Britt Lind

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Biographies & Memoirs

Author Profile

Britt  Lind

Britt Lind is an actress, singer and writer who has performed in television shows, movies and on stage in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, B.C. She has written several screenplays and came in as runner-up in the Washington State Screenwriting Competition for her screenplay A Light in the Forest. Britt lives in Thousand Oaks, California with her husband, Nick Alexander, a screenwriter, and their three feral cats, Teeny, Toughie and Baby Hughie who used to live a hardscrabble life in the cold and rain in the frozen north of Washington State and now enjoy a life of luxury in the sun as is their due. Britt is also president of a nonprofit, People for Reason in Science and Medicine, a pro-health, pro-environment, anti-vivisection organization. Her inspirational memoir Learning How to Fly that was a winner in the 2019 Beverly Hills Book Awards in the Performing Arts Category, is available on Amazon. Her website is www.brittlind.com To find out more about PRISM, please go to www.peopleforreason.org and www.facebook.com/gotoprism Follow PRISM on Twitter @gotoprism

Books

Learning How to Fly

Biographies & Memoirs

From the time she was three years old living in Norway, Britt loved animals and surrounded herself with them. When she moved with her family to America, she discovered she also loved performing. But she had parents who considered all of that a sin. Even cheerleading was a big no-no, but somehow Britt managed to overcome their objections.

After Clint Eastwood cast her in Play Misty for Me while living in Carmel, she moved to L.A. and quickly was able to obtain work. Featured roles led to co-starring roles, which led to guest-starring roles. She married a producer, had a beautiful baby girl and was working as an actress. She had it all. Then tragedy struck and she lost everything. Acting work became hard to find, and life became a matter of survival.

After a daring move to New York, she found herself singing in Carnegie Hall with a gospel group and working in a musical. But still, she felt she had not lived up to her expectations, and she became overwhelmed with hopelessness. But a God-given epiphany set her back on track, and she realized she had a very good reason to go on.

Book Bubbles from Learning How to Fly

Finding Peace

I start out every morning standing on the deck of my condo looking out over the hillside in my backyard. The birds are singing, the squirrels are busy running up and down trees and the rabbits are scampering in and out of the low brush to keep safe from the hawks that might be flying overhead. Considering all the wrong detours and terrible blunders I made in my life (all recorded in Learning How to Fly) I feel lucky to be living where I am – far enough away from the city to enjoy nature but close enough to everything I need to do. As president of a nonprofit life can be busy and stressful. And all of us must deal with personal and emotional problems. But my faith in God and knowing I am following my calling gives me strength to move forward. It is important to stay in touch with nature where we can find sustenance in just breathing fresh air and looking at the beauty of our surroundings. There we recognize we are a small part of this awesome planet and we have the ability do our part to protect it, a lot or a little, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to do something and I guarantee, it will give you joy.

How to Find Your Calling

In Learning How to Fly I talk about how my acting career is my passion and my calling is helping abolish animal experimentation. All my life I’ve loved animals, but vivisection was something I avoided. It was too horrible to have to deal with. But God kept pushing me in that direction and it was a relief when I finally gave in and did what I was supposed to do. Most people are aware of things they care about above and beyond their careers be it feeling concern for orphaned children, immigrants who speak only Spanish and are the mercy of a system that cares nothing for them, lakes and rivers near you that are being polluted by chemical companies, children on Indian reservations who live in poverty with no hope, elephants, tigers and other wild animals in Africa who are being slaughtered and soon will be extinct. If you listen to your heart, meditate and take one small step toward something that speaks to you, move forward with good intent, you will know when you find your place and it make your life feel worthwhile.

Friends

I’ve always appreciated my friends even though many of them live in far away places like New York, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona and Norway. In our present circumstances it is doubtful that I’ll see them in person any time soon. And that makes me sad. There is nothing like meeting with friends to kick up your energy a notch, joke, laugh and share good times and bad. We can’t do that as much as we used to. So even though social media is much maligned by some I am grateful it exists and no matter what, we can stay in touch and let one another know we care.

A Lose/Lose Proposition

As I write this, the election result is still up in the air. For me, an antivivisectionist, who has been fighting the petrochemical/pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years, neither choice of candidates is a win. One candidate is busy destroying the environment with drilling in pristine areas, bent on destroying our civil rights and a woman’s right to choose. The other candidate is a slave to Big Pharma, has promised to make dangerous vaccinations and mask wearing mandatory, and intends to embed a “pandemic” office in the White House from which Fauci, pharma and a handful of billionaires can track, control and manipulate every citizen in this country until our Democracy lies in shreds. I wish we had had a viable third choice – one who would not be a slave to pharma or any corporation, one who would end the insanity that pharma has imposed on us with their lies and greed and one who would always put the welfare of citizens above campaign donations and lust for power. But we had no third choice and now we must all wait and see what happens next.

Missing Human Contact

Not being able to meet with friends wherever and whenever we want is frustrating. And for my nonprofit that thrives on tabling at veg fests, animal rights conventions and natural health conferences, not being able to get our message out and talking to people person to person is even more frustrating. Until now, I never realized how energizing and inspiring it is to meet with likeminded people or talk to strangers who are eager to learn the facts about the fraud of animal experimentation. Besides meeting hundreds of people at these gatherings, we love being able to sample vegan food and drinks from many restaurant vendors and get to introduce friends and family to plant based food. Yes! Vegan veggie burgers are delicious! My friends and I thrive on an active social life and educating interested people with our message. But until we can put an end to this debilitating debacle I encourage anyone interested in knowing what my calling in life is all about please visit peopleforreason.org and like our FB page at facebook.com/gotoprism And, of course, read Learning How to Fly.

Football Therapy

I’ve loved football since high school. Being a cheerleader and getting drenched with Seattle rain week after week at the games was heaven. We had a losing team, but I was always optimistic that this was the year we’d be great. It never happened. My one and only team now is the Seahawks and every week they make us 12s almost have mass heart attacks. If they continue this pattern of winning in the last few seconds we’ll all end up in the ER. One of the reasons our record is 5-0 is Russell Wilson the quarterback. Not only is he incredibly talented, but he also never stops believing the team can win. Even if we are behind by two touchdowns in the last sixty seconds, he will drive the team down the field to victory. Players on the sideline say his optimism and faith infuse everyone with the same kind of belief in themselves. Every week despite almost giving me a heart attack he inspires me as well. His philosophy is that you never give up, no matter what the odds are against you. Even if it defies common sense and everyone writes you off, you keep believing and keep going forward. I have taken that to heart and made his philosophy my own.

