I met my husband Rick at UC Berkeley when I was 21, so I really do believe in True Love and Happily Ever After—which helps a lot in writing about them! We renewed our vows a few years ago with the help of our two grown sons. Our home base when we’re not having our own adventures is in Berkeley, California, where the summers are foggy and the food shopping is the greatest.
WHY NEW ZEALAND: My husband’s job as an engineer, and mine as a marketing consultant, have given us the opportunity to live in many different wonderful places in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. During the latest stint, 15 months living and working in Auckland, I fell in love with New Zealand: the beauty and diversity of the landscape (not to mention the seascapes), the Maori culture and its integration into the country’s life, and, perhaps more than anything, the people: modest, good-humored, unfailingly polite and hospitable, and so very funny. I wanted to share what I loved so much about the country with everyone I knew—and didn’t know!
THE BOOKS: We had traveled to Wellington to watch the final of the Rugby World Cup in a pub as the start of a North Island holiday. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the intensity of All Black fever that gripped the entire nation during the World Cup, and the stature of the players themselves at all times. I had never seen anything remotely like it. I started wondering what it would be like to be so intensely admired and instantly recognizable in a country that has zero tolerance for bad behavior—and how hard it would be to find the right partner in that kind of spotlight. And that is where JUST THIS ONCE was born—walking through the rhododendron gardens of Mt. Taranaki, two days after the World Cup final. Writing that first page was terrifying, but within weeks, I knew that I’d finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.