I wanted to write fiction almost all my life (since third grade!), but pursued a career as a computer applications trainer. While I enjoyed my work, I had a persistent urge to write historical novels. The first step I took toward realizing my dream was enrolling in a Fiction course at Gotham Writers Workshop.
It meant a great deal to me that I could study with you, both in New York City and online, while holding down a full-time job. I went on to take two sections of the advanced Novel course and also the Novel Master Class in Novel, with the best writing teachers I’ve encountered anywhere, Masha Hamilton and Floyd Kemske. They were supportive, and the classes were engaging and enjoyable. I came away knowing how to build a scene and structure a novel. Gotham convinced me that fiction writing is a craft that can be taught.
My first novel, I Am Livia, is a new take on the life of the Roman empress who is most famous as the villain in I, Claudius. A finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, it was bought by Amazon Publishing for its Lake Union imprint. Working with outstanding publishing professionals at Amazon has been a great privilege. I Am Livia will be released on May 1, 2014 and has been optioned for film.
I’m now a full-time novelist completing my second book. Thank you, Gotham!
Phyllis T. Smith