What is Important

Today, on my FB page, I mentioned something about Chris DeRose, President of Last Chance for Animals. Chris is one of my top two heroes, who, as I describe in my memoir, steered my life in the direction of becoming an antivivisectionist. Because of Chris I ended up doing the last thing I ever wanted to do, dealing with the unspeakable horrors of animal experimentation. But soon after meeting Chris, it became obvious that AV was my calling from God. There was no getting around it and giving in was the only way I would find peace. So I have spent the last 30 years working to abolish this fraudulent, cruel industry. Chris and I had lunch not too long ago and I asked him, “How do you deal about all of the things you see on a daily basis that are so horrific? Sometimes I feel like I just want to break down and cry.” Chris looked at me and said, “Well, that makes it all about you doesn’t it?” And I thought, oops, he’s right. Yes, I want to be the kind, compassionate person that I have to be to do what I do. But it’s not about me and my feelings. It’s about the animals and ending their suffering. It helps to always remember that.

Heartbreak (cont.)

After Katharine Hepburn tanked my dream of playing Gigi on stage, I was called in to audition for Gypsy, starring Debbie Reynolds, at the Music Center in L.A. I was told to sing Little Lamb which is a beautiful, haunting song that I love. The audition went well and they called me back to perform Let Me Entertain You which also went well. Then I waited. My agent called and told me they liked me but Debbie wanted her daughter Carrie to play the part. The producers told her they didn’t want to cast Carrie who didn’t want to play the part anyway. Debbie said if Carrie doesn’t play Gypsy she would drop out, which she did. There went my second chance at fame and fortune in musical theater. Again, I was devastated. This kind of heartache is not unusual for actors. We put our hearts and souls into our preparation and then our spirits can be crushed in an instant. Why do it then? Because when that great audition does result in a booking on set or on stage the disappointments are forgotten, the work is glorious and every heartbreak is worth it.

Heartbreak (cont.)

So there I was on stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I sang my heart out for the legendary Alan Jay Lerner, the only man in the audience. He looked happy and thanked me. I thought, “This is it! My big break in musical theater. I’ll be starring in Gigi with Kathryn Hepburn. I waited for my agent to call. She did. She said Alan wanted me but Hepburn wanted her protégé to play Gigi, someone completely wrong for the part. I crossed my fingers that Alan would win. After all, it was his musical! Shouldn’t he be the boss?! But no. Hepburn won that battle and I was out. I was devastated and swore I would give up singing and trying to get into musicals. I had given it my all and it didn’t matter. Boo hoo. I felt sorry for myself. Shortly thereafter, another opportunity came in. I was asked to audition for Gypsy, starring Debbie Reynolds. (to be cont.)

Heartbreak

Sometimes I’m asked about the most heartbreaking auditions I ever had. Actors, for the most part, are forced to endure rejection. It is a normal part of being an actor. I will tell you of some of my most heartbreaking auditions but will have to do it in serial form because this space doesn’t allow for long stories. At the recommendation of my voice teachers, I was called in to the Music Center in L.A. to audition for a new musical, Gigi, that was based on the movie. It was to feature new songs by Alan Jay Lerner, a famous composer of My Fair Lady and other award winning musicals. I was incredibly nervous and excited as I walked into a huge rehearsal hall and faced a group of people sitting at a table at the far end of the room. I gave my sheet music to the accompanist and I sang, I Could Have Danced All Night. After I finished, the auditioners looked at each other and told me to follow the accompanist. We wandered through a maze of hallways and I ended up on stage in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where I faced one man seated in the middle of the theater – Alan Jay Lerner. (to be continued)

Seahawks

Most of us have our career dreams - goals that are near and dear to our hearts that we work hard to achieve. But we also have a calling, something we feel led to do for people, for animals or for the environment. Some of those callings can involve very difficult work dealing with cruelty, hopelessness, greed and destruction. For me, as an antivivisectionist, I have to deal with cruelty constantly. But no one can function as a normal human being without taking time to have fun, laugh and enjoy life. Otherwise, we might get too depressed to be useful. For me, every fall and winter I have my Seattle Seahawks. I have loved football all my life and the Hawks are my team. Watching them play I can forget everything except cheering them on to victory. I look forward to every game. It’s not only enjoyable, it’s cathartic. I can scream at the TV instead of the people I’d really like to scream at. Football is my joy and release.

What is Your Inspiration?

When I think of what inspires me it’s very clear – my love for animals. There are countless stories in the media that describe the cruelties that animals face every day. Many animals are being hunted and driven to extinction by greedy, uncaring people. And their stories are our stories. All life on this planet is intertwined. From plants, trees and insects to whales and elephants we need each other to survive. None of us can fight these huge battles against greed and destruction on our own. We need to come together in groups and support each other in our endeavors to save the world. But what especially inspires me to never give up or give in are my own animals who love me and watch over me every day without fail. For them, I continue to fight.

Let Nature Be Your Guide

If you read my book you’ll discover that abolishing animal experimentation is my calling. Because of that these times are difficult for me. Animal experimenters in the government and drug companies are testing on and killing animals in their laboratories at an unprecedented rate. After 30 years of educating the public about the fraud of animal experimentation it seems as if we have gone back in time just when we thought we were making huge progress toward ending the terrible suffering. I will never give up working to free the animals from their cages. My faith sustains me, and nature gives me serenity. I am lucky to live next to the botanical gardens in my town. The hillsides are filled with trails to walk and breathtaking views. I have doves nesting on my deck and blue jays demanding to be fed. I can see the squirrels and rabbits scampering through the bushes and hear the crickets at night. If we open up to nature and let common sense be our guide, we’ll get back on the right track.

