My interest in writing began at age seven. By age fourteen I was taking journalism courses and working on the school newspaper. Under my guidance our newspaper won a national first-place Columbia University journalism award and the staff went to New York City to receive it. In the post of features editor, I interviewed every famous person within range, from the Speaker of the U.S. House to musician Dave Brubeck. The photos below are from that period (I was a teenager.)
I won a couple of North Carolina first-place state awards in journalism. Immediately afterwards, at Duke University, I worked on The Chronicle, again interviewing interesting people, such as the head of the parapsychology lab, J.B. Rhine.
Following the advice of the Raleigh News & Observer reporter, David Murray, who accompanied me to Dearborn, Michigan, for the national leg of a state journalism contest I’d won,
I majored in history (graduated with Honors and Distinction).
I took a master’s degree in literature at Columbia University (thesis on William Faulkner). Graduated, I lived in the City. My ambition had always been focused on writing But my first job was as a receptionist for the New York branch of a Hollywood literary agency. Moving on, I joined United Feature Syndicate as an assistant editor. With my press credentials, I attended interesting New York events.
After almost a year I switched jobs again—moving to Random House with the coveted position of copy editor. Those were the “golden days of publishing.” The copy editor’s job was extensive, and without a computer I would fact check by phoning the Daily News. Realizing I worked well with very creative people, I was often assigned a writer with a first book. That included folk singer/novelist Richard Fariña (cult classic: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me). And Hunter S. Thompson (best seller: Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga). And John Irving. But I also worked with high-profile authors such as nightly news anchor Chet Huntley or First Amendment Supreme Court lawyer Cy Rembar (classic: The End of Obscenity, reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Sunday book review section). Another New York Times best seller was the comedy Heaven Help Us!
After Random House, I taught briefly at the Fred Astaire studio on Park Avenue, hoping this schedule would give me more time to write. I left and went to MacDowell Colony for artists. This was a wonderful time in pure writing on my “big book.” Afterwards, however, I married a Belgian poet; together we lived in Morocco, mostly villages. Through requests of successful friends, I kept my hand in editing while living in Belgium. But immediately upon returning to the U.S. in 2001, I jumped back into editing regularly. My love for it had never dwindled. Never flamed out. It keeps my brain as sharp as possible.
I am known for cutting excess verbiage. Also for asking astute questions.
Try me. I hope we are a fit. What constitutes a fit? A serious writer. The better quality the gift, the more we are a fit. Someone who can take criticism as a step toward a better manuscript and return with a much-improved page or chapter or book. Someone who puts the time in. Someone who is strongly motivated. Someone I enjoy working with and vice versa.