My first career was as a school teacher. I taught high school English and was choral director. After nine years I decided to accept a position as a Youth and Family Minister, which I held for fifteen years.
For the last twenty+ years I have worked as a marriage and family therapist. I have served as the Clinical Director at the Christian Counseling Center of western Kentucky, the Treatment Director at Spirit Lake an alcohol and drug treatment facility. Currently I am practicing at the McKenzie Medical Center in McKenzie, TN.
Approximately six years ago I took a writing course with Long Ridge Writers and completed the course Breaking Into Print. It was then that I found a love for writing fiction. I’ve always been good at telling stories and fiction is all about having a story to tell and conveying it in an engaging manner.
That’s when I began to write a book whose main character is a rural woman living in northwest Tennessee, living on welfare, and raising her three grandchildren. Her name is Tucker. That book has now spawned four more books about Tucker and her family. Over 200,000 copies of the Tucker books have been downloaded and over 2,000 reviews have been posted on Amazon.
Then, in April of this year, the Senior Acquisitions Editor from Amazon Publishing sent me an email expressing interest in our partnering together. I really didn’t take it seriously, thinking it was some sort of scam. But after doing research and swapping a couple of emails with them, I realized this was the real deal.
Part of what the Editor said to me was: “I was intrigued by the unflinching look at Tucker and Ella’s family lives, and thought the characters were the perfect way to display the dichotomy between the two socioeconomic cultures and their shared struggles. I was also surprised at the skill and subtly of the writing. It’s not often that I read a novelist’s work that has a voice this secure, calm, and established. The customer reviews are fantastic – and I’d like to see the sales match the review intensity. With Amazon’s world class marketing and promotional acumen, I think we could take this series to a whole new level.”
Last month I signed a contract with Amazon who plans to re-launch the Tucker series in December of this year.
My motivation for writing the Tucker series began with a desire to help people who have had traumatic childhoods to read about a person they could identify with and they could see overcame all their troubles. I also wanted to challenge people’s judgmental view of the poor, to help them understand that some people are not poor by choice, to help them develop more empathy for the poor. But somewhere in the process of the sequels my motivation became purely personal. I love the characters I’ve created! They’ve taken on a life of their own. I’m fascinated to see how they deal with life.
Another gift God has given me is music. I am the Director of a thirty-five voice auditioned, community chorus. We have been in existence for seventeen years. Every year we put on about fifteen concerts. We travel to schools and churches throughout west Tennessee. It’s been our honor to sing at Walter Reed Army Hospital and the Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home in D.C., Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, V.A. Hospitals in Memphis and Asheville, N.C. We’ve toured in St. Louis and Atlanta. A special blessing for us is singing at St. Jude Children’s Hospital and LeBonheur Children’s in Memphis. And perhaps our favorite place to sing is The Baddour Center in Senatobia, MS, a residential community for mentally challenged adults.
I would love to hear from you! send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org