An interesting blog:
"Secretly terrified I was a big fake and would never be a writer, I considered quitting school, but couldn't because I would lose my student deferment and go to Vietnam. So more out of a sense of panic than anything else, I wrote my first novel HEIR. I composed the book over a stiflingly hot summer in the front office of an African-American funeral home in Sumter, South Carolina, the only air conditioned spot available to a Northern white boy civil rights worker. The plot was a thinly veiled fictionalization of the life of a rich fellow Dartmouth student who accidentally killed his girlfriend with an overdose of heroin. The book was published for a small advance, got a couple of good reviews and sold about five copies; that includes to my family.
"Subsequently it was made into an unwatchable movie, but I used the film sale as a bridge to Hollywood, and soon I was out in LA, trying to write screenplays, even make films, something I have been attempting with greater and lesser success ever since."