Settling down in Los Angeles, I continued studio singing but found myself involved in doing voiceovers (commercials, cartoons, narrations, TV and radio promos) and as a disc jockey on KOST. Soon, I was lucky enough to establish myself as one of the top female voice actors in the L.A. area.
I was extremely contented in these professions, except for one problem-I worried that my brain was atrophying. I’d been a voracious reader and scribbler since childhood, so I took up pen and paper (later on, computer, of course) and began writing professionally: songs with my then-husband, D’Arneill Pershing, then scripts for television (staff writer on “The Love Boat”), a five-year stint as a movie critic for a small but respected newspaper (“The Malibu Times”), then as a Romance Novelist. I’d had no experience writing novels, but I started Chapter One of that first novel in the spirit of “Why the hell not?” As an actress I was already used to appearing foolish-what was one more time?
I was lucky enough to sell that first effort in 1991 (“Sultry Whispers,” about a VO actress-write what you know, right?) to Bantam Books. Between then and 2008 I wrote and sold eighteen more novels, most to the giant Harlequin romance novel publishers. Some were straight romance, some comedic, some suspenseful, but all were a whole bunch of fun to write and (ahem) research. I won some awards, did a stint as President of the 10,000-member Romance Writers of America, and was no longer in danger of my brain drying up.
In the past several years, I’ve continued my VO career, written and performed some stories from my life, started reviewing films again, done the occasional singing gig and basked in my amazing grown kids and young grandchildren. Oh, and lately I’ve been appearing at Comic Cons all over the country, which has been sheer joy.
When I created the “Poison Ivy” voice for TV’s “Batman, the Animated Series” in 1992, I could never have imagined-in my wildest dreams-that I would be a celebrated icon 25 years later! But as my appearances at conventions, during interviews and on podcasts have proven, this highly successful-but-anonymous voice actress is no longer anonymous. Even my other toon voices are recognized. So after years and years of doing all kinds of things that brought me both joy and an opportunity to exercise my creative chops, right now it’s my cartoon work that allows me to gush and say “Wow” and “Cool” and other similarly happy expressions. Lucky, lucky me.