I was born in Los Angeles, a third-generation native, and grew up in a family of voracious readers. As an undergraduate at Reed College, I decided I wanted to become a historian. I was attracted to history, the sweep of events, the outsized personalities. Russian history was my specialty. I attended Keele University on a student exchange in Russian Studies, in pursuit of that field, when I woke up in the middle of the night on my 21st birthday, and realized I wanted to be a writer. What attracted me about history was the story, the characters, the writing itself. But I didn’t want to be an academic. I wanted to be Anais Nin, wear a cape and false eyelashes and have Henry Miller for a lover. It didn’t happen, alas. Henry was dead by that time, and I have a hard time with the eyelash glue. But I did become a writer.
I’ve taught fiction writing in the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing program, at UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, at the AROHO Residency at Ghost Ranch, and at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers summer writing conference. Most recently, I’ve lectured at the UCR Palm Desert Low Residency MFA and Antioch Low Residency MFA programs, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing and Publishing. After two novels set in Los Angeles, I’m deep into a book set during the Russian Revolution.