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Julie Ann Maahs

Writers are not supposed to have idyllic childhoods, and certainly it didn't seem all that idyllic at the time....

I grew up at the end of a dead-end alley in a little town, protected from anything and everything. The Sixties were happening on TV, but not in my town. I had parents who loved me, an older brother and sister, and neighbors who served as extra grandparents. My real grandparents were only a short walk away. And so my world was closely circumscribed.

My father being a commercial fisherman, we often visited the harbor, or waited on the jetty for the boat to come in. When we wanted to travel, we went to the woods to camp...and fish. The natural beauty of the region and the mystery of the coastal fog show up often in my writing. By conventional standards, small towns don't provide a lot in the way of entertainment, but I wasn't exactly conventional. There was a library, and that was paradise.

I can't remember when I learned to read. I remember being very young, sitting with my father and reading aloud. Books were my first love, I think. The big picture books, the Little Golden Books, the Harvey comic books, and even the books with no pictures at all.

They were portals to other worlds, to places where exciting adventures happened, where heroes always knew just enough to solve the mystery, and where every story, no matter how scary, was sure to have a happy ending. Between the pages of a book I could be fearless and agile, not awkward and shy. Nowhere in the world was too far away to travel on such wings.

As soon as I was old enough I discovered the library. I don't know when that was, but I remember seeing a library card with a 1964 expiration date, so I was not yet five. The library was a wonderful place, smelling of old books, with a loft just right for curling up to read in privacy. There, my world expanded further, from Doctor Doolittle to Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and the Black Stallion series. Also the classics: Heidi, Pollyanna, and Lad: a dog. I read them all well before reaching adolescence. Mary Stewart earned a special place in my heart back then.

Time happened, as it does to all of us. I abandoned most fiction when I went to college (California State University, Sacramento). I studied language and philosophy, and read classic literature. Writing seemed rather pointless, although I did write some children's stories during that era.

In 1987 an arsonist destroyed the library in which I'd done so much growing up. The crime has never been solved.

I did not write seriously until the mid-1990's. After a back injury put me out of work, I sat down with a box of pencils and some wire-bound notebooks. But I still needed a reliable source of income, so instead of finishing the three novels I began at that time, I put them aside and turned my attention to the study of income tax. Now I have a well-established, albeit struggling, income tax business, and it seems time to share these stories with the world. Let me know if you like them.

Oh, and since you asked: I currently live in Sacramento, California with my husband Walt, our dog Sassy, and our cats Big Boy and Calico.

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Index to my books