ELIZABETH ANN SCARBOROUGH

BIO

 

Because this website has three sections, there are three sets of things to put into my biography. My professional bio as an author is the one asked for most often so I'll include that along with a picture that I just took of glamorous me in my bathroom mirror. Aren't digital cameras fun?

I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. After high school, I followed my mother's footsteps and went into nursing school at Bethany Hospital School of Nursing. In my senior year, mostly for financial reasons, I joined the Army Nurse Corps and that paid for the rest of my schooling.

When I got out of training, I owed the army three years of active duty as an Army Nurse officer. After a powder puff officer's training course (the map course was fun--we got to grub around in the brush outside of San Antonio, play with maps and I got my first helicopter ride), I took a very hairy advanced med-surg course in Colorado. I wasn't really ready for that and it almost made Vietnam seem easy, nursing wise.

DaNang, SVN was my next duty post. The Healer's War, a book I based loosely on those experiences, won the 1989 Nebula Award for best novel. After Nam I came home, got restless and got myself sent to Alaska. Loved Alaska. Got married, started writing, got divorced, and went on to write and have published seven books while I lived there, part of the time with my husband out in the woods in a cabin with no running water or electricity and an awfully lot of cats, part of the time in a great little apartment on Madcap Lane just across from the University of Alaska. I got my degree (BA in History, minor in journalism) from UAF after seven or eight years of full and part time study (I was also working more or less full time at a paying job and writing also more or less full time. I was very busy then.). At that point I had lived in Alaska altogether about 18 years and I decided, much as I hated leaving it, that it was time to see more places and meet more people, so I moved outside, to the Pacific Northwest.

I brought with me four cats and acquired another one when I moved into my present home, an old cabin in a small Victorian seaport town. I spent half of about three years in Ireland writing the first three Petaybee books with my friend, Anne McCaffrey. We became friends when she visited Fairbanks and I took her out to see the Northern Lights and for a dogsled ride and moose spaghetti at the home of my friends, the Melchiors. I got to spend a lot of time in Scotland then too, which inspired The Lady in the Loch, one of my more recent solo books.

Counting the two books that have been written and sold but have not yet been published I have written, alone and with Anne, 30 books all together. I've also written a slew of short stories and edited several anthologies.

After awhile though, writing seems as though it's never finished, you never have anything that's really your work to LOOK at--the cover is actually someone else's work. If you finish a project, you can't tell your friends to look at it because it takes a long time for someone to read a book. Deciding I needed more instant gratification in my life, I returned to beading, which I've done off and on my whole life.

My Grandma Scarborough and Aunt Virginia Spillman had a beadwork business out of their chicken coop in western Kansas making moccasins and purses with Indian symbols beaded on them, sort of like Minnetonka only a bit more hand made. When Aunt Virginia moved the business to Albuquerque, Grandma had a lot of beads left over. By then she had moved to Bonner Springs, Kansas and she started me playing with the beads, then learning to weave them on one of those wire Scout looms. While in Alaska in the service, I had another spurt of interest in beading and found a great Scandanavian loom for doing belts and hatbands, which I sold. I also did a lane stitch pipe bag for my ex husband.

I first learned peyote or gourd stitch from my Indian coworkers in Gallup, who showed me how to make barrel style earrings. In return I showed them how to make loomed barrettes with strong clips for thinner finer hair like a lot of non-Indian women have. I kept beading and selling beadwork when I moved back to Texas, selling belts, hatbands, and even guitar straps as well as earrings and hair ornaments.

When I returned to Alaska, another folk music friend, Jeannie Robertson, turned me onto a book from which she'd learned brick or Cheyenne stitch earrings. I made those for awhile. When I moved to my present home, I saw my first Suzanne Cooper book of pictorial peyote stitch amulet bags and I knew I HAD to do it. After beading a couple of her pieces, I designed a couple of my own on graph paper, then bought a beading program to do my book of fairy tale patterns, BEADTIME STORIES. I was really inexperienced though inspired and the owners of the beading program helped me a lot, as did Suzanne Cooper herself.

Ihave grown pretty disenchanted with trying to bead for money, unless someone wants a specific commission. I want to make things I love or that I think someone I love will love and that's been my focus with my current beading. I sell my patterns for the business end, to help pay for my supplies. I was doing this from my old website when a designer friend, Rita Sova, had the wonderful notion of starting Bead-Patterns.com where her fellow designers could sell their patterns online for other beaders to download. I now have almost 500 patterns on Rita's site and as you can see on the beadwork portion of the site, have been beading up a storm ever since.

Most recently I decided I was tired of "natural" wood and neutral colors and gave my house a Mexican makeover. Indoors it's mostly done. Now I have to clean it. Meanwhile there are cats to play with and feed, beads to weave, books and stories to read and write, classes to teach, music to listen to, an occasional trip to take and, you know, washing up and brushing my teeth and occasionally housework and stuff. I tend to do things a little backwards. Other people were becoming artists and hippies when I was busy nursing in the army, so now that other people have settled down to work real jobs, or (ahem, considering my age) retiring from them, I'm going through my artistic phase. Long may it last!

 

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