One of my favorite toys as a kid was the View-Master™, viewing those round cardboard reels of distant places for hours. I also loved listening to the countless hours of storytelling by my large extended Appalachian family who gathered often. Storytelling is as old as the West Virginia hills I grew up in. Throw in Friday nights at the movies, and it instilled in me a love of story and exploration of place.
I had many jobs. From stuffing burgers in a bag, to counting buffalo on a wildlife refuge, to putting on a uniform and jumping out of airplanes and bringing down the Wall. I became a freelance journalist covering bridal fashions, war refugees, running races, country music and more- tragedies to triumphs, well known folks to little known.
My ultimate dream of being a screenwriter came true. Amazingly, of an Australian film with Appalachian roots. I even had jobs on screen. Hobbling to a fake ambulance from my fake car crash with fake blood on my real forehead in Chicago was a favorite. That’s right. CHICAGO FIRE. Those gigs, and more, made my life story richer and provided fodder for creating stories. Gigs! The term career no longer fit my life with a sidelining Army injury and caring for my army family. Daughter grew and left home to create her own Story. Injury residuals stayed. During the surgery and therapy years, I could do little but percolate stories in my mind, tell them to my beagle Iggy Pup and my cat Motor Jane, and ride a trike. That’s right. I became a triker.
background sound for Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon film. Talk about your background noise!
Seriously. In the Adidas commercial, Wake Up- The Return of Derrick Rose. What? You thought I played or was a half-time performer? Check out the ad here.
She made a film in my hometown! Ursula Ellis. Remember that name. Learn more about her films here.
I rode on the “El” train in Chicago in a loop for 6 hours for a scene on the show. No motion sickness for me.
I began to put words on paper again after the percolation period and found that I have knack for writing adaptations. And I love it! I adapted my own short story to script to film and also adapted Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Black Tulip, which had a Live Read in Toronto with ROSA AND THE BLACK TULIP and won many awards.
I’m co-writing someone’s memoir. Jason McDonald, founder of The Great Mississippi Tea Company, with his partner, Timmy Gipson. I’m writing the script adaptation, too! And studying to be a tea specialist, so I’d say I’m a tea enthusiast.
I have written two TV pilots and five feature screenplays available for production.
I'm a co-producer of two of my writer-director daughter’s award-winning films. Ursula Ellis. One filmed in my WV hometown! Ursula is now repped by Circle of Confusion.
I give talks and workshops about writing, adaptation and film. And even tea. I last spoke about film adaptation at the Lewisburg Literary Festival. And I gave a tea tasting in the lobby of a Holiday Inn in Dallas for friends. Send me a note if you’re interested.
Ariana Marquis as Rosa