Overcoming Fear

Eleanor Roosevelt said that you gain strength from doing things you fear the most. That was certainly true for me. When I first became an animal activist I would only yell slogans along with the crowd. Our leaders were unafraid to speak with or without megaphones and I admired them for their self-confidence. I didn’t think I could ever be like that. This changed when I attended Ringling protests in Everett, WA where the police were so aggressive in trying to deny us the right to protest it made me angry. When attendees to the circus lined up to buy tickets next to where we were standing, I loudly described the torturous life animals in circuses had to endure. When the police tried to intimidate me and threatened to arrest me, I went to the mayor’s office and reported what the police were doing. The next day, the police acted as if we weren’t there. Thank you, mayor. We closed down Ringling in Everett two years before Ringling went out of business altogether. Now, I look forward to every protest where I can face down thousands of people with my megaphone and share the facts with confidence and not a trace of fear.

The Wonderful Clint Eastwood

It’s been years since I worked with Clint in Play Misty for Me, but I still have a fierce crush on him. He is the reason I was able to get my SAG card and was able to get an agent when I moved to L.A. I was doing dinner theater in Carmel when someone from his company saw me and I was called in to audition for Clint and Bob Daley the producer. He was filming on Monterey Wharf, doing a scene with the incredible Jessica Walter. He took a few minutes away from filming to read opposite me and cast me then and there. I had no experience making a movie and he was incredibly patient and kind to a total neophyte. Years later I had the privilege of meeting his daughter Alison. She is also a talented actor and director but, like me, her heart is really in helping animals. She has one sanctuary near Calabasas and is founding another one. I talked to Clint not too long ago at one of Alison’s fundraisers and he remembered me. And is still just as nice as ever.

Keep the Fun in Life

As I wrote in my book, there is no doubt that my calling in life is to help animals, specifically to work to abolish animal experimentation. It is not a pleasant topic to focus on but is a thousand times worse for the animals who are suffering. My dream is to end vivisection in my lifetime and I will keep striving toward that goal for as long as I live. When your calling is something as terribly difficult as mine is but you know in your heart it’s what you must do, you still need to make every effort to life fully. You must also keep working to fulfill your passion. Mine is acting and making movies and I will never give up on those. Having a well-rounded life keeps up your energy and enthusiasm even as you struggle against seemingly impossible odds. Friends, nature hikes, celebrations, family, singing, dancing, and much more make life worthwhile. Through it all, keeping your sense of humor and remembering how to laugh is the most important thing of all.

Almost There, Then Not

Learning How to Fly describes my journey from actress to animal activist. As an antivivisectionist, it is very frustrating for me to observe that the very people that we, at my nonprofit, People for Reason in Science and Medicine, have been fighting for over 30 years are now in charge of the entire country. For several years, AV activists have felt like we were making inroads, exposing pharmaceutical companies as dangerous frauds who use unscientific, useless tests on animals to excuse releasing their various poisons on an unsuspecting public. Now, our voices have been silenced. Censorship is rife, dissent is crushed, our doctor and scientist friends who speak the truth have their careers destroyed and the antivivisection movement has been effectively grounded. The petrochemical/pharmaceutical industry is the most powerful industry in the world. The drug company executives who now run the NIH, the CDC and the EPA have turned this country into their own dictatorship. Their lies have become truth and truth is now “misinformation.” We predicted 30 years ago that giant corporate entities intended to create a world order run by a handful of billionaires. What we didn’t foresee was that millions of Americans would willingly submit to Big Pharma propaganda and give up their civil liberties without a whimper.

Behind the Headlines

There are performers whose lives seem magical. Fortune smiles on them from the moment they start their journey to become successful. Everything falls into place; they meet the right people and are offered the right opportunities to make their talents shine. Sometimes the tabloids scream out headlines about notorious celebrities, their drug habits, their divorces, their trips to drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. And we somehow feel better knowing that even rich and famous people suffer like we do. But there are other famous people who seem to be blessed, who never suffer and live perfect lives. There really is no such thing, or if there is, it is extremely rare. Sometimes those seemingly perfect people write brutally honest autobiographies and you find out that a beloved female star was repeatedly raped by her stepfather while growing up, that a brilliant comedienne had alcoholic parents who handed her off to relatives, a well known leading man has been hiding his sexual identity for the sake of his career and suffering greatly because of it. Terrible things happen to all of us, famous or not. The important thing is, how do they and how do we deal with it?

Living in the Past and What Might Have Been

My cousin Berit sent me pictures from my hometown Sauda, Norway yesterday and the beauty of the mountains and the fjord was awesome. Most of my family stayed and thrived in Norway while my father forced my mother, sister and I to move to Seattle even though he was the only one who wanted to move. I have such a deep connection to Norway. I often wonder what would have happened to me if we had stayed. I was already being asked to sing in church and no doubt would have become an actress in Norway as well. I would have gone to university in Oslo, joined the National Theater and done Ibsen plays in Norwegian. Heaven! While visiting Norway last summer I thought how much I would have loved living in Oslo and always being surrounded by my wonderful extended family. But we can’t go back and relive the past. What could have been will have to live in my dreams.

Winning

For most people exposing your flaws and mistakes is not easy. In good acting classes, it’s what you do – open up, be willing to look like an idiot and be vulnerable. In writing a memoir all those things are applicable as well. In exposing my life as an actor and animal activist I hoped to inspire others who were having trouble reaching their artistic goals. The life of an artist is difficult. We need to be recognized, have a “name” in order to be hired and earn a living. For my friends and I who love animals, our acting careers took a backseat to activism. We found our calling as well as our passion. Some had thriving careers, others, like me had huge highs and low lows, but we all found fulfillment in doing what we are put on earth to do. When I won the Beverly Hills Book Award it was a thrill but to me it meant that exposing all of my flaws just might give others the courage to find their own calling. If I, with all my wrong turns, can find my way, anyone can.

Nothing is Impossible

Sometimes when we’re stuck in a rut or feel like we’re going nowhere, know that it is possible to turn your life around. My friend Rod was a talented actor and singer. We performed in dinner theater plays together in Carmel and he was an incredible actor to work with. After I moved to L.A. he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. Pictures of him at that time show him to be so emaciated, he was near death. At his lowest point, he joined AA and everything changed. He became a joyful person, generous beyond belief and full of fun and laughter. He joined the staff of a drug rehabilitation center in Monterey and helped countless people find their way back to a happy life. When he died expectantly of a heart attack it was standing room only at his memorial service with a host of people singing his praises and recounting how he changed their lives. He was in his early sixties when he died but he managed to change not only himself when he felt nothing but despair, he influenced hundreds of lives for the better.

