When I was three-years-old,
completely undaunted by not yet having learned to read or write,
banging away at my father's old Underwood set on my doll's table,
I started a short story. A few years later, no doubt influenced
by a movie I’d seen about Chopin and the French author, George
Sand, I stopped into the cramped and cluttered stationery store
across the street from my elementary school, bought a green notebook
and a quill, and began my first novel. At the time, I was under
the spell of Mary O'Hara and Walter Farley, so the book was, predictably,
about a young city girl, like me, who moved with her family to a
ranch in the west and got her own horse.
I never finished it. And years would
pass until I finally realized my ambition to be a writer, first
working in television, on the hit series Dallas and Dynasty,
before going on to begin, and this time complete, another novel.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, I was
raised in the heart of a large Sicilian family, with grandparents,
aunts, uncles, cousins, all living either in our three-storey brownstone,
or nearby, in an apartment in the same the street, or - when they
married – just a few short blocks away.
When I was six, one of my aunts broke
with tradition and moved with her husband and my cousins forty-five
minutes across the Whitestone Bridge, up the Hutchinson River Parkway,
to New Rochelle, in Westchester County. It was a daring thing to
do in the context of our family, and it kindled in me a desire for
adventure, a love of travel, and a spark of independence. I visited
often and felt always I was going to another country, a world of
trees and gardens rather than iron railings and concrete sidewalks,
of swimming in the Long Island Sound instead of splashing in the
water of an open fire hydrant, of hide-and-seek played across unwalled
back yards, and softball games not in the street, but "The
Field” with its giant apple tree, which my friends and I climbed
to bring home apples for pies. One of the older girls, an only child,
adopted me, and, in addition to Canasta and Monopoly, introduced
me to the grand old library on Main Street, instigating my passion
I read everything, and wrote always.
In high school, in Brooklyn, I was News Editor of the school paper.
At the College of New Rochelle, I was editor of the year book, contributed
to the literary magazine, won a prize in a short story contest,
and had a poem included in an anthology of student poets, edited
by Howard Nemerov, among others. After graduating, I took a class
with Anatole Broyard at The New School, submitted stories to a few
magazines, and received rather encouraging letters of refusal. Still,
the end result was that I put my ambition on hold, at least for
Eager for “real life”
by the end of college, I passed up a scholarship to graduate school,
and took the only job I found that paid reasonably well. I started
as a secretary at NBC in New York, moved on to other television
and theater companies, and (after traveling to London and deciding
to stay) went to work at Richard Hatton Limited, a theatrical and
literary agency, eventually becoming head of the literary department.
The agency was small but powerful,
its client list including well-known writers, directors, and actors,
such as Sean Connery, then the number one box office star in the
world. Among the writers and directors with whom I worked were Robert
Shaw, author of many award-winning novels and plays (though perhaps
best known in the United States for his performance in Jaws);
Anthony Shaffer, who wrote the hit play Sleuth; and Sir
Richard Eyre, then just beginning his directing career.
Until that fateful trip, I had traveled
mostly along the northeast coast of the United States. Now, that
changed. With London as my base, I explored not only the city, but
the English countryside as well. I went to the Continent on holiday,
and on business to meet with publishers and theatrical managers
about books and plays and clients I represented, taking in as many
sights as I could without running myself ragged: the Bois de Boulogne,
St. Mark’s Square, the Uffizi, the Colisseum, the Tivoli Gardens.…
It was wonderful.
But, finally, after eight years of
working with writers, I decided it was time to stop procrastinating
and become one myself. I finished a screenplay, got on a plane to
Los Angeles, found an agent, and, eighteen grueling months later,
was hired to rewrite a script, which soon led to an assignment on
the Dallas mini-series. I joined the staff of the show
and remained until it soared to number one in the ratings. With
that, my career in television was established. I wrote television
movies, pilots for new series, produced Nurse, which won
Michael Learned an Emmy, and Dynasty in the season it finally
crept past Dallas in the ratings and reached number one.
In 1985, I took a sabbatical from
television, returned to London, and, trading in my notebook and
quill for a computer, finally wrote my novel, Lovers and Friends,
published in the United States by Arbor House in 1989, and in the
following years in England, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Since
then, I have co-executive-produced Falcon Crest, co-authored
two best-selling novels with Ivana Trump, and worked as a story
consultant on the CBS television series, Central Park West.
St. Martin's Press published my second
novel, The Wives of Frankie Ferraro, in 1998.
My third, The River, By Moonlight, was published in August, 2007.
here to visit Falcon Crest
here to visit Dallas
here to visit Dynasty
to St. Martin's Press
Trump, co-author of two best-selling novels.