I wrote my first report about Madam Walker when I was a senior in high school in 1970.
I only published my first novel at the age of 40. Till then, I wrote short stories.
When I first wrote 'Papa Hemingway,' there were too many people still alive, and the lawyers for Random House didn't want to OK it. But now all that's been filtered away by the passage of all these people. And having the fortune of surviving, I now feel that I am the custodian of what Ernest wanted the world to know about him and these women.
It came about as follows: over the years when I was involved in dianetics, I wrote the beginnings of many stories. I would get an idea, and then write the beginning, and then never touch it again.
The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down.
When I wrote 'The West Wing,' the juice behind it was that in popular culture, our leaders in government are generally portrayed as Machiavellian, or as idiots. I thought, well, how about writing about a group of hyper-competent people?
When we were doing 'The West Wing,' the hardest thing about doing 'The West Wing' was being compared to yourself. You go out there and want every episode to be as good as your best episode. I wrote 88 episodes of 'The West Wing,' and when you do that, one of them is going to be your 88th best, so your 88th best better be pretty good.
The first thing I wrote was a one-act play that got accepted at a one-act play festival, and I was in it along with Nathan Lane and a couple of other very good actors.
I was around computers from birth; we had one of the first Macs, which came out shortly before I was born, and my dad ran a company that wrote computer operating systems. I don't think I have any particular technical skills; I just got a really large head start.
I wrote in my book, 'unPlanned,' about a church that kicked me out when they found out that I worked for Planned Parenthood. I often get questioned about that, whether I still think they made the wrong decision. My answer is a resounding 'Yes.'