Taking Compassion a Step Further

I wrote last time about how important it is to put compassion into action. Regan Russell, a long-time, dedicated animal activist in Canada, did just that. Along with her other activism, she attended protests at a slaughterhouse and gave water and comfort to pigs jammed into trucks when the trucks stop temporarily outside the gates. She moved past her own heartache and courageously helped the pigs face their terror as they knew instinctively they were about to face their death. Last Friday she was hit and killed by one the trucks driving into the slaughterhouse. Last night I attended, along with 250 other people, a protest outside Farmer Johns and did what she did -- comforted the pigs and gave them water. I so admire the people who go there once a week to bear witness for the animals and, through their tears, show compassion. They educate as many people as they can reach to tell them that factory farming is cruel and eating plant-based food is kind. Most of us are not asked to give up our lives for something we believe in. When you put compassion into action you don’t run out of it, you end up with more to give to everyone and that makes our lives better.

Take Action

Having compassion and empathy for other people and animals are wonderful qualities to have. Your heart aches if you see a helpless baby who has been abused by a parent or a child being spanked in a supermarket for doing nothing more than crying. And seeing pictures of animals and people in third world countries starving and being killed in pointless wars can ruin your day because of the hurt you feel. But feeling badly about what you’ve seen is not enough. When you’re a sensitive person who has compassion for others you must act. If you do not you will never be happy. Being highly empathetic is a gift. But you have to use it to make changes in every way available to you. There is immense satisfaction in doing that. Ignoring your gift, suppressing it will only cause frustration and more sadness. Facing the ugliness you’d rather avoid gives you a strength you never thought you had. A kind, gentle, sensitive person can be an immense force for change if he or she will take action on feelings that the heart inspires.

Just Do It!

I always used to envy successful people who talked about how supportive one or more of their parents were to them and their aspirations. Just think, I would ask myself, where I could be if my parents hadn’t stood in the way of everything I wanted to do? They did everything they could to discourage and thwart my every desire, trying to convince me it was all sin and I would burn in hell if I continued on working toward my dreams. But I had to throw it all off in order to move forward. I think of Carol Burnett who had a horribly dysfunctional childhood, but she didn’t let that stop her. Her belief in herself and her talent made her incredibly successful. The same is true of so many other successful people. They rise up out of poverty, alcoholic parents and abuse by focusing on the future, not blaming anyone or anything in their past if things don’t always go their way. Sure, it’s great if you are surrounded by supportive people from childhood on up but unfortunately, for many of us, that’s just not how it was. We can’t use that as a crutch when we get older to blame our circumstances on others. We, and we alone, decide our fate.

Never Give Up

Something that has always been a part of me since I was a child, besides my love for animals, is singing. I feel like I was born with a song in my heart. I remember singing in church when I was little and as a teenager. My parents made me start taking piano lessons at the age of 9 and doing scales was pure torture. I did learn how to play well enough to read music and play while I sang but my piano teacher told my parents I was never going to be a pianist. She suggested to them they give me voice lessons instead. But they wouldn’t do that, and I continued on dreading sitting for an hour going over the exercises. But in school I was able to become a part of a trio and an incredible high school choir. I was in heaven rehearsing and performing with them. Finally, later in life I was able to sing with a gospel group in New York and a dream I never even dared to dream came true, singing in Carnegie Hall, twice! You never know what may happen to your deepest desires. Never give up. Never stop dreaming.

Be Who You Are Everyone Else is Taken

Being a creative person can be both a blessing and a curse. Whether you are an actor, singer, dancer, writer or painter, ultimately you need an audience. You crave recognition for your work. Sometimes failure to find that recognition can lead to depression and addiction. Unless you’re Julia Roberts or other select few, you’re going to have your ups and downs and have to live through them the best you can. I wrote this book with people in the arts in mind but actually what I share in these pages goes for anyone with a dream who is struggling. I believe that in order to survive and thrive in this life what we need is a strong spiritual grounding, a belief in a power higher than yourself. But there is also something else. Besides our passion for our craft we all have in our hearts a calling – something we were born to share that is beyond our own personal needs. Be it helping the homeless, saving the environment, being a Big Brother or Sister for a child, or like me, helping animals. This gives us a reason to be alive. I hope my own ups and downs serve as an example of how to find your own special path.

Deception

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Josh Sibley, singer/songwriter, is handsome, talented, smart and headed for oblivion. Alcohol provides relief when his demons threaten to overwhelm his every effort to break free of his past. When his friend Jennie Seger arranges for him to write songs for a multi-million-dollar feature, all his doubts and fears fall away, and he embraces the opportunity like a starving man who has found a bounteous feast during a famine. Lightning strikes his lonely heart in the form of singer/actress Lila Levy who is married to the producer of the movie and flaunts her sexuality at Josh knowing her breathtaking beauty more than makes up for her lack of talent. Knowing his love for Lila is doomed from the start, he overlooks her shortcomings and keeps his feelings under wraps as he teaches her to sing his songs. But this is Hollywood, and nothing is as it seems. Lila has secrets that Josh cannot begin to fathom and doesn’t want to know. When her husband Stan is murdered, Lila disappears and Josh is confronted by the woman determined to track her down - Sergeant Rosemaria Baker of the Beverly Hills Police Department. Rosemaria is the opposite of Lila; hates show business and considers Josh a delusional loser. When the cops track down Lila and bring her in, Lila declares herself innocent and the fight for the soul of Josh Sibley begins.

Book Bubbles from Deception

Never Give Up

The hero of Deception, Josh, is involved in the music and movie business. I believe show business is the most brutal business there is after politics. People give their lives to become rich and famous and fall to the depths of hopelessness when those dreams crash and burn. One of my favorite actresses from when I was a child wrote a book called Famous Enough, and the title says pretty much what I feel. I was able to fulfill my dreams of working with some of the best actors in the business and loved every minute of being an actress but when it all fell apart (as I describe in my memoir Learning How to Fly) you have to have something more to fall back on, like a special purpose in life beyond your career. But that doesn’t mean you don’t go on trying to accomplish more. As I continue to work on packaging my movie and meeting with one obstacle after another I am determined to keep going. I want to do this movie in order to help animals and like Josh, helping animals is more important to me than rejections or disappointments. Like the Energizer Bunny I refuse to give up.

