Before I started writing, I worked as a Professional Engineer specializing in the rehabilitation of historic structures and forensic investigations of building failures. I inspected buildings and managed rehabilitation projects in Cleveland, Ohio for over ten years. Then my life took an unexpected turn.
My first son was born in 2006 and my second came along in 2009. Juggling two kids and a demanding career proved to be a bit too much for me to manage without screaming in traffic, so I hung up my hard hat for a few years to do the Mommy Thing.
I lasted about three weeks as a stay-at-home mom before I cracked.
I got restless. Nap times became a pile of lost, guilt-ridden hours spent neglecting the laundry and dreaming up unnecessary renovation projects. I took up gourmet cooking, I started a consulting business. Then, on an ill-advised whim, I decided to try my hand at something I'd dreamed of doing since I was six years old. I decided to write.
Engineers are not known for being good writers. I felt like an utter impostor sitting there at my laptop. I had attempted and failed the National Novel Writing Month more than once. I'd dropped out of writer's workshops. It was the worst kind of pipe dream, but I had a story to tell.
Years earlier, during a survey of a vacant bank, I stumbled into a basement vault rumored to contain hundreds of unclaimed safe deposit boxes. The mystery of the boxes haunted me for years. Who rented them? Why were they left behind? What lay hidden inside? Hundreds of questions begged for answers.
I started writing The Dead Key in 2010. Every morning while my baby slept and my toddler played at preschool, I wrote. Some days I wrote insufferable crap. Some days it wasn't so bad. Every once in a while, a good idea would emerge from my laptop. Regardless, I sat there and typed 1500 words a day, five days a week, for eight months. Once I found a rhythm, the first draft came pouring out.
Revising and editing proved far more challenging. I nearly gave up many, many times over the course of four years. If it wasn't for my saint of a husband, I'm sure I would have quit long before the first rejection letter came.
After nearly four years of rewrites and desperate to find a publisher, I entered a contest on-line, not believing for one minute my first novel would get past the second round. Imagine my astonishment when The Dead Key won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Grand Prize in 2014. I fell to my knees and cried. Apparently, pipe dreams do come true.
My boys are older now. I still maintain my license as an engineer to pay the bills just in case I wake up from this fabulous dream. I love living in Northeast Ohio with my husband, my boys, and my dog. I'm thrilled to still be writing, with a potential series in the works.
D.M. Pulley lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a dog named Hobo. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a Professional Engineer rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley's structural survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Since then, Pulley has sold over a half a million books worldwide, and her work has been translated into eight different languages.
Pulley's historical mysteries shine a light into the darker side of life in the Midwest during the twentieth century, when cities like Detroit and Cleveland struggled to survive. Her latest novel, No One’s Home, unravels the disturbing history of an old mansion haunted by family secrets, financial ruin, and murder. The abandoned buildings, haunted houses, and buried past of the Rust Belt continue to inspire her work.