Where are you from and what inspired you to become a television writer?
I’m from the Red State suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. As an only child, I spent a lot of time with old Hitchcock VHS’s, Crichton novels, and TV (I think I can still hum the theme song to the original Melrose Place even though I was way too young to be watching that). My weekly schedule was defined not only by homework and swim practice, but also by West Wing, CSI and ER. These, along with books and my own short stories, were my escape from the mundane and suburban. I left Ohio for college at Columbia, where I studied art history, and eventually went to work in the art world. However, I always came back to my love of film, TV and storytelling. When a short story of mine was published in American Short Fiction, I began to think seriously about a career that could marry many of my passions. Even though, sadly, ER was cancelled, a new crop of shows were filling the void, and I started to see that TV was the perfect place for me to tell the stories I wanted to tell.
What spec did you write to get into the Workshop?
Sons of Anarchy, with my writing partner Anna Musky-Goldwyn
Who is your all time favorite television character and why?
Claire Underwood. At least for now. Though this could be because I just mainlined an entire season of that show. Claire has a lot of things that I love in a character—ambition, power, ruthlessness, style. I’m always drawn to the schemers. The ones who are willing to cross lines and step over the bodies to get what they want. They’re just so much fun to watch. There’s been others before—Jemma Teller, Marlo Stanfield, Nina Miller, Mellie Grant, Amanda Woodward (yes, had to mention Melrose Place)—but Claire clearly tops that little pantheon with her regal chill. Can we take a moment to talk about how she played beer pong in the White House with the Secretary of State?