Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Playing in a church guitar group changes my life!

My PENNY PINCHERS column was a success, but I wasn't sure I wanted to syndicate it as my editor was pressing me to do. To be honest, I was growing weary of using my kitchen as a laboratory to try out new recipes, driving to speaking engagements all over the Peninsula, and answering dozens of letters every week. All for very little pay and a great deal of invested time! Although my first try at writing a murder mystery novel had provided me with enough rejection slips to paper my office, I couldn't quite squelch the desire to try it again.

I think I mentioned earlier that I taught folk guitar through a local adult education program, and in my basement home studio. A love for music was a close second behind a passion to write. This turned out to be an unexpected blessing when I joined a guitar band that played folk masses at my church. There were about five or six of us in the group, including a young woman who would become my best friend and writing collaborator: Nancy Hersage. Have you ever met someone you immediately clicked with, like you've known them forever? That's how it was with my husband, Bob, and with the newest member of our guitar group. It didn't hurt that Nanc had a little boy the same age as our youngest son, Chris, and that the two toddlers bonded as instantly as did their moms, or that she was dedicated to writing plays. We quickly got into the habit of meeting at each others' homes every week to work on various writing projects, while the two boys played and got into every conceivable sort of mischief.

As Nanc worked on her plays, I devoted most of this time to writing a second murder mystery, this time featuring a Gestalt psychiatrist with a Freudian-minded side kick. When Nancy became pregnant with twin girls, however -- and I was rapidly acquiring enough rejection slips on the new book to paper yet another room -- we started to play around with the idea of writing a book together. This venture, which no one took seriously but us, miraculously went on to become our first published work of fiction!

(Coming Friday: PLEASE STAND BY -- YOUR MOTHER'S MISSING. Literally!)


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