About Kim Pierce
Exploring The Afterlife
In Her Own Words
More About the Author
I grew up in the Southern California town of Northridge in the San Fernando Valley, but have deep roots in the Texas Hill Country. Both of my kids live in Texas: Ric, in Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas, and Anna in Austin.
In 1974, I earned an experimental psychology degree (rat-running) from the University of Texas at Arlington. But my career as a writer was cemented the summer following graduation, when I published my first freelance story, about a Chicago glam-band that gets busted in Texas, for the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday magazine.
After a quick stint at a local music magazine, I wound up at the Dallas Times Herald before the year was out. Writing about rock ‘n’ roll of all things. All puffed up with success, I eagerly tried my hand at a music magazine in Houston, which was a monumental flop. So it was back to Dallas, where I found a secure perch at the Dallas Morning News.
I found my niche writing about health, fitness and food – yes I wrote restaurant reviews, no it’s not as much fun as you think – eventually specializing in all things local: farmers markets, farmers, ranchers, local producers (who make things like cookies, pickles and barbecue sauce). I loved my beat so much, but when COVID hit, it was my signal to retire.
Writing has always come naturally with me, clear back to elementary school. Our principal used to give creative writing assignments to my sixth grade class, and one was a “you are there” at a historical event. I chose the battle of the Alamo and scrawled my moment on tracing paper (who remembers tracing paper?) that I singed around the edges. Dropped red food coloring on it, too, for even greater dramatic effect.
All through my school years, I found essays and research papers easy. But I wasn’t clear that writing was my passion until I took a reporting elective in my final year of college and wrote more inches than anyone else in four classes. I asked the prof if I might be a good candidate for a writing career and he deadpanned: “Yes, I think you might.”
Fast forward to 1998. My Dead True Love started as a grief journal when my fiancé/soulmate was stricken with a heart attack while I was out of town. Yeah, it really happened that way, and I found out when I arrived home at the airport right after I deplaned. People always would say, “I can’t imagine…” And I would say, “You don’t want to. Not ever.”
Working my way through the SMU Writer’s Path program helped me wrap my brain around the fictional narrative of My Dead True Love and what has to happen to hold a reader’s interest. At one point, I asked the Writer’s Path director J. Suzanne Frank how much I should hew to the facts of what actually happened. She said, “Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” It was so freeing – especially since getting the facts and getting them right was foundational to my writing up to then.
In the time since my fiancé’s death, I have continued to actively seek the answer to the novel’s central question: Does something of our consciousness survive death? I’ve twice attended workshops at the Monroe Institute as well as a weekend retreat with Suzanne Giesemann. The evidence, especially from evidentiary mediums like Suzanne, seems unassailable. Do I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt? Not yet. But I’m getting there.
Today I spend my time with Alfonso Cevola, my partner of twenty-plus years. We both lost the loves of our lives at relatively young ages: 48 and 50. His wife died of multiple sclerosis in a worse-case scenario for the terrible disease. Alfonso and I met when a mutual friend felt he needed someone to talk to. I was only two years out from the event, so my wounds were still fresh but starting to heal. Grief groups as we know them today didn’t really exist then.
So we formed our own grief group, calling ourselves the Dead Mates Society. I even wrote a blog several years ago called “Table for Four, Dinner for Two” (http://t44d42.blogspot.com/). When Alfonso and I first started hanging out, we went out for dinner a lot. (He was in the biz, I was writing about the biz.) Because we understood that in grief, there’s a need to talk about and include our loved ones, we would always reserve a “table for four, but dinner for two.” I paused the blog in 2007. Alfonso’s name in the blog is Mario.
My other passion is cats. Cats, cats, cats. I never have more than three, but I tend to three dozen or so as part of the Feral Cat Group at SMU. We volunteers feed, water and provide shelter for as long as they live. I also do some volunteering at East Lake Pet Orphanage, a no-kill shelter near where I live.
One of our cats, Coco, came from ELPO; the sleek black girl is the only survivor of her litter and lived at ELPO for 18 months before she got adopted. She is our clown cat; everyone who likes energy and surprises should have one. As I write this, she’s lying on my desk, between keyboard and screens. Buttercup, a buff-ginger longhair, is our senior girl at fourteen. She’s our Velcro cat. Luigi is our little special-needs fellow, a brown tabby I scooped up out of a busy street as cars were driving over him. He was just five weeks old. He turns out to be part dwarf and has hypothyroidism. Meds changed his life. Of course he is terminally cute.
If you’ve read this far, here’s an Easter egg for hanging in. Lucobu Books: Can you guess now where the name comes from?