I was raised in Winter Park, Florida, where we lived on a lake. It was a Purple gallinule that started my interest in wildlife and eventually my love of all animals with the exception of palmetto bugs—big roaches. Our Purple gallinule, named Big Foot, came back for five years in a row, padding in and out of our kitchen at will for handouts.
After high school and a failed attempt at being a bank teller, I moved to Miami and went to work as a flight attendant for National Airlines. In 1980, Pan American Airways bought that company and I worked for PAA for another 9 years. About midway through my flying career I came to my senses and realized that if I was ever going to do anything else, I needed an education. At age 33, I enrolled in the University of Miami to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, specializing in ornithology—the study of birds. It was an accidental encounter with an abandoned dog that launched my “writing career.” After finishing my 8 years of undergraduate studies, I went to graduate school and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. My goal then became to move someplace where I would never be hot again. I now live on the chilly coast of northern California with my thirty-year-old parrot and way too many cats. I share my three-acre, forested space, as graciously as I can, with skunks, possums, raccoons, an occasional black bear and a mountain lion. A single (and I hope it stays that way) Little Brown bat has lived in the rafters of bathroom for the last seven years sleeping (thankfully) directly above the sink.
I wouldn’t want to hurt my parrot’s feelings, but I think my favorite pet of all time was an albino Red Rat snake named Rosie. If I could come back as an animal I would like to return as a Turkey vulture. Some one else kills your food for you and the rest of the time you get to ride thermals of warm air with your friends. Birds, flying, and friends, what more could one ask for?