Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me
There’s an internet meme going around, Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me. So here goes.
1. I was baptized Catholic and then sent to Hebrew nursery school. (This wasn’t irrational whimsy. I was born to a Catholic-Jewish marriage.) Sticking with that theme, I subsequently attended a Jesuit university and then volunteered on a kibbutz in Israel.
2. Learning to read was hard for me. I’ve since learned that this was probably in part because I was about 6 months younger, on average, than my classmates, so they were a little ahead of me in terms of brain development. But it was also because rather than reading to me, my dad usually told me stories—in which I rescued Tarzan, I was Batman’s crime-fighting partner, I teamed up with John Carter of Mars, and so on. This, as you may imagine, made it very hard for me to get interested in reading lessons where the most exciting thing that happens is, “Sally sees Jane run.”
3. I never wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first few manuscripts in hopes of selling one and thereby paying off a bank overdraft, after which I had no intention of pursuing this as a career. After getting hooked on writing, then selling my first book (a romance novel called One Sultry Summer; Silhouette Books, 1989), then selling more books, I made at least two serious attempts to quit writing fiction, first in 1993 and again in 2003. It didn’t work either time, and by 2006, I resigned myself to my fate and have no serious plans to quit again.
4. I grew up at a kennel. After my parents bought their first house when I was about 5 years old, they started raising show collies, a pursuit they continued for about 15 years. As a little girl, I cleaned the kennels for $1/day. When I was 14, we left Illinois and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where my parents bought a large boarding kennel, and I worked there (for better pay) throughout my teenage years, and on-and-off in my twenties (whenever I was residing in Cincinnati).
5. I was horse-crazy as a girl and even had my own horse for a few years, when we lived out in the country on 5 acres. He was an orphaned pinto with an odd name, Beauhank, who–because he lived among all our collies–apparently thought he was a dog. He played with them, hung out with them, preferred to drink from their water buckets, and often tried to eat their food. When I later boarded him at a nearby stable, the staff asked me why he preferred dogs to other horses.
6. Places I’ve lived include: Palermo, Italy; London, England; Jerusalem, Israel; New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, D.C.. I’ve also lived short-term (1-3 months) in southwestern France, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and on a kibbutz (Kfar Blum) in northern Israel. I’ve backpacked twice through Western Europe, and I spent most of 1993 crossing Africa, end-to-end.
7. My lesser-known vices include: books about the British royal family; Elvis Presley movies; taramasalata (a pink salty-oily dip made with cod roe, which I wouldn’t dream of trying to convince anyone else to eat); music from The Archies, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family; and fashion photos of barrister Amal Alamuddin (whose wardrobe has been photographed a lot ever since teaming up with actor George Clooney).