Why I became a writer

I owe my being a writer to a snowball fight. 

A bunch of us were  leaving an AA meeting in the middle of a brutal  Chicago winter, snowdrifts everywhere, hundred pound icicles bending gutters, breath coming out in vaporous puffs lingering like cigarette smoke.  In our new-found wisdom gleaned from the meeting me and these three guys (all of us grown men, mind you) promptly got into a snowball fight.  We were hardly prepared for it. Leather-soled shoes, overcoats, no hats. But snowballs flew everywhere like missiles, and we ran around, ducking, sliding and laughing so hard we were crying. So it was all good, right? 

A couple of days later, I saw one of the guys and was all excited remembering the snowball fight and started talking about it, and he was like, "Yeah, it was fun, but I lost my diamond wedding ring in that snowball fight." 

I was rocked. This was a super nice guy. He was being strong about it, but you could see he was hurting. We promptly set out to look for the ring, but the snowball fight had taken place over the course of a city block, and the snow was piled so high it was an insane task. Thoroughly downhearted we gave up.

Three weeks later I woke to the sound of rain ticking my bedroom window. As I lay in bed it dawned on me: this rain is going to melt a lot of that snow.

I jumped out of bed, dressed and hurried to where the snowball fight had taken place. There was still a lot of snow, but it was getting melted pretty good by the rain. I felt like an idiot, though, looking all over the street, sidewalk, people's lawns, like the people who lived on that block were going to call the cops and report a crazy person.

Then I saw something shiny lying in the middle of the street. Could it be? No, I thought. It must just be aluminum foil from a chewing gum wrapper, or the liner of a cigarette box. I walked at it.

It sure was looking like a diamond ring, though. But yeah, was it possible?

​I bent low to look, as if my eyes were deceiving me.

They weren't. I picked up the ring and held it tightly in both hands. 

​And I could hardly wait to see the guy who lost it. A week later I ran into him at a meeting.

I set the ring on the table in front of him and smiled. He clutched the ring to himself, looked up at me and started crying. Then he gathered himself as best he could and told me how the ring had this huge emotional significance to him. He'd lost it once before when his father died. He'd been distraught and didn't know how he was going to be able to carry on. He told me he prayed: 'God, give me a sign that I'm going to make it.'

Then later as he was cleaning out his car just before going to his father's funeral he found the ring—that was his sign.

Glowing inside, I went home and wrote it all down. 

That stared me writing and I haven't stopped since.

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I write thrillers. Writing you can't turn away from.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, I've done everything from selling puka shells on the beach in Florida to working corporate jobs at Sears and Brunswick. A lifelong Midwesterner, I live in suburban Chicago but have a great fondness for Arizona. I'm a bike rider, a photographer and would be a good golfer if only I could putt.