But I am a writer—journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, newswriter—I've tried practically everything that can be done with words upon a page, screen, or any medium, in all genres except poetry. So far.
The first time I ever wrote anything for publication—or so I thought—I was eight years old. Like most boys who want to be writers, I wrote an adventure story, about knights in armor, if I recall correctly. I thought someone somewhere would publish it but, alas, I had no agent so...
But seriously...the next time I pursued my writing obsession was in my late teens when I was determined to break into The New Yorker. I sent them a host of stories—none of which, mercifully, were published, nor have they survived.
Finally, success! I began writing film reviews for my school newspaper, The Columbia Spectator, and after graduation, became a magazine writer for a small publication in New York.
Moving to California, I joined The San Francisco Chronicle, but was fired the day after I wrote practically the entire front page. You need more ground strokes, said my editor. So I went to play for the electronic bullpen, becoming a reporter/newswriter/producer at KTVU-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area. While there I won an Emmy (group) for newswriting, was nominated for another Emmy for reporting, worked as a foreign correspondent in Central America, wrote a cookbook on bananas, drank too much, partied too much and was thoroughly miserable. I realized if I stayed a journalist I'd either burn out or commit suicide by age 50. So I quit the daily grind.
Since I speak fluent Spanish (I was born in Cuba, remember?) I became a court interpreter in Los Angeles. Based on that experience I wrote the thriller "The Killing of the Saints," which, to my surprise, became a New York Times Notable Book. I wrote the movie adaptation of my novel for Paramount, then wrote something totally different, "The Great American," a historical novel based on the true story of William Morgan, an Ohio-born, blond, blue-eyed American who became one of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
I wrote two follow-ups to Saints, "Dead of Night," and 'Final Acts," then, shaken up by the tragedy of 9/11, I returned to journalism. My research on terrorism led me to co-write "Shadow Enemies: Hitler's Secret Terrorist Plot against the United States," about the band of saboteurs that Germany sent by U-boat to the U.S. in 1941. Finally, out of concern with the expansionist policies of the Bush Administration, and wanting to explore how the U.S. had become Rome, I wrote "Soldiers of Reason: The Rand Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire," a study of the world's most influential think tank, and how its scientists and theoreticians laid the foundation for the modern world we live in.
Over the past few years I've written three more novels, two of which I'll soon be selling as ebooks, "More Than A Woman," and "Tainted Love."
Oh, and since I do have a life, in between books and jobs and obsessions I married a lovely woman, Armeen, whom I met at KTVU. I have three kids—ages 21, 16 and 9—and for now I am splitting my time between the lovely beachtown of Del Mar, California and the new Athens of the Western World, Los Angeles.
Hope to hear from you soon.
eBook Shadow Enemies