I was so excited when I discovered Dennis Palumbo’s work because Dennis is (to my mind) one of those most exciting of authors: someone whose career informs his fiction. CJ Lyons is another such author whose Moment has appeared here, and Dennis’ profession of psychology is actually the same one that led to my writing my very first novel (also mentioned here in the crazy, roller coaster, backstory column). Today please join me in congratulating Dennis on the release of the first book in an exciting new series, out from Poisoned Pen Press, and read how for Dennis this is the latest in a series of Moments!
I’ve been writing since my teens, so I suppose there’ve been a number of little “made it” moments. In college, I wrote a lot for the school newspaper. Then, after graduation, I worked in advertising, writing copy. It wasn’t until I moved from the east coast to LA that I began writing commercially. I tried my hand at everything–spec TV scripts, short stories, whatever–and, strangely enough, when I finally started to sell things, it all happened at once. The same year I started work on the ABC-TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, I also sold my first mystery short story to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and my first novel (City Wars, a sci-fi thriller) to Bantam.
So I guess that was the year that I finally felt I’d “made it” as a writer. That I could earn a living doing it. For most writers, however, I believe career success is more like a series of plateaus reached than some one, finite “moment.” For example, despite my years as a TV sitcom writer, I had another “made it” moment when my first feature film My Favorite Year, co-written with Norman Steinberg) was released.
Now, years later, as a psychotherapist who’s long retired from show business, my latest “made it” moment occurred when Poisoned Pen Press accepted my first crime novel, Mirror Image. The first in a new series featuring psychologist Daniel Rinaldi, I’m especially pleased because it’s set in Pittsburgh, my home town. So perhaps Thomas Wolfe was wrong: you can go home again, at least in fiction!
Now I’m curious to see where my imagination will lead me next. As well as what my next “made it” moment will feel like.
Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is a licensed psychotherapist and author of Writing From the Inside Out (John Wiley). His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). Mirror Image, due out in August from Poisoned Pen Press, is his first crime novel.