Monday, March 21, 2011

On Beginnings

My mother's not around to ask, but I suspect that my entry into this world wasn't an easy one. I'm the kind of person who's more comfortable in the middle of something: I like to know where I'm going and how it's going to turn out. Beginnings are tough.

In one big way, I was lucky at the start: I was born only eleven months after my sister Sue. So she forded the way in front of me during most of my growing up. We shared a room until high school, wore a lot of the same clothes, attended tap and ballet classes together, swapped books, teased our younger siblings, talked about boys. (That's me on the ground, Sue standing up.)

Our family moved quite a few times when I was a kid--and all those beginnings were hard. I can still remember starting sixth grade in a new town in Michigan. My mother took me to buy shoes and we picked out black and white (or were they brown?) saddle shoes. I realized quickly that these weren't the style in my new town when the kids nicknamed me "the cow." But I always had my friend, my sister, at home.

Sue became a writer well before I did, but she didn't seem to mind sharing the profession with me when I came to it late. In fact, she's one of my biggest fans. Instead of boys and clothes, we talk about word counts, and writing with heart, and promotion. She supported my first rather pathetic attempts at writing a novel and has encouraged me every step along the way since then. (Picture below is Sue (R) and me with the cat man of Key West, who's part of the scenery in the first Key West food critic mystery, A TASTE FOR MURDER.)

Publishing, of course, is changing like crazy right now--and we writers are invited to adjust to the latest trends, or move on. This year, I've acquired a new protagonist, Hayley Snow, a new mystery series, a new publisher, a new editor, and even a new name. A lot of beginnings for a woman who's most comfortable in the middle.

So here it is, the Equinox, the first day of spring, and I'm ready to assume my new name on this blog: Lucy Burdette. Since everything's so new, and beginnings aren't easy, I will be grateful if you'll come visit! Meanwhile, the phone lines between my home and Sue's will be humming…

With gratitude, Lucy (formerly known as Roberta Isleib:)


  1. Ah, where else but the wonderful world of writing can you assume a fresh identity and start anew! Well, except, maybe the witness protection program. Much luck on your new endeavors, Lucy. I hope it's smooth sailing from the beginning. Now I'm off to visit your links!

  2. Congrats!
    New beginnings are always hard, but also change is good!
    My sister, although she is 14 years older than I am is my biggest fan. My friend, sister and even mother now all rolled into one.
    Good luck!
    Monica VanBeekum
    (now writing as Monika Michalak)

  3. Thanks Laura and Monika/Monica! I know--change is life and life is change:).

    PS can't figure out how to comment as Lucy--will have to work on that!

  4. Lucy/Roberta! Love the new name and the new website.

    My sister and I are 13 months apart. We were playmates/enemies growing up and are now each other's best friends:)

    Best of luck with the new series. It sounds terrific!

  5. My sister and I are almost two years apart, both in our (young!) 50s and going through many changes. I'm an author of 17 years so you have an idea of what I'm going through professionally. My sister just got a divorce (happily!), moved back home to Maryland from Ohio and started a new job. You're never to old to start anew!

  6. Gosh. You brought me back to six grade with that saddle shoes story. Good luck with the new series.

  7., Lucy! Your new web site is fab. Love the Key West scene and pastels. So pretty! Your sister is 11 months older? My sister is 10 months older! We were in the same grade throughout school. It was kind of like having a twin...only we're polar opposites. Raising a glass of H2O to toast your new beginning. May it be everything you've dreamed of and so much more. :-)

  8. thanks for more good wishes. Wow, Susan, 10 months apart--don't you wonder what our parents were thinking?? I was a grade behind Sue, which I think worked out well. Though I did always want a twin. Do you remember the series about the twins, both liked the same man but he married one and not the other? Must have been my first foray into women's fiction...

  9. Really fascinated by how many authors are taking pen names. Thanks for sharing!

  10. And by the way, we do still talk about shoes, but mostly in relation to what will work with our plantar fascitis!! Hats off to Lucy--I think we are all in for a treat! Sue (Roberta's sister)

  11. hi, Lucy Lucy Bo Boosey Banana Fannah Fo Foosey! that's a much easier name to play that name game with than Roberta! it's Donna, in Tallahassee, your sister's goofball friend! i'm happy for you, and grateful for your lovely memories! i'm very close with all of my three sisters, especially Tina, 15 months younger than me~ love the picture of you and Sue~brings back a flood of my own memories! good luck! winks!

  12. Lucy, have fun on your new adventure. Fabulous web site...just love the pink. I hope you don't mind that I've adopted your sister, Sue, as mine too! Thanks for sharing, in more ways than one.
    also from Tallahassee