Okay, so it feels bizarre and strange for me to go on and on about my Life History here. But I’ll give you the basics: I was born in Los Angeles, where I learned to read at a young age, and mostly off the billboards that lined Sunset Boulevard. My younger sister and I had vivid imaginations, and would spend entire days in character pretending to be castaways on a desert island or the lead actors in Grease. During fourth grade I wrote Judy Blume long, furtive letters about my friends and the cliques in my school. She always wrote me back, and her books seemed to address exactly how I was feeling as I was feeling it. This instilled in me the driving force that has shaped –and sometimes derailed – my life. I wanted to be a writer.

My family moved to New York when I was ten. It was around this time that I began writing stories in school. It was also around this time that my dad became a well-known television personality on ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly. Later, in highschool, I also got clear braces and a terrible case of acne. All of these things conspired to make me feel Extremely Weird. This only intensified my desire to be a writer.

After graduating from Brown University, I worked at Seventeen, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Miramax Films. After taking some time off to try to start writing again, I got panicked and decided I needed a real career. I decided to attend law school at the University of Notre Dame. But soon the writing muse piped up again. I started taking fiction classes with the undergraduates and eventually completed the MFA program in Creative Writing. It was during this time that I got the idea for a book about three friends who were all daughters of famous parents, but I tucked it away, choosing instead to write my version of The Great American Novel. (What was this about? you may ask. My answer: I have no idea.)

I moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to try my hand at television writing, and landed on a show called “Las Vegas.” A year later, in the middle of the writer’s strike, I told a friend of mine about that my little book idea. His reaction was so positive that I started working on it immediately. I sold the series eight months later to Little, Brown.

I now live in Los Angeles just a few blocks from where I grew up. I have a pug named Edie who always winds up in my lap when I write. When I’m not in front of my computer I like to hike in the canyons, ride my bike, and practice yoga. And I now follow Judy Blume on Twitter.

 
Copyright © 2011 Joanna Philbin. All rights reserved.   Illustration by Tracy Shaw    Site design by Kirk Benshoff