A rather bookish person by nature, I have always had very mentally taxing yet physically sedate hobbies. Take reading, writing and genealogy research, for example. There aren’t three things I love to do more, but not a lot of people share my enthusiasm.
I was reading long before I started school, and I spent many a late night as a child reading under the covers with a flashlight because I couldn’t put a book down. My grandfather fostered my interest in genealogy when I was in elementary school by showing me a very old family Bible from the 1800′s, and I was immediately hooked. My love of writing came directly from my grandfather who had quite the need to express himself in written form.
Of course I think all family history is interesting, but my mother’s side of the family immigrated to America from Russia in the early 1900′s and I find it particularly fascinating. They were actually Germans from Russia, a group of people who never considered themselves Russian. As a native Californian, I never learned about these Germans from Russia in any of my history classes. The only time I heard about them was when I was with my mother’s family members back in the Midwest. I made it a point to learn as much as I could about these people, how they ended up in Russia and why they finally left.
My paternal grandparents and their ancestors, on the other hand, had been in the United States for centuries. When my grandparents retired, their purchased land just north of San Diego where they planted, nurtured and harvested avocados. As a child, some of my fondest memories were at their home, also known as Ranchita Vida Nueva. I still have the sign in my living room along with some other relics from my past.
It occurred to me one day that I wanted to write a novel that used my grandparent’s avocado grove as a setting. Oh, and maybe I could include something about the German’s from Russia, too. And could it be a mystery? I love mysteries. Even now it sounds impossible, but it was my imagination and my book, so I figured I could use whatever I wanted for inspiration.
So there you have it: the inspiration for my mystery The House on Nordahl Road. It’s a completely fictional story that uses a beloved location and the general history of some of my ancestors to spin a tale of intrigue. As the publishing date grows closer, I’ll post more information about it on the Nordahl Road tab on my website.