Her hope now is to turn it into a web series that will depict the lives of the three internally flawed women who live in the affluent suburbs of Atlanta.
“Everyone says they’re (the characters) an extension of different types of my personality,” said Neal. “Everything that I have done — film, book … derive from all of the tragic experiences in my life. The three characters in the film stem from my dysfunctional childhood, and the theme of the book is related to all of the dysfunctional relationships that I have endured. All the women have flaws like that. Fran’s father killed her mother.”
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A tragedy in Neal’s past also made her step out and take risks.
In 1995, she was working as a flight attendant on ValuJet Airlines on an Atlanta-to-Miami route when the DC-9 caught fire as it was taxiing down the runway at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Neal suffered second- and third-degree burns and underwent surgery and years of therapy.
She never worked as a flight attendant again.
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“It was still in my subconscious,” said Neal, who remembers sitting in a rear jump seat when suddenly a wall of fire shot up from the floor.
When it dissipated, she helped the remaining passengers get to safety.
She never talked much about the accident until recently.
“People keep asking what inspired me to become a filmmaker,” said Neal, who is not ready to put her own story on film yet. “It started when my career path was changed. When you go though a traumatic situation, you have to figure out how you will cope. Everything in that accident kind of led me to where I am today. I just don’t have a fear when I’m doing new things. You have no fear; you’ve experienced the worse. It allows you to take chances.”