I wrote my first book in kindergarten - a ghost story complete with my trademark terrible artwork. All through grade school, I loved doing the phonics workbooks which were then sold in every supermarket. They went by grade levels and I was always at least one ahead. Later, I wrote the tormented poetry of adolescence. I also wrote a few short stories and essays.
Then came a full-time job, moving out on my own, marriage, and two children. My busy new life took over and the silly pen-and-paper ramblings of my youth were put aside. But I never truly stopped creating. I would lie in bed for hours, creating elaborate fictional worlds in my mind. (Even then, it was always some form of suspense, often with murder mysteries involved.) It simply never occurred to me that I should turn these all night sessions into a novel.
My turning point came the day my big brother issued a challenge. He’d choose a topic I had to write about. I could pick the form - poetry, essays, or short stories. Then, after I’d completed my challenge, I’d send it to him along with my own challenge for him. This was in 1993, before the Internet and email took over the universe. He’d moved to Ohio years before and neither of us is particularly good about phone calls. (Me especially!) We share a love of words and writing. I needed no persuading.
These challenges reminded me how much I love to write. Eventually, my brother’s job grew more demanding and he stopped responding to the challenges. But he’d reawakened my desire to create and that is what launched my writing career. Not long afterward, I sat down and unintentionally wrote the beginning of what became my first novel.
Incidentally, my big brother’s name is Joe Cornwall and he’s quite brilliant. He’s a writer, as well, though he puts his words together to form nonfiction. He has written a book called Fly Fishing Warm Water Rivers. If you like to fish, or know someone who does, you really should check it out. You can find it on his website: Fly Fish Ohio