I’m often asked how I became a writer. The funny thing is, that may have been an underlying dream, but it was never the plan. Instead, I earned a master’s in communication, hoping to do something somewhat practical with my life. Upon completing my degree, I moved to New York City for a PR internship at Comedy Central, where I spent my days responding to viewer letters and helping promote The Daily Show. The assistant to the head of the network happened to sit nearby, and she recommended a temp agency to contact when my internship was over.
She had a feeling they’d hook me up with an amazing next gig.
They did not disappoint. Within hours of my interview at the agency, I found myself assigned to a desk in production and development at Miramax/Dimension Films. I was only supposed to be there for a day, typing up memos, answering phones. But my boss took a chance on me and asked for my thoughts on a script. He was impressed with my story sense and I was soon reading and evaluating material full-time. Most of my coworkers had gone to film school, but I had not, so I spent every spare moment watching any classic movie I could lay my hands on while staying up-to-date on new films and up-and-coming projects.
Eventually, I moved on to a job at a talent management company, where I worked one-on-one with screenwriters. While the point of this job was to prepare me for a career as a manager for writers, my professional goals had evolved, and soon found that I wanted to be a writer. Giving notes to others to help shape their material wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted to be the one spinning stories. Before long, I was writing “spec” (sample) episodes of sitcoms. Once I’d developed a real feel for structure and nailed down my voice, I graduated to full-length feature screenplays. While some writers struggle for inspiration, ideas were teaming in my head. Getting them onto paper quickly enough was the real challenge.
In time, I sold a screenplay to a studio. At first it was on the fast track, then it got derailed—but I learned a lot. And having met my first major writing goal, I upped the ante. I dove into a novel. The idea for Annabeth Neverending had been dancing in my head for years. I loved the idea of a couple separated again and again by death, only to reunite across different lifetimes, different time periods. I was yet again faced with the daunting task of learning by doing. For somebody who went to school for an extra-long time, it’s crazy how many skills I’ve had to develop on my own.
Now that Annabeth is out there, I’m playing Double Dutch, working on my screenwriting (including an adaptation of Annabeth) while planning out the future books in the series. I guess my particular writing journey has taught me that it doesn’t matter if the destination changes, so long as you have one.
About Leyla Kader Dahm
Wisconsin native Leyla Kader Dahm popped popcorn and dreamt of a career in show business while working in a movie theater during high school. The small-town Midwestern girl opted for the practical route and studied communications at Carroll College and Cornell University. But her life changed course dramatically when a temp agency placed her in a production and development gig at Miramax/Dimension Films.
Dahm went on to work as a script consultant for numerous production companies. She appeared in the acclaimed spoken word show Sit ‘N Spin and had her comedy feature spec, Due North, optioned by Michael Levy Enterprises. She sold her pitch, Survival Instinct, to Nickelodeon Original Movies.
Dahm lives with her husband and children in Los Angeles, where she focuses on writing quality material for families and young adults.
At first, teenager Annabeth Prescott thinks she’s found quite a deal when she talks down the price of an ankh pendant she discovers at a flea market. She soon wonders if the bauble is more than she’s bargained for when she faints and glimpses images from a past life in ancient Egypt.
The discovery coincides with another new find: Gabriel, a handsome young man who takes an interest in her. When she meets his twin brother C. J. at a Halloween party, she realizes they look exactly like two boys who figure prominently into her memories.
Does C. J. share the heroic qualities held by his past incarnation Sethe, her bodyguard when she was Princess Ana? Does Gabriel possess the same evil powers he wielded as Kha, the black sorcerer who sought her affection?
Love meets the supernatural in this gripping young adult paranormal romance. Readers with an interest in reincarnation, as well as ancient Egypt, will be drawn to its mystical mixture of history and hesitation as Annabeth sways between the two brothers.
Will her reincarnated soulmate win out? Or will Kha finally find the way to her heart?