I started to write before age four, at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, a Catholic boarding school in Felixstowe, Suffolk, England. An immense, gray barrage balloon, set up in a local park in anticipation of WWII, fascinated me. I wrote a poem about it of which I can still recall two lines:
It was so very, very big I thought it was a flying pig.
Rudimentary (at least it scans!), but the local newspaper, the Felixstowe HERALD, published it and launched my writing career. From that day forward, I wrote whenever I could.
Many years later, at 35, with a career as an employee and then a freelance writing advertising, PR, speeches and other promotional materials in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry, I realized that I wanted to write more—much more. I had started flying in the Royal Navy and loved flight in all forms so I edited and published for a friend his autobiography on soaring (WINNING On the Wind, by world champion George Moffat) and edited three other books on soaring, with my own publishing company, The Soaring Press, between 1975 and 1979. It sold 40,000 books.
I wanted to write fiction (I define fiction as describing people who never existed doing things that never happened, not exotic-autobiography/lurid-memoir masquerading as ‘fiction’—popular ‘literary’ forms today, and most serious readers should know who the authors are).
I wrote my first novel in 1977, SIERRA SIERRA, about soaring (gliding), describing a double-world-record (height, distance) flight in the Western U.S. in a sailplane, Alcor, built by Bob Lamson of Mercer Island, Washington. The characters and events were 100% fictional. I wrote it between three and eight AM daily in nine months while working 60+ hours a week as a freelance writer—a challenging trade—to support my family of five. The book was a success, published by Wm. Morrow in 1978 (edited there by the late, great and decent man, editor-in-chief Howard Cady). I wrote a second novel, SIMIA, about reverse evolution and the theatre to honor my two-book Morrow contract. They rejected the book; my agent rejected me.
Since 1978 I’ve written five novels while freelancing full-time: LULU, CHAMELEON, SIMIA (a trilogy—the unfinished SALON would complete a quartet), A FULL ACCOUNTING and THE RED PRINCESS (under the pen name Julia Wood), plus three nonfiction books, PERSONAL ENERGY: Get It, Share It, Win with It; SHOW ME THE MONEY: How to Earn a Living as a Writer, and STRIKE: The U.S. Naval Strike Warfare Center, published by Ballantine, and started a novel about Japan—KK.
I also write a nonfiction book about neural-network computers for Arbor House. The book was abandoned when Arbor House was acquired by Wm. Morrow.
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