RHYS BOWEN: After the emotional roller coaster of last week I feel in a contemplative mood.
When I was a teenager I was very much attracted to Australia. I made a plan to go there as soon as I graduated from high school, and whatï's more I wanted to drive there in a bubble car. These contraptions were new when I was in my teens-- they were glorified scooters/motorbikes with a Perspex bubble over them, making them into tiny cars. I decided I'd drive one of these to Australia and then write a book called "Around the World in a Bubble."
Mu other big 'what if' was studying opera. When I was a small girl I told my mother I'd like to be an opera singer. She took one look at eighty pound me and said scornfully 'You'll never have the build." But now, when I go to the opera, I see lots of slim sopranos. So I again I wonder "what if?"
So Reds and friends, do you have any dreams you wish you had dared to fulfill?
LUCY BURDETTE: You have so many talents Rhys! I flirted briefly in college with going to medical school or law school (I was all over the place), but I don't think either would have suited me. In the end, the careers I chose (clinical psychology and writing) are good fits. Now if only I'd had some talent, I would have loved to be a singer like Bonnie Raitt or Emmy Lou Harris...but I hate to stay up late. Hmmm, do you think they'd let me do concerts in the morning or afternoon?
HALLIE EPHRON: I was supposed to spend a summer in Accra in Ghana -- I had a university-sponsored job lined up, was studying West African politics at Barnard and planned to do some field work. When I got to the airport the (charter) plane had been oversold. WAY oversold.
So I went home devastated. Needing a shoulder to cry on, I called the chap I'd dumped a few months earlier. Within a week I had a summer job and a sublet (that sweet man moved in with me.) Less than a year later we were married. Talk about turning points.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yup, I was a law school possibility, too...I had thought that would be the way I could help change the world. Instead, Kent State happened. I went into politics, as a staffer in several political campaigns. However. Every candidate I worked for--lost. (Not that it had anything to do with me--I was 20 years old.) So instead of being an aide to the governor, I was unemployed. That was the only reason I--searching for something that could make a difference- applied for a job as a reporter in 1971. And I've been a reporter ever since.
I always talk about how seeming disappointment turns to unexpected wonderfulness. You never know.
SInging? In my dreams. When my family sings Happy Birthday together, you can't even recognize what song it is.)
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, Rhys, I think about this sometimes. So many choices that could have made my life turn out so differently. What if I'd gotten into Cornell for that master's degree in wildlife biology? Would I have gone somewhere exotic? Ended up teaching at a college and doing research? Lived on a wildlife preserve?
Or what if I'd gone to New York to look for a publishing job after college?
Or what if my ex and I had stayed in Scotland or England instead of coming back to Texas?
What if I'd decided to go back to grad school instead of writing that first novel???
Oh, and a funny thing. When I'd sold the first Duncan and Gemma novel, I contemplated writing another series about a female park ranger, using my hard-won biology training. Guess who published her first novel the same year? Nevada Barr. We were both nominated for the Agatha for Best First Novel. She won.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Road not taken? You mean other than the time I turned down JFK Jr for a date? Just kidding...no, no, no! I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.
RHYS: I should add that actually I did go to live in Australia in my twenties and met my husband there. My parents and brother bother moved there, so I started a trend. My brother still lives in Tasmania. And I did sing with the local opera chorus for a whileï. And looking back, I'm so glad I've been a writer all my life. How about you, dear friends? Have you ever had a turning point, a road not taken?