Zoos

My hero in Deception is a singer/songwriter but like most creative people has to have another job to support himself. In Josh’s case, he works as a caretaker at the zoo. Josh loves the animals that he takes care of but he hates seeing animals meant to live in the wild being imprisoned in small enclosures. Elephants especially need hundreds of miles to roam to stay healthy. And they need friends as companions. Sammy the elephant in the zoo where Josh works is in solitary confinement. Billy, a real-life elephant, has been imprisoned for over 25 years in the L.A. zoo. Billy bobs his head up and down constantly which indicates that he is losing his mind. His eyes look dead with hopelessness. He was beaten as a youngster to teach him to do as he is told or suffer more pain. We will continue to work towards Billy’s release to a sanctuary but overcoming the greed of zoo officials who look upon the animals as nothing more than amusement park rides is difficult. However, giving up is not an option.

Music Feeds My Soul

Music feeds my soul and hearing bands in person is heaven to me. When I went to see the Eagles play in Las Vegas last year I enjoyed them so much I was on a natural high for two weeks. My friend Billy Vera has a band The Beaters and no one in the world sings and plays the blues better than Billy. Whenever I would feel down, a good dose of Billy Vera and The Beaters would get me back to normal. I’m a blond Norwegian so who knows why I have so much affinity for the blues, but I do. I’m sure I fell in love with my first husband because he played R&B with his band The Sonics and his sax playing was like nothing I had ever heard in my life. I miss going to hear my bands in person. I can't wait for this debacle to be over so I can enjoy listening to incredible musicians play in person. I miss it!

Escape

When the world is chaotic and politicians and big corporations are running amok and stripping away our civil liberties, it is overwhelming to all of us. As the president of a nonprofit who fights everyday for the rights of individuals, animals and the environment, even I want to run and hide. The stress of telling the truth when millions of people don’t want to hear it can get wearing. I feel so fortunate that as an actor and especially as a writer I can escape the real world for awhile and get lost in another world with my beloved characters and block out reality for a least a short time every day. My stories do involve problems that my characters must solve but, in the end, they do solve them, and life gets better. I pray that the craziness that is going on now will end soon and our lives will return to the normal we used to take for granted.

An Interest in Murder

When I was a young girl the first true crime book I read was In Cold Blood by the incomparable Truman Capote. The killings were gruesome but the anatomy of the crime and the lives of the two criminals as related by Capote were fascinating. I then read A Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule about Ted Bundy, who she had worked with at a suicide hotline phone bank. I read every Ann Rule book after that and became a dedicated true crime reader. How does a kind, compassionate, nonviolent person become so interested in murder? Who the heck knows? But considering the mass amount of true crime TV that is extremely popular now, a lot of other perfectly normal people find it fascinating too. Maybe, it makes us feel safe. Or we might think, “Thank God that isn’t me who has that kind of scary, dangerous family!” Whatever the reason, when I sat down to write a novel, of course it had to be about crime and murder. A writer I admire used to say to me, “There is no drama in a misdemeanor.” And he was correct. So murder it is.

First Do No Harm

While writing my memoir, Learning How to Fly, and then Deception I discovered how much I love writing books. I had written several scripts through the years and enjoyed that very much too. Several actors, directors and producers optioned my scripts but none of them managed to get a studio deal. So I decided I would write a low budget thriller, First Do No Harm, and raise the money myself. How hard could that be? As it turns out it’s harder than getting an acting job. First you have to put your team together, get a director attached and at least one A list actor before you can go out and try to find investors. But agents don’t want their people attached unless there is money up front. It’s Catch 22 – you can’t get money without A list actors and you can’t get A list actors without money. This is the predicament I find myself in now. Because the sub theme is near and dear to my heart (animals) I will not give up. Like the song says, “The difficult I’ll do right now, the impossible will take a little while.” I’m ready to conquer the impossible.

Against All Odds

In the past few years and especially in the past few months the way we actors audition has changed drastically. Back in the day, agents would go by producer’s offices and try to get us auditions. Then maybe ten people would be called in to read for the director and producer, they would decide who they want and that was it. Now, thousands of actors submit over the internet for every role. Casting directors sift through the headshots, an untold number are asked to make audition tapes which must abide by strict guidelines, then we send them to our agent who sends them on to the casting director who decides which ones will be seen by the director and producers who then make their choice. I feel sorry for young actors entering the business in this day and age. The odds are against them. They have no chance to win over directors and producers with their personality as well as their talent. But time marches on and unfortunately that’s just the way it is.

New York

Josh Sibley, my main man in DECEPTION, is based in L.A. but gets to spend some time in New York as well. When I went to NY for the first time with a person I never should have been with (read my memoir Learning How to Fly for details) I fell in love with the city at first sight. It was everything I thought it would be from the movies and TV shows I’d seen. But the joy didn’t last long as I had to move back to L.A. to flee unpleasant circumstances. Years later, I moved back to NY on my own – no job, little money, no place to stay but again, I loved it. Through God’s grace I found a rent-controlled apartment, plenty of work, friends, a Broadway bound (almost) musical, singing with a gospel group and my cat Squeeky to keep me company. I was in heaven. It may seem strange that a girl who was born in Norway and was used to the most spectacular scenery in the world could love the fast pace, frenetic energy, crowds and city canyons of NY. But I sure did. If I were wealthy I would own a co-op there and visit often. There are many sides to all of us. Be sure to explore and enjoy them all.

Never Give Up

It’s obvious from the work I do for animals, from what I wrote in my memoir Learning How to Fly and from the subject matter of Deception, that I love animals. Today I was ecstatic when I learned that France has banned wild animal circuses and that Poland and Lithuania are not far behind. The entire UK has banned wild animal circuses. Animal activists in Europe are incredible and making big positive changes in ending animal cruelty. Here in the U.S. we shut down Ringling for good but other circuses and zoos continue to abuse wild animals. We’re working on putting them all out of business and we'll never give up.

