Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I now live in Hood River, Oregon, which is located on the south bank of the Columbia River near Mount Hood. I’ve been a freelance writer for more than fifteen years, writing about travel, outdoor recreation and small business for various online and print media outlets. My work has appeared with PsychologyToday.com, The Oregonian, Travel Oregon, and Creative Non-Fiction Magazine.
After years of writing about other people and places, I began some stories about my own life. I wanted to capture the hilarity and heartbreak of my childhood in a big Irish Catholic family and, specifically, the impact my sister Margaret had on me. Her autism, which makes it difficult for her to communicate, is the focal point of my memoir, How to be a Sister, which was published by The Experiment, an independent press. How to be a Sister was named an Indie Next by IndieBound and was chosen as a Target Book of the Month and a Kindle Book of the Month.
A few years ago, I purchased a package of Carniolan honeybees and entered the world of backyard beekeeping. I’m currently enrolled in the Master Beekeeper Apprentice Program with the Oregon State University Extension Service. My interest in these fascinating pollinators led me to my first attempt at fiction. My debut novel, The Music of Bees, is forthcoming from Dutton and will be published in April 2021.
My husband and I share our home with a fearless calico cat, a passionate Baja mutt and sixty thousand honeybees, give or take.
Check out her website here, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The book is in stores on Tuesday, April 27th from Dutton. You can listen below to the interview.
Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn’t turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren’t helping her feel better these days.
In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake–a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County–while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake’s sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.
And then there’s Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice’s ad for part-time farm help, he’s shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees–and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.
Beautifully moving, warm, and uplifting, The Music of Bees is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over (at any age) when things don’t turn out the way you expect.