Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Actress and renowned author Millicent Sheridan Gets Up Close and Personal

 

1) Tell me a little about your past career(s)

I grew up an avid equestrian (horse-a-holic) in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village; singing, dancing, acting in musical theater and riding horses were my daily passions, my reason for being. Arriving in Hollywood's glamorous entertainment industry was a quick 30 minute drive down the 101 when I landed my first union TV job at age 18, Go-Go dancing opposite Garry Shandling. I co-hosted 'Up All Night' on USA Network with Rhonda Shear and by the 1994-1995 I was working opposite Bobby De Niro and Jack Nicholson, being directed by film masters Martin Scorsese and Sean Penn, who I had the priceless pleasure of learning from. From 1995 to 2000 I was singing Gershwin Bros. and Cole Porter tunes at every cool nightclub lounge from Santa Monica to Hollywood, from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas under the musical direction of the late Walter Wissman. I've even tapped danced and belted disco-tunes at Wizards Theatre at Universal City Walk, you name it, I did it!

2) What led you to becoming an author/poet, did you tire of the movies?

I could never tire of movies, TV or live stage work, ever! Performing is like a drug of sorts, I just took a time-out to focus on motherhood, horses and my writing passion. I'm lucky owning and wearing both hats; I get to escape into whatever character(s) I'm playing and/or currently writing about! Since I was 11-years-old my night-stand journal has always been written in a secret-code poetry format. By sheer luck I was invited to a fancy Hollywood Hills estate party where I met the who's who of the L.A. poet society; from SNL writers, to every literary genius you can fit into a 5k sq. ft. When the amazing poetess/novelist Cynthia Ward Walker invited me to submit my poetic work in 1993 for consideration in the ground-breaking literary publication, 'The Saturday Afternoon Journal' I jumped in, with both boots at the ready. My first published poetic work "A Sense of Place" was well received which inspired me even more to share my writing with the world.

3) How much of you is in the book?

200% of me! I believe if you don't give of yourself completely when writing anything from fiction to poetry, to a biography, or a screenplay; you are a fraud to yourself, and a fraud to your readers. As an actress, yes, I love fictionalizing while escaping into my character(s), but I always write their stories from an inner place of truth. I let my heart and soul fill the pages.

4) What do you think your readers will take from the book?

I hope my readers escape alongside my character(s) romantic journey. If I can help others open their hearts through fiction, like the protagonist character Mary Mathews does when she opens the flood gates of her heart, taking a 'love risk' into the unknown, no matter the cost; I've given my readers the journey I wanted them to take.

5) Do you prefer fiction or poetry?

OMG#BOTH! Which writers inspire you? Voltaire, Buck Brannaman, Shakespeare, Caroline Myss, PH.D., I gain inspiration from a plethora of world class authors, depending which century and mood I'm into emotionally, leads to which book and page I turn to re-read and devour my unquenchable thirst for more knowledge. The minute we stop reading and learning about life and every tiny bit in-between, is the moment a person's soul dies. I want to die old and happy, with a young sexy Euro/Latin ranch hand at my side, saddling one of my horses for my evening sunset ride, while passing me a glass of ONEHOPE wine from the barn-fridge.

6) How do you fit in all the work you do with horses, charities etc?

Lots of coffee, lots of Love and very little sleep (we can sleep when we are dead), plus my endless passion for any equine and human cause(s) I hold need and dear. Horses and charity time are not work, but effortless when you are blessed and able to give of yourself to the cause(s) you take on.

7) What is your take on what is happening in the entertainment industry today, as a Mother?

Wow, what great question; I would've loved to have come up with such a 'Mommy Mind Pondering' question like yours. Listen, I just turned 46 and I'm proud as a mom and as a woman to witness just how far the industry has evolved 14-years into this new century. Women behind the scenes and at the forefront of great films and stories which need to be told to the masses are my personal hero's. Hollywood's Power Moms like Angelina Jolie and many other amazing fellow moms like you and I, are speaking up around the world about the horrors of human trafficking, domestic and sexual violence, hunger and needless wars, which only devour our planet that we're trying to rescue back into blue and green fruitful pastures. A lot of super people in our industry are on track with what truly matters; saving lives by educating the public, producing and airing needed 'True Story's'. I commend HBO, Showtime and CNN for their courage!

8) I heard you have already started your new book? Can you tell me a little about that?

I'm so excited and addicted to all my new character(s). My next novel "Hollywood to the Holy Land" is about 45-year-old actress Kathy Davis who's on a personal mission of self-reflection and discovery in Israel. There's lots of Hollywood drama that follows her from her past into the present. My lead character didn't have map-quest at age 20, nor did she stop to ask for directions, so Kathy Davis retraces her life's path over the last 25-years, by returning back to Israel in this explosive, empowering fiction. My readers will feel like they are walking in her shoes as she finds where she lost her footing and miss-stepped; during her secret-celebrity-love-affair with an action hero movie star at the Moriah Dead Sea Spa Hotel. It's a sandy, rocky, ground-breaking emotional mission that she embarks on, and I as her writer must be part of her emotional journey. I believe great fiction comes from heart-pounding secret truth, dug up in the grains of sands, hidden deep beneath one's skin! This novel is an emotional mud mask facial, mixed with mind bending martini and molotov cocktails!

9) Is it true you have big travel plans in the works? What do you seek on this journey?

I'm traveling back to Israel this spring to finish the final edit of "Hollywood to the Holy Land." I have amazing memories of Israel, their loving-gracious people, and their enduring culture that I must write about every site, smell, taste and sound. Funny that my first visit to this mystical country was in the late summer of 1987, so I'm on a double mission; to complete final edit (have novel ready for copy-edit back in La La Land), yet I'm a divorced mom and this is also my personal journey of sorts. I need to be back in the 'Holy Land' so I can give 200% of myself to character Kathy Davis's emotional journey. You can bet the mortgage that during my work trip, even if I'm enjoying a day floating on the Dead Sea, or at a café or nightclub in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Eilat, what might seem like R&R time, is for the final touches needed. The diverse cast of American and Israeli character(s) deserve this from me. My readers will be shocked because this novel is like nothing I've ever written before and/or even expected myself to write, so I'm proud and excited with the story tempo and suspense.

10) Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

I'll be with a herd of rescued horses and rescued kids on a horse farm in the middle of nowhere USA in my 50's, but I'll be close enough to fly into town for biz meetings, worthy acting jobs and Red Carpet events. Any actor/writer/director/producer would be lying if they didn't admit to enjoying washing the hay and road apples out of their manes, kicking off their boots and putting on designer bling-bling couture, which I refer to as human-show tack!

 

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