Born in Waco, Texas and raised under the blinding Friday-night lights of Dallas/Fort Worth, a gymnastics scholarship to Penn State University in 1988 was his ticket out of the Lone Star State. But after two years (and two ankle surgeries), he migrated west to UCLA, joining Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and earning a BA degree in Psychology (1993). ￼
His career path took an unexpected turn the day he was headbutted by a mental patient while interning in the psychiatric ward of the Los Angeles County General Hospital. It "knocked a screw loose" and instead of enrolling in graduate school, he enrolled in acting school, spending the rest of his twenties as a sporadically employed actor, playing his most distinctive roles in his real life just to get by: “butler” for Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion; “spotter” for corporate hotel chains; “personal assistant” for a clinical psychologist (aspiring actress); “limo driver” for a bachelor Bel Air real estate mogul; "directors rep" at a cutting-edge music video, commercial and film production company, etc.
His talent for writing was spotted the summer following graduation when Keller was forced to attend summer school to fulfill an overlooked “elective.” For his last class, he chose Introduction to Playwriting, a departure from his studies of Psychology; and it was his one-act play, The Invisible Boy, that caught the attention of his UCLA professor, who encouraged the young promising playwright, even offering Keller his first writing job.
To make the transition from playwriting to screenwriting, the young writer enlisted the guidance of some of the industry’s top teachers; and through the fade out of his twenties, Keller honed his literary chops in Hollywood, writing several screenplays. But it wasn’t until Keller adapted his college one-act play into a full-length movie script that “the Industry” took notice. In 1998, the William Morris Agency signed the 28-year-old screenwriter and packaged the project for production. Keller received additional training in TV writing, completing a spec for Felicity and a treatment for Dark Angel.
In 2001, the disillusioned screenwriter/actor escaped Los Angeles, spending most of 2002 traveling the globe with a camera. After more than one night in Bangkok, Keller and his partner stumbled onto Koh Samui, an idyllic island of coconut trees in the Gulf of Thailand where they spent six months living simply in a beach house—reading, writing, exploring the island—and for Keller, recovering from a decade in the City of Angels.
Still passionate about storytelling, but yearning to write beyond the rigid mold of a film script, he began writing a memoir, a literary form the writer found liberating.
For the next decade, he continued to write, storing away material while he and his partner bought, renovated and sold mid-century architectural homes—two outside of Palm Springs, CA (17 Palms, Fairway Drive). Their latest in Three Rivers, CA (Kaweah Falls) has been featured in Sunset magazine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
While his words appeared in an occasional newspaper op-ed or magazine article, it wasn’t until 2013 that the 43-year-old writer resurfaced from literary exile with his memoir, 1 (800) NEW-LIFE — an account of his zealous alignment with the Religious Right and the “ex-gay” movement in the 1990s while an aspiring actor/screenwriter in Hollywood.
It marks the first of several projects to come from his decade sabbatical.
The author splits his time between Minneapolis, LA, and Three Rivers with his partner of 12 years, Charles Wolford—and Samui, the pup they rescued from that tropical isle in Thailand. Beyond writing, Keller manages Kaweah Falls, now a popular vacation retreat.