Where For Art Rowell?

Soap Opera Digest: When did you start writing this book?

Victoria Rowell: In 1977, as a teenager in American Ballet School. Through the years, various friends implored of me to ‘Just write, Vicki!’ So I was encouraged and mentored to write, which I did. I collected my stories, put together a book proposal and sold my book gratefully to HarperCollins.Digest: And now your effort is about to go on sale!

Rowell: It’s very exciting. I start a national tour on April 10, which will run hopefully forever. I will be in various cities across the country. It gives the fans the opportunity to press the flesh with me, if you will. They can come out to their local Barnes & Noble or other neighborhood bookstores and ask me questions about Y&R and while I’m doing that, I’ll sign a copy of The Women Who Raised Me.Digest: Did you ever consider just taking a break from Y&R instead of leaving indefinitely?
Rowell: I have had a number of actors recently ask me to consider a sabbatical. Eric Braeden [Victor] said to me, ‘You’re very important to this show.’ And I appreciate that from him, who I consider our strongest actor on our show. But I have a responsibility to my literary career now and I want to focus on that.Digest: Is it true that you rewrote a lot of Dru’s dialogue?

Rowell: I rewrote every single script I got. I’ve had to and the writers have always been receptive to that. It all started with [former Head Writer] Bill Bell giving me permission to tweak script after script and I’ve been able to do that for 14 years. That gave me a sense of editing and writing, which led me to write for DIAGNOSIS MURDER. It gave a confidence to continue my writing. I just wish I could’ve written for Y&R, as well, because I was willing to do so.Digest: Did you ask?

Rowell: Yes, but one of the things I found interesting is that the reply I got back was, “That’s never been done before.” Unfortunately, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If it’s a bird in a hand, why not use it? We have no black writers on Y&R, which is unfortunate. I tweak my scripts to give Dru a voice and I wanted to do it on a much bigger level. But everything happens for a reason and where I couldn’t exercise that particular artistic expression with Y&R, I decided to take that energy and sink it into my own book. I’m so grateful for that.Digest: But you suggested the foster care story with Devon.

Rowell: Y&R has been very generous, especially [former Head Writer] Jack Smith appreciated my writing acumen and allowed me to pitch the foster care/adoption storyline, which I think was intended to last a summer, but is now four years old. I was able to consult on that, which gave me a tremendous amount of creative satisfaction.Digest: How would you like to see that story continue after you’re gone?

Rowell: You would hope that either Lily or Devon would consider taking that template and maybe mentoring. It would be nice to see it running with the next generation in some capacity. We already have the community center built into the show. It would make perfect sense to see Devon go back there and tutor a class or be a Big Brother.Digest: Who will you stay in touch with at Y&R?

Rowell: I don’t mingle or socialize with the cast. I never have with any cast, whether it’s prime-time, film or television. I leave it where it happens. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “Can you give this to Jim Carrey [her co-star in Dumb & Dumber]?” But I really can’t. I don’t want to compromise my relationship with this person and I respect their privacy. I have the friends, family and extended family I need in place. Digest: Good luck to you!
Rowell: Thank you. I would love to talk more with my fans, so please go to my Web site, www.victoriarowell.com to check on the calendar of my book tour. If anyone wants to preorder my book, they can do so by going to www.amazon.com.

Filed Under: