I was born in Texas, where I experienced suffocating sand storms and alluring far horizons and horny toads at a tender age. The stories I heard there were about Jesus, Snow White, Dick and Jane, and campfires, cowboys, Indians, and the blue-tailed fly. I began first grade in Lubbock and loved school from the first day. In part, possibly, because of the two small, noisy siblings then at home. But all was peace on Saturdays, while Let’s Pretend aired.
My young dad kept looking for a job that suited him, and my mother would happily live in a city. That’s why the family up and moved to Louisiana where, my Texas uncles told me, I would grow web feet. That trip planted in me a love for travel that never faded. As our train crossed the trestle above the Mississippi River, eight-year-old me saw a green world of oak and pine trees spreading as far as the eye could see on either side of a wide, wide dark river without an end.
My parents settled the family in Metairie, Louisiana. There the grown-up stories were about the mafia don, Carlos Marcello and all the corruption in the Sheriff’s Office. The kids talked about King Cake parties for Mardi Gras. Encouraged by teachers and librarians, I was reading Little Women and Black Beauty and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (my grandmother’s gift) at the age of eight. After I read Tom Sawyer, I re-read it every year until I was fifteen, just for the joy of it.
I continued to enjoy success in the classroom, where learning often felt like a game to me, a highly satisfying game. No surprise, then, that I chose to stay in the classroom, as a college professor. I have been invited to read papers at regional, national and international conferences during the years I taught at Louisiana State University, The Harpeth Hall School, Savannah Country Day School, Gordon College, Dalton State College, and Marie Curie University.
I have been fortunate in finding professional organizations and writers’ groups so important to every writer’s development. For the Dalton Creative Guild in Dalton, Georgia and Sisters in Crime in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, I held a number of offices. I enjoy the Southeast Mystery Writers of America’s inventive and inspiring membership. I am grateful for the continuing support and the friendships, and for the exciting conferences they support: Sleuthfest, Malice Domestic, and many more.
Some say I am a recovering academic, but I hope I never recover. The academic life opens worlds of experiences to those who travel through books. And that sort of travel makes for imaginative sleuthing. From youth to adulthood I have loved learning and teaching and traveling, passions I’ve passed along to my protagonist, Susanna Shepherd. Among the many years I spent teaching American Literature, one was in Poland at Marie Curie University. Like my accidental sleuth, Susannah, I worked there as a Fulbright appointee. They do say write what you know.
Rebecca Roxburgh is a former college professor with degrees in English Language and Literature from Louisiana State University. Born in Texas, raised in south Louisiana, she has taught throughout the South, in London, and in Poland. Her year as a Fulbright Scholar in Poland was the inspiration for her first Susanna Shepherd mystery novel. Newly arrived in Kraków, Susanna’s orientation morphs into a race to disentangle the mob and family connections that underlie the murder of a charming Polish Editor.
Rebecca attends several writers’ conferences each year, is a member of Mystery Writers of America as well as Sisters in Crime, and serves as Secretary of the Low Country Chapter.