Survival Jobs

Like my singer/songwriter Josh, in Deception, most singers, actors and dancers have to take “survival jobs” to be able to continue to audition and follow their dreams. For Josh, it was working at the zoo. He was not happy working there and considered the place a prison for animals, but at least his best friend was there as well. I have worked hundreds of temp jobs and sometimes the sheer boredom and repetitiveness of the work threaten to take your sanity. I have worked in car dealerships, hospitals, hundreds of offices, factories, banks and as a personal assistant to the mother-in-law of a famous presidential candidate and senator who was the meanest woman I ever met. Spending your life working at jobs you hate, going to acting classes, having endless head shots done, nagging your agent to get you out is not fun. That’s why my advice to young actors is – if you don’t absolutely have to do this, do something else. The rewards can be great but they may never come. Taking a chance on a big maybe is not for everyone.

The Cinderella Complex

Rosemaria Baker, the heroine in my book DECEPTION, is independent, feisty and loves her job as a police detective. I grew up in the “Cinderella Complex” generation when husbands were the boss, made all the important decisions in the family and only through men could you find success in your career, if you had one. That was me. Then I lived on my own in NY for several years, had some struggles (as I write about in my memoir LEARNING HOW TO FLY) and eventually had my epiphany that put me on the right track. Every once in awhile I slide back into my old way of thinking but quickly recover. We can be married, in love or just dating and be a wonderful partner but still retain our sense of independence. And that’s exactly what will happen to Rosemaria in MALEVOLENCE the sequel to DECEPTION. Stay tuned!

How to Find Work in Hollywood?

When young people ask me, what is the best way to get started as an actor I tell them – know somebody famous in the business who will help you, preferably somebody who is a close relative. That’s by far the best way. Actors of every age and type have managed to find work on their own through sheer perseverance and a lot of luck. But no one should go into the business unless they feel they absolutely have to. There’s too much rejection and disappointment involved unless it means the world to you. Otherwise, you just won’t last. If you have no relatives in the business, it helps to be young, attractive, talented and persistent. If you only have desire and persistence, I say go for it. You never know if you will be that special person whose break will come out of nowhere and you’ll become a working actor. As for how I got my first break, you’ll have to read my memoir, Learning How to Fly! Thank you, Clint!

The Gift of Joy

Josh, my wonderful singer and songwriter in Deception is very real to me. I have known several musicians and when a person has a musical talent, I consider him or her to be extremely blessed. I took piano lessons for nine years starting in grade school. I practiced hard for an hour every day but knew I was never going to be a musician. That is something innate you are born with. I loved singing and begged my parents for singing lessons instead. But my parents were determined that I continue with the dreaded piano lessons. In later years I did take singing lessons and was able to perform in public but the gift of being able to play the piano will always be with me. Now I can play and sing for my own enjoyment. Linda Ronstadt, one of my favorite singers says that is why she sang, for the joy of singing. Thank you parents, for forcing me to do those piano exercises every day. It has paid off in a lot of joy.

Take Chances, Be Open

Rosemaria, my heroine in DECEPTION is a terrific detective, very intuitive and focused. When we first meet her, she knows what she does best, knows what she likes and doesn’t like and lives her life concentrating on her career. But even though she has some preconceived notions about certain things and seems a little intransigent, she still is open to possible change and letting someone into her life who is less than her ideal. She overcomes her initial reticence and the result is attaining a joyful life she never expected to have. We all need to be open to new experiences, meeting a variety of people, traveling to places we never thought we’d visit. When we do, our life will become enriched in ways we never expected.

It's Not Easy

Josh Sibley my musician/songwriter in DECEPTION has had a hard time getting anywhere in the music business even with his immense talent. Josh is like some singers and songwriters I have known who have gone through that same kind of constant rejection. If an actor has a relative who is a director, producer or star of a TV show, that actor will most definitely work on that show. But in the music business, it doesn’t matter if your relative is famous, getting a record deal yourself and finding fame and fortune is next to impossible. There are always exceptions to the rule. After Glenn Frey died, Don Henley was ready to break up my beloved Eagles. Then at Glenn’s funeral his son Deacon sang and knocked everybody for a loop. I guess they’d never heard him sing before. He seamlessly fit into the group and the Eagles continued on. Thank God. I saw them in Las Vegas and Deacon was fabulous, as was the entire show.

Stranger Than Fiction

When people ask where I get my ideas and story lines for my books I think of the people I have known who have given me a wealth of information. One person especially comes to mind. He was the son of a famous child actor who grew up to be a famous adult actor. This friend of mine was immersed in show business from birth. He knew all the inside information about all kinds of famous people. When he would tell me stories I would say more times than I can count, “No, that can’t be true!” What you read in gossip magazines is nothing compared to reality. To me, his stories weren’t really gossip, because they were true, and I knew that all those crazy exploits would someday come in handy. And now that I’m writing about Hollywood and show business murder and mayhem, those stories, as I predicted, have turned out to be very useful. Truth is stranger than fiction yes, but I get to have fun turning truth into fiction.

Acting

People have suggested that I write a one woman show based on my memoir Learning How to Fly. The book does have many humorous moments, music, drama and all the elements necessary to make for an entertaining evening, but I resisted the idea. What I love most about acting is the interaction between actors, not only on stage and in front of the camera, but the preparation and discussion about the story and various characters that happens before doing a play. Learning lines and using your craft to prepare is a solitary endeavor but then comes the moment when you put what you have prepared to use. I am constantly surprised at what actors who I work with will bring to their roles and how I am challenged by them to react in ways I hadn’t planned on. That is the fun of acting for me. Being alone on stage in a one person show is not nearly as fulfilling to me as working with others. I need that connection in real life as well. I miss the smiles of strangers, friendly conversation, socializing with friends, all the human interaction we need to be normal and happy. All of that has been stolen from us and we will never be the same.

