In 2001, I got bitten by the fiction-writing bug after running into my former high school chemistry teacher, turned award-winning author, at my Fortieth high school reunion. Encouraged by his review of the first draft of a novel I had written several years earlier, I began taking writing classes and participating in professionally led critiquing groups. DEGREES OF OBSESSION took shape over the next several years and was self-published in 2005 with the help of my writing mentor Margaret Lucke. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to promote it at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA.
My second novel, MOTHER TONGUE: LINGUA CORSA, released in 2014, was a suspense novel with romance and thriller elements set amid the danger and chaos of the Nationalist separatist movement in modern-day Corsica. The back story was based on a wild adventure I had at nineteen involving, a British yacht and a crew of 13 equally dissolute young people, who sailed the Northern Mediterranean, and, among other things, tried to sneak two Foreign Legionnaires off of the island of Corsica! We failed in our mission, but I never forgot our many stories of intrigue and foolishness that would evolve eventually into MOTHER TONGUE.
I was born in 1943 in Chicago, Illinois to a father who was off a few days later to fight the good fight in as a naval officer in WWII and a mother who had graduated from the University of Chicago in Political Science in 1937—quite the feminist. My maternal grandmother was also a four-year college graduate—in German and Latin—back in the early 1900s. When the war was over, my parents divorced and my mother took me and my older brother on an odyssey across America, starting at a dude ranch near Tucson, progressing to a custom-built home in the shadow of Cheyenne mountain in Colorado Springs, then on to a duplex on the wrong side of Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills and, finally, to a life on the beach in La Jolla, California. There, I mastered the art of body surfing and the art of the writing under the guidance of my Honors English teacher. I graduated near the top of my high school class in high, gave the commencement address, and went on to Stanford University to major in chemistry. Love took priority over Bunsen burners, and I switched to a psychology major, which allowed time to pursue my first real romance—the back-story for DEGREES. Trekking from one university to another, but still garnering top grades, I graduated from San Diego State in 1965. Moving on to graduate school at the University of Illinois, I received a Masters in 1968 and a Doctorate in Psychology in 1970. Over the next forty years I worked in both the public and private sector, first as a research psychologist and then as a clinician. I retired in 2009 from the nation’s largest HMO and from my role as a union leader. In 2014, I was called back into the fray and served as the Mental Health Clinical Director for a large health plan serving the Medi-Cal population in 14 northern CA counties.
In the 1990s, I established an online presence as a psychologist using the moniker Doctor Flamingo-Online. I wrote multiple articles on many psychological subjects, aimed primarily at mid-life women and developed an author website. I also began writing Poetry for Recovery. My most interesting endeavor was to create Book Trailers for both of my novels—an intricate process using special movie making software (trailer for Degrees, trailer for Mother Tongue). I also enjoyed turning two of my poems into Video Poems. All are available on my websites: karenstephen.com and doctorflamingo-online.com. My Twitter handle is: @DocFlamingo My FaceBook page is: https://www.facebook.com/karenstephenauthor
I am the mother of two grown children and am devoted to my four grandchildren. I collect antique flamingos and admit to having a neon flamingo in my bedroom, which makes it look like a pink bordello! I live in the San Francisco Bay area.
By Karen Stephen