“And so,” New York Times best-selling novelist Luanne Rice said, “I set off in search of an interesting life.”

Rice (author of Crazy in Love, Beach Girls, Sand Castles and Silver Bells which was a Hallmark Hall of Fame feature) knew she wanted to write at an early age. “So,” she told the Maui Writers Conference audience, “I went out into the world in my early 20’s to experience adventures and find material.”

Those adventures included:

* working as a cook/maid for a wealthy mansion-owning family in Newport News, RI. Sample duties included going grocery shopping in a Rolls Royce and fending off advances from women-chasing yachtsmen involved in the America’s Cup sailing race.

* working on a scallop boat and surviving a “perfect storm” with 20 foot high waves

* studying humpback whales at Woods Hole

* following her role model Ernest Hemingway’s example and traveling to Paris

* lunching at the Algonquin Hotel with famed writer Brendan Gill who admired an essay of hers

* living for a brief time in Washington DC and covering environmental issues on Capital Hill

The result?

“I ended up coming home to Connecticut and writing about families. I call this the ‘Ruby Slippers’ of writing. You don’t have to travel the world for material. All you have to do is click three times and come home. What I discovered is, ‘You’re interesting enough.'”

Respected author Raymond Carver obviously agreed with her conclusion. “There are signficiant moments in everyone’s day that can make literature,” he told a reporter years ago. “You have to be alert and pay attention to them. That’s what you ought to write about.”

Be sure to check out Luanne’s latest project What Matters Most at http://www.Luanne_Rice.com. Submit your own insight into what matters most in life — and she and her publisher Bantam will donate to Women Build, a subsidiary of Habitat for Humanity.