Sometime in the mid1990s an image of a boy with an infectious grin, standing victorious on the podium of a skating competition, started me writing. I had to know who he was and how he got there. I thought about him; I scratched notes; and eventually I borrowed a book about how to write and publish fiction, writing practice exercises that were scenes from Ben’s life. But that’s what it was—practice writing. The 200-page manuscript sat in a drawer while I wrote The Wooden Ox and Between Two Worlds As I was finishing Glastonbury Tor, I began to realize what was the real story within those pages of fantasy skating scenes. I sent GT to my agent and sat down and wrote Crossovers in a month, but it had already been ten years in the making.
Ben Bradley is also responsible for my addiction to skating. I had to do research, didn’t I? I checked a book on figure skating out of the library and propped it on a snowdrift beside the flooded middle school playground while I practiced stroking and crossovers. By then I was hooked. I went on to group lessons and then private. The first time I competed, I took notes so I would remember what Ben would experience and how he might feel. I have now passed my Adult Bronze level tests and even won a bronze medal for my age and skill group at Adult Nationals.