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BIOGRAPHY

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 for reading.

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 a while.

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.

Click here to visit Falcon Crest
Click here to visit Dallas

Click here to visit Dynasty

Link to St. Martin's Press
Ivana Trump, co-author of two best-selling novels.