My Favorite

People sometimes ask me of all the really famous actors I worked with, who was my favorite? I have to say, it’s difficult to choose. But it seemed like the more famous they were the nicer they were, especially the veterans. Jack Palance was a legendary figure to me before I worked with him and people told me it was rumored he could be temperamental and difficult. The total opposite was true. He was kind, gentle, considerate and loved his big menagerie of animals more than life itself. Tony Curtis was the consummate professional and had a great sense of humor. I felt honored to be working with him. But I have to say my very favorite was Peter Falk. Every day he had a twinkle in his eye, was always ready to run lines, would ask if a direction I was given was helpful and treated extras with the respect they deserved, When his wife came on the set I told her I wanted to run off to Mexico with him and too bad he was in love with her. She laughed. We had worked together on a show where one of the leads had little regard for other actors. Peter was special. His talent was awesome and most important, he loved animals.

Late Bloomer

Recently, having to write several papers for my non–profit reminded me of how much I do love to communicate with the written word. Before and during my career as an actress I would write stories and scripts in my spare time, but it wasn’t until I tackled writing a novel that I realized that this is something I really care about. I feel like I wasted so much time not doing it a long time ago. Now I even have a blog at brittlind.com where I’ll be writing mostly about my work as an anti-vivisectionist. For years, when it came to my activism, I followed others. I went to protests and meetings, always taking a backseat to people who were much more aggressive than me. Now that I am president of an AV non-profit and have to speak to large groups and research and write informative pamphlets I’m actually enjoying being able to express myself, especially with the written word. My passion and my calling joined to effortlessly give voice to my feelings.

Enjoy What You Have

Spending a lot of time at home in my little office where I research and write I end up looking out the windows a lot. One view is of the hillside that is part of the botanical gardens. Right outside my window are trees, flowers, bunnies, squirrels, pheasants, birds, bees and butterflies. There are lots of blue jays and one of them thinks he owns me. Early in the morning he sits outside on the railing and starts squawking that he wants his almonds and, of course, I oblige. He sits on the railing as I place them in single file and is ready to hop on my arm if I don’t do it fast enough. He is the only blue jay who won’t fly off until he can fit three almonds into his beak. It may take awhile but he keeps trying until he has three. Then he flies off to wherever he has his nest. When I was young I dreamed of living in a big mansion and giving lots of money to animals. Life didn’t work out that way, but I love where I live and I still help animals. Big isn’t always best.

Don't Look Back

During this downtime period in the movie/TV industry actors have had to do a lot of self-taping. One casting director asked that we just talk about ourselves and share who we are with them – roles we’d like to play and so forth. I did that and told stories of how sometimes I did everything I was asked to do in an audition – knew my lines perfectly but because someone threw a wrench into the process I lost those roles. I told of how Alan Jay Lerner, composer of My Fair Lady and other big musicals, wanted me to play Gigi in the stage version at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion but Katherine Hepburn wanted her protégé to do it. They argued and Alan lost and so did I. I was asked to audition for Gypsy at the Music Center with Debbie Reynolds as the star. They wanted me, but Debbie said if her daughter Carrie didn’t do it, she would drop out. They didn’t want Carrie and the show was never done. At the time I was heartbroken but if you hang on to frustration and bitterness it is said that it’s like drinking acid and hoping the other person dies. Good things are always ahead of you. No need to drink acid for anybody.

Enjoying My Own Characters

I think most writers love to read. I love reading almost all genres but detective books especially. Some successful writers concentrate on the investigation of the crime and have little time to concentrate on personal relationships and growth. Others delve deeply into the hearts and minds of their characters besides having fascinating investigative plots. One of my favorite crime writers was a screen writer and reading his books is like watching a terrific movie. Another writer I know was also a screen writer but his writing is so spare you have to fill in a lot about the characters yourself. As for me, I want my plot to be intriguing but I also care deeply about my characters who come to life out of my imagination but are very real to me. They move forward investigating the crime but they also manage to escape my keyboard and start racing forward on their own. It’s all I can do to keep up with what they insist on doing. I just try to describe their adventures as best I can. It’s impossible for me to ignore their thoughts and feelings. It’s fun and exciting to find out what they’re going to do next.

Live Free

In telling the story of Rosemaria and Josh, Josh’s friend Noor, a black panther, is very real to me. Writing her inner feelings was as natural as writing about a human being. I had a friend who raised a panther in Beverly Hills (not the right thing to do) and when this girl got too big he took her to live in a sanctuary. I’ll never forget when I met her. She ran up to my friend and practically hugged him. Then she turned to me and let me pet her, perfectly comfortable with my presence. At one point I was alone with her on the grass, laying down, scratching her tummy. A tour cart came by and I heard the guide say, “These cats may seem tame to you, but you must remember they are wild animals. Only sanctuary workers and the people who the cats know are ever allowed inside the fences.” I froze in place, looked at this cat who was gnawing on my arm and thought, “Uh, oh, this is awkward.” But the moment passed and call me crazy but I think she knew that I felt her loneliness and her strong desire to live free. But my friend had made that impossible.

Right Brain, Left Brain

This time of staying at home and actors being delegated to auditioning over the internet, has been a supreme challenge to a lot of us. Actors are mostly right brain people. We are creative and go by our feelings. We are usually not the most technical of people. Having to figure out how to self-tape, deal with our phone video camera, tripod, lighting, set up and all the rest, then actually having to act is difficult. And then there’s the challenge of having to send your audition tape on to the right person. Trying to figure out how to set up a home studio and audition for voice overs is even more difficult. When I took an online course SAG offered us members last week I figured it would all be so easy. It’s just your voice what could be so difficult? But setting up a soundproof room, getting the correct microphones and headsets and dealing with all of the voice levels and gauges was Greek to me. Young actors coming up now will have to develop their left brain as well as their right brain and they will. There’s no way around it anymore. But once you get the job and get on set, and only have to deal with the right brain, it sure is wonderful.

Right Brain, Left Brain

This time of staying at home and actors being delegated to auditioning over the internet, has been a supreme challenge to a lot of us. Actors are mostly right brain people. We are creative and go by our feelings. We are usually not the most technical of people. Having to figure out how to self-tape, deal with our phone video camera, tripod, lighting, set up and all the rest, then actually having to act is difficult. And then there’s the challenge of having to send your audition tape on to the right person. Trying to figure out how to set up a home studio and audition for voice overs is even more difficult. When I took an online course SAG offered us members last week I figured it would all be so easy. It’s just your voice what could be so difficult? But setting up a soundproof room, getting the correct microphones and headsets and dealing with all of the voice levels and gauges was Greek to me. Young actors coming up now will have to develop their left brain as well as their right brain and they will. There’s no way around it anymore. But once you get the job and get on set, and only have to deal with the right brain, it sure is wonderful.

