Anastasia Blackwell was born and spent her formative years on the Oregon coast. Her father taught English, directed theater, and coached sports at the only high school in the mill town. Her mother raised five children. Precocious from a young age, Anastasia enjoyed recreating scenes from the novels her father brought home, as there was little else to do in the fog-drenched city. She suffered from asthma and was bedridden for periods of time, confined to spend recuperative hours reading classic literature and imagining a more sophisticated, romantic, and adventurous existence. However, the respiratory ailment did not keep Anastasia from arm-wrestling her brothers and swinging through the vines of the dense Oregonian forest. The day she first stepped onto the school stage was a miraculous moment, never to be forgotten.
She skipped a grade when her parents relocated to Portland and focused her efforts on playing tournament softball, while collecting statewide speech and dramatic competition awards. Working her way through college to earn a B.S. in Sociology and later a M.A. in Theater Arts, she performed an array of jobs to support herself. The former tomboy was a finalist for Miss Portland and supported herself as a swimsuit and commercial model, while participating in the wildly creative Northwest music and theater scene. Her experiences performing classical and experimental theater further solidified her belief in the transformative power of the arts.
After graduating college Anastasia was recruited to San Francisco, where she became a professional actress and voice-over artist. Subsequently, she was hired by a CBS affiliate to work in marketing/commercial production, where she co-produced award-winning commercials and community affairs spots. She was later hired by a radio station to provide community affairs updates and on-air news reporting.
However, the stage lured her away from the world of business to collaborate with a group of actors that forged a tight clan, similar to New York’s legendary Neighborhood Playhouse. The group was dedicated to the highest standards of truthfulness in theatrical performance, and members went on to form enduring theater companies.
Determined to let nothing get in her way of performing, she acted until six months pregnant with her first child. But, after the birth of her son she suffered vocal chord and shoulder paralysis. Doctors estimated her odds at 98% of never being able to speak, sing, laugh, or drink normally for the rest of her life, and was told she must accept her fate. But she did not give up hope of rehabilitation. A year later a miracle occurred, and she began to gradually recover her voice. A second child complicated her recovery, but she remained steadfast and returned to the stage six weeks after the birth of her son, claiming the part of the sexy opera singer in “Lend Me a Tenor”, nearly three years from the date of her diagnosis. Her intense dedication to mastering the art of theatrical performance and the vow to never give up, eventually led to awards, including Outstanding Principal Performance in “Nuts” and Outstanding Principal Performance in “Sight Unseen”.
However, a promise at a shrine and a terrifying experience in a haunted house on an island outside Montreal set Anastasia in a direction she could not have imagined. A novel began to take shape, and although she never sought to become an author, she soon began to instill her intense passion and determination to complete the story of a world-weary woman‘s journey of self discovery and empowerment in the French Canadian underground. She devoted herself to research and study with reknowned masters of storytelling in literature and film, and the contemporary gothic suspense, “The House on Black Lake” was published by Creative Revolution Media in March, 2010. The screenplay was adapted by Blackwell in 2012.
Two years before the novel was published she conceived the idea of creating a cinematic trailer. At the time book trailers were in their infancy, and a cinematic version, to her knowledge, had never been produced. Drawing upon her experience in production she brought together an accomplished indie team and used her skills as an actress, voice-over artist, director, and producer to create the video. A clothing line followed, based on the French Gypsy fashion featured in the gothic suspense.
In late 2010 she was honored to be invited to join such prominent authors as Stephan King, John Grisham, and Nora Roberts in a fund raiser for The First Amendment Project.
In addition, Anastasia founded WAM JAMS! – Writer’s, artists, and musicians collaborating to create new forms of art, and the group has spawned numerous works of merit. The latest project features original music and innovative performances by aerial artists, and is the first documented original music video based on scenes from a novel.
Currently, Anastasia works as a professional actress, writer, and voice-over artist in Los Angeles. Her passions include the flying trapeze, horse back riding, adventure travel, skeet shooting, literature, philosophy, theater, film, history, and more – a boundless curiosity and desire to explore every aspect of modern and ancient life.
Her novel/screenplay “The Chamber of Curiosities” is scheduled to be published in in 2015.