I was born in Texas but raised until the age of thirteen in what has to be considered “the backwoods” a few miles outside of Danville, Illinois. Except for the times we went to our grandparents’ home, I lived in houses that often had “outhouses” and the old-fashioned hand pump that provided drinking water brought into the house by buckets. We washed out of a sink and managed a bath out of a galvanized tub. Because my father had horrific arthritis, his work was limited. There was love… but not much in the way of luxuries.If this seems like a tale right out of “Little House on the Prairie,” I guarantee it was not nearly as romantic. After graduating from elementary school, I was asked by my grandmother and an uncle to accompany them for the summer to Venice, California. There, I suddenly had an indoor shower and the beach as well as everything a kid could ever want. I fell in love with Southern California and determined never to return to Illinois again. I begged to be allowed to go to Junior High in California, and my parents acquiesced. After a year, I refused to go back to Illinois, forcing my parents and sisters to move to California. I can still remember that fateful call where I threatened to run away if I could not live in California.
That call changed all of our lives. My parents had better lives in California. Four sisters all had the chance (which we would not have had) to go to great school and colleges. I fell into a career that would have been impossible in Illinois. I found Hollywood, and it found me. It was such a “Cinderella” story that I was written up in “TV Guide” and “Writers’ Digest.”
That trip West at thirteen was the beginning of a creative quest which has sustained me for a lifetime.Along the way, I’ve taught screenwriting. I’ve dabbled in the first online screenwriting programs offered by AOL, UCLA and UC Riverside. I have had the chance to mentor some of the finest young writers an instructor could ever meet. And now, at the end of two careers, I’ve embarked on a third as a book author. Whatever the future holds, it’s been one heck of a journey. I am just happy to be the traveler.