Thelma Zirkelbach was born and raised in Austin, Texas, USA. At age four, she composed a poem that went, "Happy as a chicken, Happy as a pig, Happy as a rabbit that danced a little jig" and announced that someday she would be a writer. Okay, she had a ways to go, but her goal was clear. It would, however, take several decades to realize that goal. As a child she loved pretending. She and her friends dressed up in her mother's old clothes and imagined they were movie stars or shipwrecked on a desert island. Or she created elaborate stories about a set of paper dolls that lived in, of all places, an orphanage. Her other favorite thing to do was read. She was always being accused of having her nose in a book. She still does.
Pretending gave way to more realistic activities in high school and college—football games, parties, school activities. When she had to declare a college major, she impulsively chose speech pathology because she had recently read an article about it in Seventeen magazine. It's a choice she never regretted. Near the end of her junior year, her college career was interrupted when her dress blew into a gas stove and she was severely burned. She spent three months in a burn ward and four more in bed at home. She had to learn to walk all over again, but she also learned that she had the fortitude to overcome pain and the determination to return to her normal life. Within a year she was back in school.
After graduation she moved to Houston where she worked as a speech pathologist in the public schools for a year and then quit to get married, have babies, drive carpools, and bake cookies. She had become June Cleaver. Divorce brought that phase of her life to a close. She returned to college for a masters degree, met her present husband, and the two of them combined their families. She'd moved from Leave it to Beaver to The Brady Bunch.
She was busy—working as a speech pathologist, going back to school again for a doctorate, and raising a rambunctious family of three kids. Then one day she picked up a Silhouette Romance and got hooked. Soon, reading wasn't enough; she was determined to write a book of her own. She joined Romance Writers of America, started attending conferences and entering contests. Finally on day she got "the call." She'd sold her first book. She combined her two children's names—Lori and Michael—to come up with her pen name Lorna Michaels, and saw her first book published in 1991. She also wrote as Thelma Zirkelbach and Thelma Alexander. She has continued her private speech pathology practice and written 10 more books. How does she find the time? Except for an occasional special program, she doesn't watch television. But the sacrifice has been worth it. She's fulfilled her lifelong dream of being a writer. Today, she has 3 grown children, 2 grandchildren, and 2 demanding cats.