Biography

Carol McAfee's family, Christmas 2009

Above is a picture of my family.  That’s (from the left) Kate, and me, and Julia, and Ralph.  You can tell from all the dogs that Ralph and I are great at setting limits.  Yup.  One dog per person.  We draw the line firmly in the sand.

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So, yes, so I wanted to tell you a bit more about me.  I mentioned before that I wanted to be a writer because my mom loved books.  But there was another reason.  I wanted to create a masterpiece for her.  I wanted to make her so happy and so proud, she would stop, on the spot, her drinking.

My first attempt was a book of prayer, 6 pages stapled, and no wonder the appeal to God because my writing really was hopeless.  By middle school, I was addicted to O.Henry, the master of the surprise twist, and I fashioned many stories in his honor.  In fact, I specialized in the Art of the Reveal.  I would withhold some piece of vital information about my heroine, and then, with a dramatic flourish, perform a rug-pulling act in the final sentence, such as:  “Dear Reader, I am blind.”  Or, “Dear Reader, I am not a girl as you many believe.  I am a hippopotamus.” With stories like these, you can imagine my many fans.

By the time I was in college, my mom had found her sobriety, but I kept writing.  Why?  We’d  had too many discussions about authors and books, my mom and me, and I’d read too many books on my own for me to have missed the power of language and the musicality of it all.  And then my mother died.  And so I went numb for awhile, parked myself in law school for three years, then came out writing again.  I’m not sure if writing, for me, is a gift or an affliction.  I’m not sure it matters.  I am sure that it’s just something I need to do, how I make sense of the world.

Besides writing, I like to hang out with my husband and two daughters.  I ride my bike on tree-shaded trails that wend along the Gunpowder River.  At home, I take care of our family, which includes too many animals—Shelties, Border Collies, and two Dutch rabbits.  I am no cook, I have a sort of scorched-earth policy in the kitchen, but I delight in company, and I’m always up for a chat and a cup of coffee on our screened-in porch.