Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, who has worked on many high profile cases including the Jack-in-the-Box e-coli litigation in the mid-nineties and the largest cattle fraud in the United States. People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, which has allowed me a unique perspective on the human psyche. I write with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. I’m also a wife of over thirty years, have raised two boys and enjoy the most adorable baby grandson on the planet.
What is your favorite Bible Verse: translation too please? Why?
“They have seen the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:24 NAS
Like many, my life has taken unexpected and sometimes frightening twists and turns. At those times, only God can provide comfort and security. And, it’s in those events where you glimpse His majesty.
What was your inspiration to write Mother of Pearl?
Although this story is not entirely hers, the idea for Mother of Pearl was sparked when a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl promised to pray for my new writing career. The last thing she said to me was “I’ll ask Jesus to get you published.” I didn’t know then she’d ask him face-to-face.
How much of Mother of Pearl comes from your personal experience?
I don’t think a novelist can be an effective storyteller without laying parts of herself all over the pages of her book. People who know me best will see some of my characteristics in Barrie Graeber, particularly in her tenacious spirit. Some of my marriage struggles show up in Barrie and Steve’s relationship. Certainly, the trial reflects my earlier professional life. (I’ve definitely encountered the likes of the opposing counsel, Jake Preston, in more than one courtroom experience)
How much research did Mother of Pearl take?
At the center of this story is the too often recurring issue of inappropriate relationships between educators and underage students. I met with an extraordinary woman, Sherry B. Bithell, Ed.D, author of Educator Sexual Abuse, a Guide for Prevention in the Schools, Tudor House Publishing. Dr. Bithell’s work was cited in a U.S. Government study report on this issue, which I read cover-to-cover. I also met with educators, counselors and coaching staff at a local high school. In addition, I pulled and read numerous court cases, both criminal and civil.
What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Mother of Pearl?
I learned that more than 620,000 convicted sex offenders are either incarcerated, on probation, or residing freely in localities across the nation. Sadly, many of these offenders show up in our education system in roles (like coaches) where they have access to minors.