I thought you might be interested in learning how I came to be a mystery writer. My work has grown out of my interest in relationships and the central role they play in our lives. Be it with our friends, children, partners, strangers, our community, the earth or oneself – the quality of your interactions will go a long way in determining your satisfaction with your life.
We all are affected by the parenting we received and the circumstances that surrounded us. I grew up in a loving family in New York, but I had a rocky experience with school. I rarely found myself engaged in my classes. I liked being with my friends, and some of the teachers, but the longer I went to school the less value I found in it.
My parents moved to California during my teen years. I studied hard enough to eventually enroll at UCLA. Not knowing what to major in, I signed up for a Psychology class and discovered a more interactive learning environment. The professor often had us break into dyads and small groups and discuss various issues. Being encouraged to learn from each other and not just the teacher really engaged me. At one point I looked at the professor and decided I wanted his job. I too wanted to make education relevant and involving.
I realized to get his job I needed to go to graduate school and get a doctorate. So, I did. Unfortunately, during all the years I studied psychology there were still very few classes that caught my full attention. But I had discovered what an experiential teacher could provide, and I wanted to create my own classrooms where students could learn about themselves and being with others. I figured the more you knew about yourself and your interactions with others the better it would be for all.
After graduate school I opened a private practice that I continue to this day. In my professional life I have also been the Co-Director of a Substance Abuse Program and the Clinical Director of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. Yet, wanting to inspire others the way I had been inspired I really wanted to teach. I was able to become a member of the faculty at the California School of Professional Psychology and at Antioch University in Los Angeles. After a while, I was appointed the Chair of the Graduate Psychology Program at Antioch both in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. I taught students how to do therapy and find their way into their career.
The more I studied and taught psychology the clearer it became to me that relationships are the foundation of who we are and what we do. During this time, I wrote The Relationship Training Manual for Men and The Relationship Training Manual for Men* *Women's Edition. Initially I wrote a book just for men because I thought that in order for a relationship to improve it was important for the man to be on board and that’s not always easy. The more I wrote to the men the more I realized that it was equally important for women to hear and understand the conversation. So, using the men’s version as a foundation, I added commentaries for women to consider along with some techniques for improving relationship. As I wrote it became increasingly clear that it didn’t matter if the relationships were woman to woman, man to man or woman to man, or any other type of intimate relationship, the fundamentals of caring communication held firm.
One day I got a call from a colleague who was working at a private school who asked me to come and meet the Head of the School. I really wasn't all that interested. But she persisted and I was intrigued.
The Head of the School wanted me to be in charge of “Betterment.” I had never heard the word before, but I had an idea what it meant. He told me he had heard very positive comments about the program I oversaw at Antioch and thought I would be able to help make things better at his school. I couldn’t refuse the challenge.
Eventually he decided my title ought to be the Director of Counseling Services for the Upper School (9th-12th grade). In this capacity I met with a lot of parents, students and teachers and did my best to make things better for them. Having raised my own child and having learned from the students and parents I encountered I was able to write Parenting Your Teen: A Relationship Training Manual.
The relationship books launched me into writing. I’ve always read mysteries. I particularly enjoyed series as it’s nice to always have another book to look forward to plus you can follow the main and supporting characters from book to book as they take on the new challenges that life brings. When I stopped classroom teaching, I found that I still wanted to help others and facilitate making lives better. I thought writing a fictional mystery series would provide me the chance to weave the lessons I’ve learned and taught into a new format that others could not only enjoy, but, hopefully, grow and learn from. I want my readers to enjoy the adventures my sleuth encounters and along the way pick up some therapy tricks-of-the-trade to help them with their lives and relationships all while bringing a smile to their countenance.
Ever wonder what is the secret to life? Many people have. If you’re interested in learning what some others have thought, I’ve put together a site dedicated to the subject. Click here.