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The Other Side of Me Sidney Sheldon 2022/8/10 14:51:13

In Windmills of the Gods, I went to Romania, which was one of my locales in the book. Ceausescu was alive at the time, and there was a paranoid feeling in the city. I went to the American embassy and I was in the office of the American ambassador when I said, "I would like to ask you a question."

He got to his feet. "Come with me." He took me down the hall into a room guarded by Marines twenty-four hours a day and said, "What do you want to know?"

"Do you think my room is bugged?" I asked.

"Not only is your hotel room bugged, but if you go to a nightclub, they will bug you there."

Three nights later, Jorja and I went to a nightclub. The maitre d' seated us. The air-conditioning was hitting us and we got up and moved. The maitre d' came running back and put us back at the first table. That was obviously the table that was bugged.

The next day I had lunch at the ambassador's home and I said, "I would like to ask you a question."

He got to his feet. "Why don't we go for a walk in the garden?"

In Romania, even the ambassador's home was bugged.

For The Sands of Time I went to Spain to research the Basque separatist movement. I had the driver take the two routes that the nuns in the book would take. We ended up at San Sebastian. When my driver pulled up in front of the hotel, he said, "I'm leaving now."

"You can't leave," I said. "We're right in the middle of doing research."

"You don't understand," he told me. "This is the headquarters of the Basques. When they see the Madrid license plates, they will blow up the car."

I met with some of the Basques and heard their side of the story. They felt that they were displaced citizens. They wanted their land back, along with their language and their autonomy.

These are a few of my experiences. I am very grateful for them. I love to write, and I'm lucky to be working at something that I care about. I believe that no one can take credit for whatever talent they may have. Talent is a gift, whether it's for painting or music or writing, and we should be grateful for whatever talent we have been given, and work hard at it.

What I enjoy most is the actual process of writing. My business manager once gave me five hundred dollars worth of tennis lessons as a birthday present. A tennis pro came to the house once a week and gave me a lesson.

One day he said to me, "We've used up the money. Do you want to continue?"

I enjoyed playing tennis very much. I started to say yes, and then I thought, I don't want to be here. I want to be in my office, writing.

I haven't been on my tennis court since, and that was twenty years ago.

Four years after Cary Grant's last movie, Walk Don't Run, Cary called to say the Academy was giving him an honorary Oscar in New York, and he asked if I would join him there. I was happy to. His award was long overdue.

I was very pleased to see that over the years, Bob Russell and Ben Roberts had a series of successes.

In 1985, my lovely Jorja died of a heart attack. It was an unbelievable loss and there was an emptiness in my life that I felt would never be filled.

It was a little over three years later when it happened. I met Alexandra Kostoff and my life changed. She is all the women I had written about - intelligent, beautiful, and amazingly talented, and it was love at first sight. We had a private wedding in Las Vegas, with only family there.

As a surprise, my buddy Marty Allen and his wife, Karon, appeared. The multitalented Karon played a wedding march on the piano that she had written, and the wedding went on.

Alexandra and I have been married now for sixteen wonderful years.

To my great delight, my daughter, Mary, has become a writer. To date, she has had ten novels published. My granddaughter, Lizy, had a novel published when she was sixteen. I expect ten-year-old Rebecca to be next.

My manic depression - today commonly known as bipolar syndrome - has slowed me down the last four years, but it is pretty much under control now with the help of lithium. I am planning a new novel, a nonfiction book, and a play for Broadway. I have just celebrated my eighty-eighth birthday.

I treasure the roller-coaster thrill ride that my life has been. It has been an exciting and wonderful journey. I am grateful to Otto, who convinced me to keep turning the pages, and to Natalie, for her unshakable faith in me.

I have had an incredible career with great successes and king-sized failures. I wanted to share my story with you and to thank you - because you, the readers, have always been there for me. I am deeply grateful to every one of you.