One of the things I love about writing biography is that it gives me a reason to snoop into people’s lives. Truth is, I’m just plain nosy, and I love reading old letters and newspaper articles about people now long gone.
If it had been possible, I would have been born with a book in my hand. I have always loved to read, and I have always wanted to write. My first “literary effort” was a story about my then one-year old sister whom my mother had said was a messy baby. “Miss Messy of Messyville” never made the bestseller list, but it was appreciated by my mother, who loved and encouraged me to write more.
But back to writing biographies – handling the life story of another human being is a precious trust. Life is never simple, and people are fallible. When I read about “my person’s” foibles and opinions, I think about the time they lived in and the pressures they faced. I want my readers to see the people I write about in the time in which they lived and worked.
As a result of becoming a book author, I have gone places I would never have dreamed. I have met descendants of the U.S. presidents, including the eldest grandson of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, descendants of both Jefferson Davis and Rutherford B. Hayes, and, of course, the grandchildren of Frances Folsom Cleveland. I have been to Frances Cleveland’s alma mater, Wells College, and I have had the honor of representing my favorite ladies, Frances and Lou Henry Hoover, on C-SPAN. I have discovered a forgotten American hero – Charles Gates Dawes – whose story deserves to be told far and wide. Banker, soldier, statesman. He made more contributions to the economic growth and political stability of the United States than any of us are aware of.
Whichever one of my books you read, I hope you will share with me the joy and the journey of going back in time and seeing life from another person’s perspective.