I never meant to be a writer. I studied biology in college because I wanted to be a doctor - preferably one of those doctors who's always jetting off to villages in Africa to save thousands of lives in a single weekend. But life intervened during my last semester of college, when I chose a class in creative writing.
From the moment I sat down to write, I became completely absorbed in my work. While I was writing, seven hours could pass like seven minutes. To the horror of my parents, I abandoned the idea of medical school to become a writer, promising that, if I didn't get to be rich or famous in, oh, a year or so, I'd let common sense rule and find a real career.
Of course, none of that happened. A year went by. Two. Then more. As I became even more engrossed in the writing process, I did what all writers do to support my secret habit: I worked a thousand odd jobs, from proofreading telephone books (really) to construction. I kept writing, filling up the corners of my life and lots of paper with words.
Then one day, as I was driving home from the grocery store, a title floated across the windshield of my car: The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter. After I finished laughing, my mouth went dry. I knew I had the title of my first book, which sets out to answer this question: How did my father, a career Navy man, end up on a farm with 9,000 gerbils?