After graduating Dartmouth College with a BA in Film Studies, I was well-prepared to find work as a butler and bartender, a cook and an EMT, a dog trainer, a driver. I washed dishes with Vin Diesel. I made movies and wrote short stories and plays, scripts and, yes, novels that more often than not featured the street mutts that had a habit of wiggling their way into whatever apartment I was living in at the time. I worked construction, loaded trucks, tutored and taught. The hardest and best work was the teaching. I started out with the Creative Arts Team, specializing in HIV/AIDS prevention and conflict resolution workshops. These days I work with organizations like Literacy for Incarcerated Teens and Behind the Book. Seeing young people learn how to tell their life stories in ways that might bring them a step closer to realizing their dreams—-that’s like finding treasure. I live with my family, human and canine, in New York City, which is chock-full of stories, not to mention characters.