I learned at a very early age to stuff the uncomfortable realities of life. You know, heartache, heartbreak, disappointment, aka, pain. I grew up in an environment rich with artistic expression. My dad was an intense jazz musician. So, my three siblings and I learned to play musical instruments at a very early age. I played the flute. I still play, when I can. Mother was a passionate math teacher. So the four of us were raised with weighty expectations to play music and do well in school (at least in math). The art of writing wasn’t necessarily encouraged nor discouraged. But instinctively, I began journaling about the unspoken, uncomfortable realities in life.
The death of my father from a long battle with cancer was a dose of reality that I chose not to stuff. In fact, I allowed it to bring me to my knees. I gave in to what was, as opposed to what I wanted things to be. I surrendered. It was also during this time that I began to incorporate some of the fantastical stories that lived inside my head, through my journaling. I eventually went on to make myself and my mother proud by obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Tulane University. That education allowed for a twenty-some odd year career in research at Tulane and Louisiana State Universities.
Fast forward to 2006, one year after Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster to hit the country. I’d left town a few days before the storm. Since I’m telling you this story, obviously, my life was spared. But… you know what, there is no ‘but’. I was spared and I was blessed. Most people from the Gulf Coast region suffered some personal loss of life, property, and even happiness for a while. I was no different. But finally, I knew how to surrender, and I did. Once I let go, this time, ‘Surrender’, and ‘Hide and Seek’, my novels, along with the Morgan Jane Winters Murder Mystery Series, with a message, were set free, inside of me. ‘Surrender’ is the first in a series of books based on the New Orleans crime solving, psychiatric sleuth, Morgan Jane Winters. Hide and Seek is the second installment.
Jill Collins - V2-2017