When Your Calling Meets Your Passion

The ideal life is when your calling meets your passion. Some people never find that or never know that kind of life is possible. I knew from an early age that I loved animals and wanted to help them somehow. At the same time my passion was acting. I thought that the perfect life would be to achieve fame and fortune and give money to animal organizations. When I met Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd I realized I had to do more than give money, I had to actually go out and do something. So I became active with the Sea Shepherd organization. Then I met Chris DeRose of Last Chance for Animals who showed me the realities of animal experimentation and I knew I had found my true calling. Acting fell by the wayside as I concentrated on working to abolish animal experimentation. I still found some acting jobs but didn’t have the will to pursue it the way I had. Then I found I loved writing as much as acting and I started writing scripts, most with animal themes. Now I am packaging a script with the goal of producing the movie myself – finally, calling meeting passion. Whether or not I succeed in my latest endeavor I am living the life I was meant to live.

Our One Precious Place

Whatever I write it ends up having animals somewhere in it, be they scripts, books, online posts, research papers, all involve animals in one way or another. Saving all animals from cruelty is my goal but of course one person can’t do it alone, not even large groups of people working together can do that. But I’m reminded of the quote from Rudyard Kipling that I live by. (a slightly longer version is on my web site brittlind.com) Part of the quote says, “God gave all men all earth to love, but since our hearts are small, ordained for each one spot should prove beloved over all.” In other words, we can’t make gigantic changes in this world all by ourselves, but we can look around us and see our own small sphere of influence and make it better through our efforts.

Adventures in Self Taping

What a challenge this time has been for actors! We now are asked to self-tape auditions at home. We are given instructions on how to do the technical part and if we are a little challenged in that department, we just have to figure it out and/or get help from somewhere. Luckily, I have a young friend who is willing to help. So much energy is spent on the technical side, the acting performance is secondary, but the good thing is, being at home alone, we can do take after take after take until we are satisfied and send it off. Whew! If I had had to do this when I was starting out I may never have booked a job. I love being in the room with the director and producer and having that organic experience in order to convince them to hire me. Time marches on and self-taping will probably become the norm. But the kind of auditions my characters in Deception must do in person will always be with us because eventually, all those self-tapes will be narrowed down to a select few and then the real decisions are made in person.

I Love to Read!

Reading and writing seem to go together for me and I’ve loved to do both since I was a child. I usually read two books a week because I read on the treadmill, waiting in line at the post office, in doctors’ offices, in the tub, while eating and more. I’m never without a book that I’m engrossed in! Reading well-written thrillers, whether contemporary or historical inspires me in my own writing. Reading autobiographies about other people who have gone through tough times and triumphed over adversities inspires me. And thrillers written in Norwegian are my absolute favorites because, not only do I get to enjoy the book, it helps keep my Norwegian fluent! What I really miss right now is going to my local Barnes and Noble and checking out all the new books that have come out. If I had to choose between shopping at a clothing store or a bookstore, a bookstore wins every time. If someone gives me a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble I am in heaven. I look forward to going back as soon as I can!

The Battle Between Good and Evil

Hollywood has always been a place of great contrasts. Good and evil exist together in an industry where there are those who will do whatever it takes to be successful and the innocent ones who are exploited. Having worked for years in Hollywood, my heroine, Sergeant Rosemaria Baker, has had to deal with the tragic results when dreams are broken and all that is left is survival. After moving to the Beverly Hills police department, she has found that the rich and powerful also often live with insecurity and fear of losing what they have. There are many talented people in Hollywood who contribute greatly to our lives, who have worked hard and entertain us with their acting, singing, dancing and writing. They make the world a better place. But in a cruel town, my gentle hero Josh Sibley, whose joy is writing songs and singing, is struggling to gain recognition. I found that in my ups and downs as an actress that belief in yourself is what matters. No one can discourage or exploit you if you maintain your center and keep your spiritual life intact. Most important of all, having a calling that you are passionate about and following that calling to accomplish something greater than your own hopes and dreams is what truly matters.

What is my inspiration?

Some people wonder where I get my ideas when I write a book or script. Sometimes, an idea comes from a dream, sometimes from daydreaming and imagining difference scenarios and often from real life events that have happened to me or friends of mine. Interesting stories that I have heard from people who have lived in Hollywood for years and know every juicy bit of gossip about celebrities and stories about murders always are fodder for my writing. I always believe in writing a lot of humor into everything. Humor is the way we get through moments of stress and strife and as an actress, I’ve always favored doing comedy on stage rather than dramas. I tend to take roles home with me and feeling depressed for a month or two because of a character I’m playing on stage has never appealed to me. I like delving into dark/confused/unhappy characters in acting class or on a TV show for a week or two but I don’t want to live with those characters on a day to day basis for months. You’ll usually find humor and animals in everything I write.

Acting, Singing or Writing, I’m a Storyteller

It may seem like a dichotomy for an animal activist who believes in kindness and compassion toward all creatures to write about crime and murder. The answer to that puzzle is that I am a typical Libra – I love justice. When juries ignore the obvious evidence against criminals, especially murderers, and set them free, it pains me greatly. I was first introduced to crime books by reading The Stranger Beside Me (about Ted Bundy) by Ann Rule. She was such a terrific writer I had to keep reading her books until I had read them all. Then I read other true crime books by Joseph Wambaugh, Joe McGinness, and several others. What I cared about most in reading their books was seeing perpetrators being brought to justice and paying for their crimes. I loved reading about investigators who never gave up on tracking down the killer. Of course, I also read mysteries, police procedurals and fictional crime and spy novels. Since Hollywood and its environs is where I have spent most of my adult life I decided to set my own mystery there. My female protagonist, Rosemaria, is who I wish I were, tough, tenacious but with a sense of humor and a soft heart underneath it all.

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