Jeannette Walls has reported for years on the movers and shakers in the most powerful city in the world. It's a world she knows from the inside. With her husband, John Taylor, a successful novelist, they have been called a New York power couple.
But for years, Walls hid the fact that she had a much humbler upbringing than many of the people she now associates with. Now her secret is out -- in her memoir, "The Glass Castle."
She answered questions about her new book and her life for the ABCNEWS.com audience.
1. Loye Smith, of Jefferson City, Tenn., writes:
How did you support yourself when you first went to New York? How did you get accepted to an Ivy League school, and how did you pay college expenses and support yourself? You have a wonderful, amazing and inspiring story. Thank you.
Why, thank you so much for your kind words. I got a job at a burger joint the day after I arrived in New York. My sister and I shared an apartment in a not terribly nice -- but very cheap -- section of the Bronx, and when my brother joined us a year later, he lived there too, so we split the rent three ways. I finished high school during the day, worked evenings and weekends, and our expenses weren't that high. While I was in high school, I got an internship at a local paper in Brooklyn, and they hired me after I graduated. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, but eventually the editor of the paper took me aside and told me that I really should go to college. One of the things about my parents is that they always emphasized reading and learning, so I didn't have any trouble with the admissions tests. I covered tuition with grants and loans and scholarships; I arranged all my classes into three days and worked the other four days to support myself; I also moved into the maid's room of a big Upper West Side apartment and looked after a woman's two children in exchange for the room. I was able to piece together enough for each year, until my senior year, when I was $1,000 short. I thought I was going to have to drop out. But then my father somehow came up with the money. He and mom had moved to New York City while I was in college, and they were living on the street at the time. I told him I couldn't take his money, and he said there was no way that his daughter was going to drop out of college.
2. Virginia Carter, of Lexington, Ky., writes:
What has happened to your siblings? Did their lives turn out as well as yours? You are amazing!
My older sister achieved her dream of being an artist. She's an illustrator living in Manhattan. My brother Brian, who you saw in the segment, also achieved his dream of becoming a police officer. He actually retired a few years ago and he's enrolled in college and studying to become a teacher. My kid sister, who was the great beauty and the most sensitive of us kids, hit a rough patch. We're working on getting her back on track.
3. David Benway, of Kingston, Mass., writes:
I was wondering if you ever considered getting some of your mother's paintings into an art gallery or is she not open to that? Would she be open to selling any paintings? Also, I'm really glad that you're living out the life of your dreams. Venus is definitely yours!