GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Behind all of the makeup on AMC's hit show The Walking Dead, is a story of success.
It's a tale that includes imagination and creativity, and it's a dream that started in Stillwater.
"I'm just very proud to be from Minnesota," Nichole Beattie said.
Beattie, a writer and producer for The Walking Dead, first found inspiration from her mom, Melody, an author who was first published when her daughter was in junior high.
"Because my mother had the great fortune to have the great success that she had, I knew that you could love something and make a living doing it," she said.
On the day after she graduated high school in 1994, Beattie and her mom moved to Los Angeles. It was the first step in a career that spanned the country.
Beattie broke into the industry writing music reviews for a New York magazine. She married an actor, met some Hollywood insiders and kept writing.
"Everyone has a different birthing process on how they have become a screen writer," Beattie said. "Mine was an easier one and a little bit unconventional."
Hard work and skill quickly took over. Beattie first worked on HBO's Deadwood. She also worked on shows including John from Cincinnati, FX's Sons of Anarchy and AMC's Rubicon.
At the beginning of its third season, Beattie was hired as a writer and producer for The Walking Dead, which created a different kind of challenge.
"I have never been part of a show that was that big. I have loved every show that I have ever been on, but they've all been little engines that barely could," Beattie said.
Now the most-watched cable show in history -- The Walking Dead's fourth season premiered in October to more than 16 million viewers.
"You're humbly aware that you are part of a phenomenon that is so much bigger than you, and that you are just very lucky to be a part of that," she said.
"The Walking Dead has sort of taken on a life of its own. It has tapped into something that has reached people on a very deep level, and it's a really wild, amazing, great, challenging experience," she said.
For Beattie, it wasn't zombies that hooked her on the series, but
rather a combination of a great crew, great acting and great
"I think we are a show about the human condition and how it perseveres in adverse situations," Beattie said with a smile," she said with a smile.
And that's similar to her story and the determination it took for a Stillwater Pony to make her dream come true. Now, she hopes that her story inspires other Minnesotans to reach for their dreams.
"If Stillwater is all that there is, that's a pretty great thing to have because Stillwater is a beautiful place ... But there is so much more out there in there world."
On Sunday, the character known as the Governor returns to the show. Fans will tell you it's one of the most highly anticipated shows this season and it was written by Beattie.
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