For those of you who’ve been asking me how I went from being a marriage and family therapist to a writer of psychological novels, here’s the true story:

If my sweet tooth hadn’t prompted me to step into a bakery in the town of Tolosa, Spain, near my ancestral village of Berastegui, I would not have met the baker who had a passion for the history of chocolate from the Americas. He eagerly took me to his family’s tiny chocolate museum that featured a 17th century, sterling silver, chocolate pot made in Ecuador. When I told him that I was born high up in the Andean capital of Quito, Ecuador and that my ancestor was Ojer de Berastegui, a crew member on the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, the baker didn’t bat a flour-laden eyelash. He hugged me and said, “We’re family, then!” Up until that moment in 1992, I had been pouring over ancient archives looking for Ojer––with no results, but the baker’s intellectual cousin had just published the definitive book on the crew of the Pinta, and confirmed the facts of Ojer’s voyage with Columbus. This example of serendipity and research encapsulates my personal voyage from marriage and family counseling to writing psychological thrillers with historical intrigue.