About Me

After obtaining a Certificate in Screenwriting from UCLA in the early aughts, I was accepted to the Sundance Producers Conference and  went on to write and direct the independent feature, All You Need, starring two-time Academy Award nominee, Shirley Knight, which played on the festival circuit. After several “it’s my breakthrough!/oh no, it’s not my breakthrough” moments, I began writing young adult fiction featuring Iranian American heroines (I *never* encountered growing up), who make messy, complicated choices that rapidly snowball into avalanches. Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win is my young adult fiction debut. I was born in Nebraska, grew up in Los Angeles and lived in San Francisco for two years before spending the next fifteen in Sonoma County before moving to the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area with my husband, Wayne, and my Pug mix, Teddy. Our son, Alec, lives in New York.


My Story

Look at me. Did my mother cut my hair with a machete? My grandmother began my obsession with reading when I was four, and I won an essay contest in fourth grade that included a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm (I got duped–it was only to see the Fake Liberty Bell). I’ve been writing ever since! Here’s how:


As you soon as you type "The End," dive into your next WIP.


Become part of a community of readers and writers who will buoy you when you need it.


Avoid people who are negative or discourage your dream.


Save your pennies to pay for at least one professional editorial consult.


Have a writing toolkit that includes resources such as Lisa Cron's Story Genius.


Unapologetically carve out time and space for your writing.


Consider shifting your definition of success to the joy of expressing yourself creatively.


my 20-year journey to publication

I started working on Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win twenty-plus years ago, when I snail mail queried St. Martin’s Press the coming-of-age novel Spin the Bottle, which was, mercifully, rejected. However, one story thread survived: the ethical quandary Jasmine finds herself in when she discovers her best friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her.

Several years later, I inserted that thread into an evolving feature film script about a high school election in which the cheating boyfriend is also Jasmine’s campaign manager.

But something was missing – until I decided to anchor the book in 1979, as the Iran Hostage Crisis explodes across the news, forcing Jasmine to reckon with her identity in a way she never has before when her opponent stirs up anti-Iranian hysteria.

And then, some twenty-plus years after the initial snail mail query, I landed a two-book deal with Wednesday Books, a division of — you guessed it! — St. Martin’s Press.


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