Congrats on getting signed! Tell us a little bit about your writing background?
Thank you very much! I studied producing and wanted to pursue that route for a long time. My husband and I relocated to London for two and a half years, and I took the opportunity to really dive in and chase that dream. When we came back to the U.S., I had gained incredible experience especially reading scripts. But producing was no longer an option in my new small town where I'm fairly certain there are more cows than people. Then one day, I got a spark of an idea that I thought would make a great cinematic story. With my years of analyzing scripts, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to open a blank page and get to writing. I got the chance to use the tools I had learned over the years. And then it was as if the floodgates opened. The ideas haven't stopped since.
You signed with Kaplan Perrone. What was the process like? How did you know it was the right fit?
I have been following the careers of several clients of Kaplan/Perrone for a while because the work coming from those clients was personally intriguing to me. So, I was very excited to talk with Kaplan/Perrone because I knew their interest aligned with mine. And when they lit up talking about their personal journeys and current clients—watching that passion come through—I knew it was the right fit.
As a part of Roadmap's Top Tier program, how do you think it helped prepare you for this moment?
Every interaction and meeting through the Career Writer Program and Top Tier level made the next one easier and easier. There are always nerves when it comes to a meeting, but talking about your work and your passion is what managers/execs/producers want to see. Getting constructive feedback from those interactions helped me know I was on the right track. I was able to hone what made me excited about my work, where I wanted to go with my career, and also what unique perspective I had.
How do you infuse your voice into your work?
Voice is a constant lesson for me. I write historical dramas, so putting your voice into the mouths of historical figures or contexts can be tricky—and fun! It's that balance between wanting to be historically accurate, entertaining, and also accessible. When I find a project that takes a hold of me and won't let go, I ask myself why it matters so much to me. That's when I know I have something specific to say about the topic, and I make that the paramount driver in the story.
What matters most to you as storytellers?
Passion! I have definitely tried to write stories I wasn't passionate about, and it has always been frustrating. If you don't have passion in what you're writing, it shows like out-of-sync audio on a tap dance sequence. It's impossible to ignore and hard to recover from. It's the passion that makes things stand out and memorable.
Who are your writing influences?
I grew up watching old Hollywood movies from the 1930s and 1940s, so I am a huge admirer of anything Hollywood related. I find inspiration and tricks everywhere from THE LADY EVE to STAR WARS to DEADWOOD. Eric Roth said you cannot distill someone's life into two hours, you have to be a dramatist first. I have that taped on my wall. Reading Nora Ephron's scripts always inspire me to write clean and tight scenes. James Cameron's TITANIC was my first lightbulb into writing revisionist or historical drama. Ryan Murphy inspired me to take license with what I love and create a narrative like FEUD. And to mention an author, James A. Michener creates such incredible worlds with sweeping vistas and captivating characters that I am in awe of his command of saying so much with so little, yet keeping you engaged for hundreds of pages.
Other than getting signed, what's jazzing you right now?
It's summertime and everything is coming up in our homestead. Every year is a new year with new challenges, but I never fail to get excited about the summer payoff of all the planning, planting, and watering. Our bees have given us a great honey pot, our chickens are just starting to lay their first eggs, and our apple trees are blushing with promise for a good harvest.
How did you first discover Roadmap?
I am an avid participant in the Austin Film Festival. I countdown to that week in October like many people countdown to a football kickoff. I saw the Roadmap Writers logo on a wall during a panel about historical research (funny enough). I snagged one of the promotional red fans, which I still have, and made a note to look them up when I got home. I didn't have my first script yet, so I worked like mad to get my body of work together and my voice honed! I was ready three years later to enroll in the Career Writer Program.