I can’t remember when I began writing. I may have written my first story in the first grade. I had a wonderful first grade teacher, Miss Derman. She was an elderly woman, plump, with short hair and a gentle manner, yet she had complete control of the classroom. That was many years ago, back when children were generally obedient in school because they knew they’d get a spanking at home otherwise. But Miss Derman was also an author of children’s books, and I read every one of them. For some reason she adored me and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
In high school, I had a reputation for creativity and originality, which came as quite a surprise to me. I remember one assignment I’d been given. I was cast as the Lady Olivia in our high school production of Twelfth Night, and all of us were instructed to write our auto-biography from our character’s point of view. Most of the students grumbled and groaned and handed in a paragraph. I thought the assignment sounded like fun! So I wrote about gazing into the mirror and seeing my past lives… floating back, back, back until I was Olivia dressed mourning clothes to keep a too-eager suitor at arm’s length.
Then came marriage and the baby years. I didn’t have time to write. I know I tried. Every now and then I’ll come across a few pages of something I had scribbled down – pre-computer days. Some times I’ll find a journal entry, and I’m kicking myself I didn’t keep it up. Those days are long gone, and much has been forgotten. But I do remember that I did it all – I was a full-time mother to four homeschooled children. I was at one time or another their den mother, scout leader, chauffeur, soccer mom, piano teacher, Suzuki mom, Religion teacher, and more. We had so much fun! While I was too busy to write, though, I was storing up experience that would later enrich my writing.
Scoot ahead to the fall of 1998. Two important things happened simultaneously. My darling husband took a job a thousand miles away, and my teenaged son bought a computer and we hooked up to the internet. I guess that’s technically three things, although the internet wasn’t possible on our ancient 386x pc that pre-dated windows. I would be joining my husband eventually, but he was house hunting and the kids had commitments – I think they were in a play or something and we decided not to move them until after Thanksgiving. Well, I don’t sleep very well when my honey isn’t beside me. Even after all these years, I need to rest my head on his shoulder, snuggle up next to his beating heart, and feel his arm wrapped around me, or I just don’t sleep. So after the kids went to bed, I discovered “online”.
I had recently become a fan of Forever Knight, a television series about a vampire homicide detective, and there was a huge community of Forever Knight fans on the internet. I read some fan fiction, and even tried my hand at writing one. I wrote until I was falling asleep at my desk, usually somewhere around dawn. I caught an hour or two of sleep on the couch, then it was time to start another day of home school. Thankfully, the kids were pretty independent and very smart, because I’m sure I wasn’t exactly firing on all thrusters that semester.
Then one night, it happened. I had finished “Song Without Words”, my first of many Forever Knight stories. I created a fan fiction site and posted it. And within a day, my email box was jam-packed with adoring fan mail! What a rush! I cannot describe what that did for me! I was still crawling out of a depression caused by burying my infant son Adam in 1996. I was exhausted from lack of sleep. I was lonely, even in a house full of children and with a schedule so busy it might have boggled the president of the United States. But all of a sudden, I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t lonely. And I wasn’t tired… much. I was inspired! I quickly slammed out twenty-two full-length Forever Knight stories, some Star Trek: Voyager stories, a dozen personal essays, a few poems, and a couple of magazine articles. Finally, at the age of thirty-eight, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
This is my pen name, of course. The “Courage” is from a Forever Knight episode, and I’m sure you can figure out where the “Knight” came from. There was one episode where the vampire cop recalled meeting Joan of Arc in prison, the night before she was burned at the stake. He admired her, and said, “Courage, what is your other name?” I didn’t feel especially courageous then, but I wanted to be. Each time I posted a new story, it took courage. What if someone didn’t like it? What if someone tore it to shreds and cursed me for ever trying to lay down my thoughts and creative ramblings?
The fan mail did eventually trickle down to practically nothing, although the stories are still “out there”. The webpage has had 71,000 hits, although 68,000 of those were more than ten years ago. I think the Forever Knight fan club has gone by the way of the dinosaur. I switched then from writing vampire stories to romance, and I’ve never looked back. I published a few stories with an online publishing company that is no longer around, until Bethany invited me to submit my work to her. I’ve been writing exclusively for Blushing Books ever since.