Woman becomes novelist after losing job during COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Close to 2 million Texans have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Even more are out of work, and many of them are in the energy industry. On Tuesday, ABC13 met a woman who is spending her time off writing a novel.

After 32 years at the same seismic data company, Deane Gremmel lost her job in April due to COVID-19.

"I shed a lot of tears," Gremmel said. "I ate a lot of chocolate ice cream and a lot of cake. I went through a lot of emotions."

Gremmel said with the casualty of the pandemic and a weak energy market, she weathered many downturns.

"It was always in the back of my mind, being laid off." she said. "I just tried to push it away, but finally it came to fruition two weeks ago."

Being the sole provider for her family, Gremmel decided to try something different.

Gremmel was a part-time writer before the pandemic and the author of 12 books. Now, she's a full-time novelist. She writes four to five pages a day now, publishing under the pen names Chris Pike and Blake O'Connor.

Her newest book takes place after a power grid fails in Houston.

"Living the results of a pandemic are completely different than writing about it," Gremmel said. "Things I didn't even think about. "

With a renewed purpose and new goals, Gremmel is now offering advice to others who lost there jobs during the pandemic.

"I experienced a lot of anger, and I know that if anger channeled correctly, you can do great things," she said. "You can accomplish a lot. That's what I'm doing right now."

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