Contact Lynne: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whenever I have to account for my life I run up against the problem that "those who can, do. Those who can't, write about those who can." Reading, writing and what we can charitably call an active fantasy life have been very central to who I am for as long as I can remember. My father was a scientist working for the military, so I grew up in Illinois, Texas, Alaska, Washington, and finally Southern California.
One of my earliest memories was being driven across the Golden Gate Bridge. My parents told me what it was called, and I protested that it was not gold. I know orange when I see it and that bridge was and is orange (okay, dark reddish orange). The idea that the bridge was across the Golden Gate, the opening into San Francisco Bay, was way too complicated for me at that age. But I never forgot the Bridge, the sun, the water, and that might have been why I always expected to move to San Francisco. I first visited on my own in the fall of 1967—just after the Summer of Love. From that point on there was no keeping me away. I enrolled in San Francisco State University in Spring 1968, just in time for the student strike to shut it down.
This didn't bother me too much because I was doing independent research in sex and dope and rock and roll in Haight Ashbury. I was still so shy and bookish, however that it wasn't until I started practicing Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in March of 1968 that I came out of my shell enough for anyone to notice me. For awhile I tried to fancy myself as a wild woman like my idol, Janis Joplin. (No one else ever noticed the slightest resemblance, but at least I didn't try to sing.)
After a few freewheeling months, I looked around to find that my new, exciting friends were all in jail except the Buddhists. I ended up at meetings almost every night. I was encouraged to go back to college and I got the Buddhist equivalent of officer training school—public speaking experience, writing and editing for Buddhist publications, and a smattering of Japanese etiquette. I've continued my daily Buddhist practice ever since. I moved from the brainwashed into the fluff-dried section, however, when my natural skepticism began to surface.
Fortunately the practice encompasses whatever mental posture you bring to it and it deserves most of the credit for keeping me reasonably sane, sober and centered. This page will tell you more. It often seems to me that one of the best introductions to how and why people practice this particular variety of Buddhism is the Tina Turner bio movie What's Love Got To Do With It? For a movie that shows what the crazy group I joined in the 60s was like I'd recommend The Last Detail. It's a gritty film about Navy life (I've heard that for decades it had the record for four-letter words in a movie), but with a little help from the late actress and Buddhist, Luanna Anders, the filmmakers imported a genuine Buddhist meeting and the high-energy silliness is well portrayed.
When I finally finished my B.A. in Psychology from San Francisco State, I immediately decided to dedicate my life to literature (graduate school ran a distant second and a serious business career wasn't even in the running). This kind of decision can be hazardous to your financial and mental health. I supported myself by doing office temp work. After more soul searching than I care to remember, I completed a novel—a sensitive story of disillusioned youth. A few of my friends read it and were very impressed at how many pages there were. I tried to read it again a few years later and saw what they meant. Even I couldn't finish it.
After examining what I was reading (80% mysteries) it made sense to try to write one. Termination Interview (St. Martin's Press, 1988) introduced Ingrid Hunter, a free-lance photographer who does office temp work to survive. I wrote two other books about Ingrid Hunter. The second one, Death Flower, was published in German in 1994 but so far not yet in English.
In 1980 I met Charles W. Powell, chess master, law student and totally charming man from Richmond, Virginia. We were married in 1983. Within six months, to both our great surprise, he nearly died. For the next eight years he battled a chronic illness. He was very brave and good natured about being sick and all the things he was never able to do. He died in 1991. Charlie was still alive when I began to work on a series about a large-sized woman who solves mysteries. With his usual supportive attitude, he told me he would be proud if I wrote such a book.
In order to write about a self-accepting fat woman, I had to become one. This is a journey I'm still on. National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance and International Size Acceptance Association are two places where I started.
In 1997, Orloff Press published Larger Than Death, first in the series featuring Josephine Fuller, a sleuth of size who doesn't apologize. St. Martin's Minotaur brought it out in paperback and also published Large Target, At Large, and A Ton of Trouble, which came out in 2002.
I'm now writing non-mystery books in the romantic comedy and paranormal vein, and having a great time doing that.
When I'm not writing fiction or essays, I spend a lot of time catering to the needs of a small group of very spoiled cats.
© Lynne Murray