Kidnapped from true home by heartless extraterrestrials and planted in a churchgoing Southern family in a year that need not concern us. Reared (as we say in the South) in Savannah, Georgia, an area of much puzzlement to the young alien; cruelly called "Yankee" by family members who sensed that something was wrong.
Saved by reading. Fun! Outside Savannah, they had it. (Or maybe just outside the church.) Sex! That too. Who knew what else?
Attended the University of Mississippi; echoes of Faulkner and all. Also, happened to be the furthest-away school protective parents would permit that was "coed", if you remember that word. Majored in journalism; found other aliens; made friends.
Took graduation money and bought a bus ticket to New Orleans, maybe the best place on Earth, but still the South. Not ready for that yet. Fabulous job writing features for the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Stayed a year and then...
Lit out for the territory, flowers in hair, arriving in San Francisco the winter before the Summer of Love. Oh, man!
Aliens everywhere! Home at last!
Desperate to be a writer. San Francisco CHRONICLE still in the Dark Ages--no women in the newsroom. Yikes--beauty editor for awhile. Cried every day on the cable car. Finally...
Became the second woman (the first one besides the 30-years' token) to go to cityside and stick. And stick. And stick. Meanwhile scribbling, scrabbling...desperate to be a writer. Fourteen years into it...
Quit to form Invisible Ink, a freelance writing firm, with two other women, one of whom was fellow mystery writer Marcia Muller. It paid the bills till 1982, when DEATH TURNS A TRICK was finally published. (By then, five or six masterworks languishing in trunks.)
After that a new desperation--desperate to make a living writing. Scribble, scrabble, six or eight more books. Credit card debt. Part-time jobs. Anything to support habit.
1991--the world stopped, the phone call came, everything changed. The first Skip Langdon novel, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar for best novel.
Joined the middle class! Bought new clothes and a laser printer. Whee! Scribble, scribble, no more scrabble.
1996--Got married and moved back to New Orleans. Scribble scribble-three more books, including four with a new PI character. How's that for full circle? Y'all come see me.
Oh, and p.s.-after inventing the new PI character, Talba Wallis, took the state board's Private Investigator course to learn the ropes, and received PI license in 2001, with a badge and everything--something, as mama always said, to fall back on.