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Who I Am

While thinking about what to write for this part of my website, I was caught between fearing my bio would be one sentence, and wondering how I would ever cram the important parts into this space. The one sentence  version is that I’m married with two amazing kids and live in Essex, Connecticut.

I’ve lived in Connecticut my whole life, with a four-year break for college at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and then a year in Florida on Singer Island with my dad.

Growing up, I had two older brothers, but they were just old enough and different enough that I felt like an only child. Never mind men being from mars, sisters are from goodgirlandia and brothers are not.

The year I was nine I went from thinking horses were big, smelly farm animals to bugging my mom until she let me take riding lessons. I’m a few years older now, but horses are as much a part of my life as my family and career. Throughout my parents’ divorce, the difficulty my brothers and I had adjusting, broken hearts in high school, and navigating the world of adolescence, they were the one thing that was always constant. I fell off all the time and got carted to the hospital unconscious twice. But, they taught me responsibility, competitiveness and fierce loyalty.  Which, incidentally, are some of the skills you need to get into the writing business. Throughout the thirty-plus years I’ve been riding, I’ve spent the last decade and a half training with my good friend and Olympic medalist, Peter Leone. I’ve also competed all over the country, stayed with two of my horses as they died, and have loved every one of them as if they were my kids. I hope that when I am too old to ride, I will still be fortunate enough to have a horse just for the privilege of being around these incredible creatures.

In 1986, my dad, Dick Moroso, who was a car racing legend,  founded the NASCAR race team, Moroso Racing, and my middle brother, Rob, was on his way to becoming a star. He was the youngest person ever to win the Busch Grand National Championship. He was voted Most Popular Driver three years in a row. He would eventually be Rookie of the Year in the big leagues of Winston Cup. I spent years with Robbie and my dad, immersed in the surreal world of fast cars, famous people and life on the road. Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  and Richard Petty were two of my dad’s closest friends.

I began college at Drew in 1989. I chose Drew because they had an amazing writing program and a talented equestrian team. I declared a psychology major and a writing minor, made great friends (something that has never come easily for me), I kissed boys, joined the riding team, and gained the required freshman fifteen. Okay, it may have been more like the freshman twenty-three. I had a nice boyfriend, roomed with my best friend, and brought my horses to a nearby farm. Then a month into sophomore year, my world stopped.

My brother Robbie was killed in a car accident. I knew the second I woke that morning something had happened. I just never guessed it was him. He was the star of the family, everybody’s everything. He’d moved to North Carolina after graduating from high school to drive for our dad’s NASCAR race team, and, as one of the founders of NASCAR described him at his funeral, he was one of the best young drivers that ever was. He was killed in a street car accident four miles from his home.

Waking the next morning and realizing I would get up every morning and never see my brother again was like inhaling water instead of air. It was a feeling that crushed my lungs.

Somehow I survived losing Robbie. In 1993, I graduated from college  and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Southern Connecticut State University. After graduation, I implemented drug and alcohol programs in different high schools around the state and had the ultimate goal of going into private practice with a focus on couples. But, when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I moved to Florida to take care of him.

He lived for thirteen months and four days after he was diagnosed. He died eleven weeks after walking me down the aisle when I married the great love of my life. I would have given anything for my dad to live another forty years, meet his grandchildren, enjoy his retirement, die in his sleep after a life well lived. But, the time I spent with him in Florida gave me something I might never have had if he hadn’t gotten sick. I became a part of his world. He needed me and I loved taking care of him. We said everything we needed to. And when he exhaled for the last time, I had no regrets.

After he died, I took over his multi-venue racetrack. For ten years I split my time between Connecticut and Florida, learning how to operate a drag strip and road course, manage a staff of one hundred, and cater to the country’s best and most high-profile drivers. It was a different world from my years in the transporters and garage areas of NASCAR. But it was one of the best times in my life. As much as I loved my job, I love my family more. My son, Cooper, was born in 2004 and my daughter, Ainsley, followed in 2005. Being away from them brought back that drowning feeling, so I sold the track in 2008 and have been a full-time mommie ever since.

Much like horses, writing has been an old friend, a constant comfort. I’ve written stories since I learned to hold a pencil, and often drained the sadness and sorrow from my system by writing. When both kids started school, I began writing more consistently. With the help of the amazing and lovely Suzanne Kingsbury  my first novel, NIGHT BLINDNESS , got sanded, varnished and received a shiny coat of polish. While querying literary agents, the incomparable Lisa Gallagher took a chance on my debut novel and me, and signed me.

Within ten days she sold it to St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan. Not only did Lisa sell my first novel, she also sold the second, NOWHERE GIRL, without ever reading it. NOWHERE GIRL launched in the spring of 2016. My first book, NIGHT BLINDNESS, was chosen as an IndieNext pick- quite an honor for a debut novel. And NOWHERE GIRL won the Beverly Hill Books Award in 2016.

The formidable KIRKUS REVIEW calls NOWHERE GIRL, “compulsively readable”.

Heroesandheartbreakers.com chose NOWHERE GIRL as one of March 2016’s best bets in women’s fiction.

Lifestyle website, UrbanMoms.ca calls NOWHERE GIRL “Girl on the Train meets Gone Girl.”

Hartford Books Examiner states, “Do not miss this book- or its author, who continues to impress with the depth and diversity of her talent.”

My third book is complete and I am nearly finished with my fourth. I’ve just begun my fifth novel, which I am very excited about, That brings me to present day, where I am loving my journey as life as a novelist. As George Eliot so perfectly put it, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”