Welcome to my website! I am delighted to announce that my new book–Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect–was published by Chronicle Books on March 1, 2022. This is five months later than originally planned, partly due to global shipping delays–but also to honor Julia Morgan during her sesquicentennial year (1872-2022). This is the first volume to reveal the story of Julia’s private life–which was as remarkable as the career she forged as the world’s most prominent female architect. To hear me narrate part of the book’s Introduction, click here for a sample of Hachette’s audiobook, which was also released on March 1, 2022. Julia Morgan is filled with never-before-told anecdotes and gorgeous photography by Alexander Vertikoff. I’m eager to share it with you. I’ll be posting some of my new discoveries, as well as my upcoming book-signings and speaking engagements, so check back frequently.
I’ve always been intrigued by historic buildings and the talented designers and clients who create them. I’ve written the definitive trilogy on the history of William Randolph Hearst’s grand estate at San Simeon: Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House, with a foreword by George Plimpton; Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land, and Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy, all published by Abrams Books. I’ve co-authored The Beverly Hills Hotel: The First 100 Years with Robert Anderson; and Daily Pleasures: The French Ceramic Collection of MaryLou Boone for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I’ve also penned a chapter on Bernard Maybeck’s magnificent Palace of Fine Arts for Jewel City: The Art of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, an exhibition held at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. I’m a lifelong fan of reading literature aloud—and I’ve written “Speaking Dickens” for London’s Counsel Magazine, to honor the world’s greatest author for pursuing this pastime. To further explore the intriguing lives of William Randolph Hearst and Julia Morgan, I’ve authored “William Randolph Hearst: America’s Maverick Collector” for Oxford University’s Journal of the History of Collections, and “Morgan and Associates: Julia Morgan’s Architectural Practice as Design Metaphor” for the AIA publication 20 on 20/20 Vision.
As a former commercial baker, I think nothing of whipping up a cake for fifty, and I always plan my menus by choosing the dessert first. I’ve sung all my life, performing with the San Luis Vocal Arts Ensemble for nearly twenty years (until I switched to the equally absorbing task of writing books). I still sing show tunes and play my Yamaha electric piano at local care homes. I’ve also recently begun researching the incomparable Fred Astaire, studying his musical compositions and his singing career, in addition to his masterly dances on film.
Writing the story of Julia Morgan’s inspiring life has proved to be the most fascinating subject of them all. I hope you’ll stay in touch, and share this exciting journey with me.