The author is a native Portlander and fourth generation Oregonian who, after surviving an attempt on her life by drowning, perpetrated by her older sister, grew up with three adopted siblings, two younger brothers and this ‘sister’. The family had horses, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, and a goat named Calamity on a six acre farm just outside the city limits. She spent her childhood riding bikes, riding horses, falling out of trees, hunting places where the chickens laid eggs to gather them, slinging sheep shit, and avoiding her sister.
Having been inspired by Sherlock Holmes in her formative years, she resolved to become involved in the criminal justice system long before entering Jackson High School. During high school, the author spent much of her time in French class writing novels. Je parle un peu de francais mais pas beaucoup. Her favorite authors at that time included Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft, later becoming enamored of Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, and Stephen King. The author found time to ski and jump horses, and she developed a love of photography from her father whose “trick” Christmas cards photos were the hit of the neighborhood.
The author developed a love of boxing by watching the major matches with her father, such as “The Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Dad was a big Smokin’ Joe Fraizer fan who did not like Ali. Her favorite was Michael Spinks, and later martial artists Bruce Lee and Lucy Liu.
During high school, the author won many awards on the speech/debate teams, won no awards at all on the volleyball and basketball teams, wrote for the school newspaper, took every creative writing class offered, and provided photography to the school paper and yearbook while managing to graduate with high honors as a member of the Honor Society. She also attempted to decriminalize prostitution at Youth Legislature.
At Occidental College, she earned a second-degree green belt in Shotokan karate, won awards for photography, wrote for the school newspaper, majored in English, minored in philosophy, and graduated with Honors and special distinction for a creative writing project.
After surviving Willamette Law School where her third-year writing project decried the exploitation of prostituted women by prostitution laws, the author practiced as a criminal lawyer, and was on the referral list for every battered woman’s shelter in the tri-county area. She was also on the referral list for the Portland Women’s Crisis Center and Council For Prostitution Alternatives. The author handled the nation’s first open adoption by a Lesbian couple of a non-related child, and sued the City of Portland Police for ignoring court orders that protected the rights of abused women to custody of their children. (Lost that one, damn.)
She tried cases in state and federal court, and argued appeals in front of the Oregon Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals while earning a black belt in Wu Ying Tao karate.
The author was politically active as a one of the thirteen original founding members of the Portland Lesbian Community Organizing Project, which involved participating in QUAC (Queers United Against Closets), and the Urban Amazons, which provided security to speakers such as Andrea Dworkin. She participated in the Rent-a-Dyke project which loaned real live dykes to the Portland Police Bureau to interact with the police in cultural sensitivity trainings. (Always fun to be the only person in a sensitivity training without a gun).
After about fifteen years of trial work, the author retired from the practice of law with a Form A resignation and worked as a freelance “contract” lawyer (a lawyer who works on contract for other lawyers), and a private investigator for lawyers. As an investigator, she learned every theory in Oregon law that can be used to sue a bar when someone gets shot.
Born as: Gemini – Year of the Dog
Most Admired Person: Benazir Bhutto
Favorite Book: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Favorite Movie: Song of The Thin Man
Words to Live By: Don’t get mad, get even.
Place I want to Visit Again: St. Augustine’s Florida
Place I never want to visit again: Jacksonville, Florida
Why I write: Because I’ve run out places to bury the real corpses
Contact Deni Starr: