Wednesday, November 4, 2015

L.A. to Atlanta - And Still I Write


I am a transplant from Los Angeles to Atlanta. I will admit that my heart will always be in L.A., though I've lived in Atlanta for 10 years, and I appreciate the benefits of living in the south. The cost of living is way better, and two of my children and their families are here, even though I still have a son and his family in L.A.  For the latter reason, I do at times feel torn between the two cities. When I'm in L.A., I yearn to move back. It calls to me like an old lover - the smell, look and feel of it all are so familiar and so comfortable. And trust me, I will always be a Laker girl at heart. But when I arrive in Atlanta and see the cost of living differences, and the roots I've set up here, I'm glad I'm here. It's still new to me, it's a challenge, and I found my true love here in my forever mate. But oh how great it would be to be in two places at one time. Two Places at One Time - a title?

Born and raised in L.A., with my dad being a well-known musician and my mom being an actress, I was exposed to the entrainment lifestyle early on, as the Beach Boys and Sammy Davis Jr. would often come to our home and I would go to the recording studio with my father. Later, when I was four years old, my parents opened a dress shop and a restaurant in L.A, and later, after they divorced, my mom opened a gym and several real estate offices. They were never the 9-to-5 types. They were very creative, type-A for sure, and they definitely had entrepreneurial spirits. And as such, I took after them, becoming a model, commercial actress, talk show host, TV news reporter, etc., and then, eventually, at the age of 40, I found my true gift - writing.

I sat down to write my life story in 1998, and one year later, I turned what was to have been non-fiction, into a fiction novel called May December Souls. I shopped it and was rejected dozens of times, but after talking to Michael Baisden who suggested that I self-pub my book, I did just that and released it in 2000. By 2001 I had an agent and a two-book deal with Harper Collins. Since then I have written over twenty titles (which includes novellas, anthologies, and titles under my pen names). I have not looked back. 2018 will mark a 20 year milestone in my career. Time flies when you find your passion!

After moving from L.A. to Atlanta, I found that a lot of true readers in the south are more likely to come to an author event than in celebrity-driven California. A lot of those who came to my events in Cali were my supportive friends. Also, when I'm on tour, most of my events are on the east coast. The cost of travel from the ATL is less expensive than flying to say NY from L.A. or to Florida from L.A. What I do love about L.A. is that because I was born and raised there, and I know a lot of people, some business owners and friends are very accommodating about setting up events and showing up when I'm in town.

Most of my titles are set in L.A. and Atlanta, though I have titles that are set in Florida, Nevada, and internationally as well. My next title will be set in both Texas and Alabama.

The bottom line is that wherever I am, whichever city I live in, my love of writing makes itself at home in my heart, and that's what's important. But I'm old enough and wise enough to know that what's most important is the love of family and friends. Wherever I end up, I will serve my purpose for being born: which is to make a difference, love and be loved, and reach one, teach one by giving back.

And yes, you can take this girl out of California, but you cannot take California out of this girl, lol! Any transplants out there?

Happy Writing!!


4 comments:

Jewel Amethyst said...

Yes, I'm a transplant too, just not from LA. Just like the t-shirt said, "You can take the girl out of the island, but you can't take the island out of the girl". At least that's my take on it.

I enjoyed this post.

Charles Gramlich said...

The whole idea of growing up in a huge city is foreign to me. I grew up on a farm. That's what I miss. I guess wherever you come from gets in your blood.

Liane Spicer said...

Fascinating! I keep learning all these interesting tidbits about the lives of those I call 'my writer people'. :)

Okay, I'm trying not to go all ga-ga groupie here, but... Sammy Davis Jr! Beach Boys! *faint*

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hi Jewel, fellow transplant, Island Girl!! Thanks for your comment!!

Charles, I think that living on a farm would be so cool! Yes, in the blood wherever for sure!

Liane, lol, I don't even remember. I was told, but I was very young. I love this theme. We do learn so much more about our fellow authors. Thx!