I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, a middle child who loved to bury her face in books or lie on the lawn and daydream.  No childhood traumas to inform my writing, I’m afraid, apart from those minor havocs nuns in Catholic school are so good at wreaking.  I was blessed with wonderful, devoted parents, an older sister, a younger brother, two playful schnauzers, and a rotating menagerie of fish, turtles, rabbits, chickens, and mice.  (Many in the menagerie gave their lives to science – whether we meant them to or not.)  My neighborhood revolved around the parish church, and everyone was Polish or German or Irish or Italian, and everyone knew what everyone else was.  (We Korickes were part of the Polish contingent, as you might guess.)  It was a small and protected world, which is probably why for a child it was such a happy one.

My first Great Adventure occurred at age sixteen, when I went off to live with a family in the Belgian hamlet of Ham-sur-Sambre.  I attended a Catholic girl’s school – what else? – in Namur, where the French I studied in two years of high-school classes seemed to bear no relation to what I was hearing around me.  But I learned.

My appetite for living in farflung places only grew after those six months, though my next Great Adventure took place in the United States.  I was accepted at Harvard, and spent the next four years on a whirlwind of friends and dates and late-night pizza and occasionally even study.  I managed to graduate with honors, and with dear, dear friends I hope I grow old with.

But off I went again, this time to Tokyo, on a Rotary Fellowship.  Again a new language, and this one made French look easy.  But again I learned, though Japanese required much more arduous study.  I lived first in a dorm, then with families, then in an apartment in Tokyo’s Takadanobaba neighborhood.  (Isn’t that a great name?)  Apart from studying, I did a lot of dancing and some teaching of English.  Somehow I became a favorite of Japanese congressmen, believe it or not, who seemed to think a 21-year-old blond, blue-eyed Harvard grad was just the teacher they needed to perfect their language skills.  I was smart enough to raise my rates as soon as I understood my marketability …

I returned to the U.S. highly skilled in all things Japanese and unemployed.  After a few months with the family in Buffalo, I joined Toyota and moved to L.A., beginning what became a torrid love affair with California.  I may not be a beach bunny – I’m way too pale to tan – but I love palm trees and Wolfgang Puck and Jacuzzis and stucco, which makes me almost a native.

Alas, Toyota didn’t quite make my juices flow.  Thus the next Great Adventure began – Television.  It took one year and lots of rejections, but finally I landed my first TV news job.  I have Bill Griffeth at CNBC to thank for that.  Bill hired me as the overnight anchor for Financial News Network in Santa Monica, meaning I arrived at the station at midnight, ripped the wires, wrote the stories, slapped on my makeup, and raced to the anchor set at 3 a.m. to read the news.  (6 a.m. on the east coast, thank you.)  All of us at FNN were on the air for hours a day, and it was phenomenal training (which I desperately needed, since I went from Toyota to FNN without a speck of broadcast-news experience.)  I loved it.  Ron Insana – on CNBC when he’s not making waves on Today or Nightly News or Imus in the Morning – was my first coanchor.  Dodging the passionate loathing that infuses many anchor relationships, Ron and I have always been great pals.  In fact I have numerous great pals from those years at FNN: among them Sue Herera, who gave me a terrific quote for Falling Star.

But again a farflung locale beckoned, and again it was Tokyo.  I was hired by NBC News to be Tokyo correspondent, and winged my way back to The Land of the Rising Sun.  As it happened I saw lots of those sunrises, thanks to the fourteen-hour time difference between Tokyo and NBC’s home at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan.  Live shots on Nightly News with Tom Brokaw happened at 5:30 a.m. Japan time, after all-night script-writing and voicetrack-laying and story-editing.  Then, of course, I had to try to look good for air.  Apart from those all-nighters, I also had the great good fortune to be brought back to 30 Rock on a regular basis to anchor Sunrise (more early hours there – the limo comes to get you before 3 a.m.) and read news on Today.  (Yes, I’ve been on the couch!)  Tokyo was an arduous gig, but so rewarding, with many opportunities to travel and interview newsmakers and report on the world’s major events from right up close.

NBC transferred me stateside after the Gulf War, and I found another happy home at the network’s Burbank bureau.  The Tonight Show is shot on that self-same Burbank lot, as is Days of our Lives.  We newsies constantly would see the soap stars in the commissary, which believe me does not do much to build one’s confidence about one’s own looks.  NBC’s Burbank bureau was a fun, feisty group, led by inimitable bureau chief Heather Allan.  I had a fantastic time there, and it turned out to be an extremely busy period news-wise, what with riots, mudslides, wildfires, and an election or two.

L.A.’s next major news event found me at Fox, anchoring mornings with Tony McEwing on the just-launched Fox 11 Morning News.  (Tony’s another marvelous colleague – he and I also bypassed coanchor fear and loathing and got along famously.  Still do.)  I remember Tony and me reading the first reports about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, which of course touched off a frenzied year of what sometimes seemed like round-the-clock coverage of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial.  (Some of that experience came in handy when I wrote To Catch the Moon.)  I was in Fox’s seat in the Los Angeles courtroom when the verdict was read.  What an incredible moment.

But of course all that pales beside the tragic, life-changing events of September 11, 2001.  By that time I had been out of the news business for several years, and was home in San Francisco writing novels.  Yet some of the old urge to cover the news resurfaced during that fall, fighting the sheer heartbreak and terror of the events.

It does not escape me that in my current Great Adventure I am very lucky spending my days doing what I love, and living alongside my incredible husband, who from the onset of this writing idea of mine has been my relentless booster.  I urge all of you to reach for your dreams, regardless how far away they may seem, regardless how many setbacks you will suffer.  There’s a Kelly Devlin scene in Falling Star where she ruminates about the Bakersfield news director who told her everyone in his newsroom had an I.Q. of 150 plus.  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Kelly met that news director because I did.  And he also told me I was “a dime a dozen,” and not nearly smart or pretty enough to succeed in the TV-news business.

Well, after Bill Griffeth hired me at FNN, I sent that news director a sweet-as-can-be letter informing him of my new, national anchor job.  And never before or since have I licked a stamp with more joy or gusto ….       

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