Kim Piddington Biography
Officially, my career began in fourth grade when I wrote my own version of a Nancy Drew mystery. That first effort was a whopping seventy-five pages and my best friend Susan faithfully read the entire manuscript. (Of course, she insists bribery, two super sized Hershey Bars to be exact, was involved, but that’s a story for another time.) I also read like a fiend, regularly checking out more books than the local librarian believed I could read in a week. (Boy was she wrong!)
In high school, I was on the newspaper staff, and often found myself scribbling down snippets of interesting conversation on fast food napkins. Writing stories helped me survive those “teen angst” years, and I went on to major in English at California Lutheran University.
After college, I drifted from job to job. Once my first daughter, Amber, was born, I decided I needed a stable career. I returned to school and earned a teaching certificate from UC Irvine. The best thing about that experience, was meeting Carol Booth Olson, the UCI Writing Project Director. It was one of her classroom assignments that got me hooked on writing historical fiction.
For the next decade, I taught writing and regularly attended writing project meetings. I had another daughter, Kelsey. In 2005, I remarried and moved to Ozark, Missouri.
When I was about eight, I decided that the most wonderful thing, next to a human being, was a book. -Margaret Walker
Being a California Girl that first year in Missouri wasn’t easy. I missed my family and friends back home, the ocean, and the mild weather! (Before moving to the Midwest, the only severe weather I’d ever experienced was the twister in The Wizard of Oz.) Luckily, there was a branch of the National Writing Project at Missouri State University, and Dr. Keri Franklin invited me to join. She challenged me to embrace the Ozarks; and what started out as a writing task for the advanced institute became Momma Don’t Own A Machine Gun.
I was born in Chicago, so when I stumbled on a short article hinting that Al Capone may have visited Rockaway Beach, Missouri in the 1920’s, I was instantly intrigued. I took a trip down there, and found that just about everyone in town believed that Capone had spent time in a cabin across the lake. The folks at the local library were more than generous with their time and resources, as was the staff at the Arkansas Historical Society in Little Rock, Arkansas. With guidance from the members of the Springfield Writer’s Guild and the Ozarks Writers League, the manuscript grew from a short story to a novel.
Now, besides teaching, co-coordinating youth activities for the OWP, serving on the LAD executive board, caring for my three horses and assorted other pets on our six acre farm, I write. And despite the lack of sleep and having to develop a tolerance for strong, black coffee, I can’t imagine ever stopping.