I love to write about characters - usually edgy, little-known folks with wonderful hidden stories and talents. I love places too, and music, above all, jazz. As a girl, I dreamed of traveling around the world. As soon as I could, I took to the road, living in steamy Guayaquil, Ecuador at 17 with a family, an experience recalled in a novella, Coming of Age in Ecuador, in my compilation of stories about Latin America, Come Back, Carmen Miranda. Continuing my love affair with the region, I found a series of jobs - grunt on a Mayan archeology site in Chiapas, Mexico, volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee in an impoverished mining village, teaching English, and finally, doing freelance journalism, in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico.