My experiences may inspire someone else. One night, in autumn of 1976, I saw an ad in the TV Guide for the old program "In Search Of..."-an oval picture of the IF, with the line, "Did this Princess escape a massacre?" I was intrigued and watched-the show on Anna Anderson; before this I'd had no interest in the Romanovs. That night, by one of those odd moments of synchronicity, the late Saturday movie was "Nicholas and Alexandra," which I watched. Next night, the CBC in Canada ran the 1956 "Anastasia" film. So I got 3 Romanov programs in 24 hours, at the impressionable age of 12. And was hooked. I went to the library and got everything I could find. One Sunday night in November, 1976, I finished reading "Nicholas and Alexandra." I set the book down, and said to myself, with all the certainty that you have at that age, "I'm going to write about her." And that was that. I started reading more, buying books, researching-on and on it went for the next 15 years (half of which were spent coming to terms with learning how to write what I wanted). And facing the usual assortment of friends, family, teachers-all wondering what I thought I was doing and why I was wasting my time. When my bio of Alix was published, I felt vindicated, and haven't looked back as I've continued to publish other books.
The lesson: I firmly believe anyone, with enough passion, conviction, and above all-drive-can do what I've done. I didn't know enough when I started to believe the people who said I couldn't do it, and so I always tell groups of students I often speak with today the same thing-follow your dreams, and if YOU believe, you'll see them come to fruition. Which gets a bit away from how I got interested in the Romanovs, but is a message so central to what I believe that it's inseparable from my involvement.