Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Where Did THAT Come From?

The first question a lot of people ask writers is, “How did you come up with this idea?” I certainly ask that when I read books. I think about the author’s life and wonder if the characters are people she knows, if the towns are places she’s visited, if the events that happen are things that have happened to her. Sometimes stories and characters feel so true, you believe they must be real.

In the case of LOVE, MEG, none of it is real, except there really is a Hollywood and a Queens, New York, and of course, a magnificent and talented Jennifer Aniston. But Meg and her sister are no one I know and there was no one I based them on - except for myself. (I love long straight hair and wearing low-riders and flip-flops and “Friends” is one of my favorite shows of all time, if you couldn’t tell…) And the events that transpire in their lives are a result of me playing the “What if?” game that all writers play.

When I came to Hollywood, I used to imagine all the things that Meg imagines: movie stars tooling around in their cars on Sunset Boulevard, stopping for coffee at the local Starbucks, their kids attending Hollywood High. I would drive through the Hollywood Hills and think about the famous people who must live behind those steel gates and up those long driveways. And I used to wonder what it would be like if someone famous, someone like Jennifer Aniston, were my best friend. (The original title of LOVE, MEG was, in fact, JENNIFER ANISTON IS MY BEST FRIEND.)

Imagine, having a movie star as your best friend! What would you do? How would you feel about yourself? And more importantly, how on earth could you make that happen? And that’s when I got the basic idea for the book: Meg would write to this famous star and become her friend that way.

There is, I confess, one very real thing that contributed to the book. My family did move around a lot when I was growing up, although not nearly as often as Meg and Lucie, and it was very hard to keep friends - making friends was not hard but staying in touch certainly was. That is definitely a part of Meg’s personality that is based in truth. And the connection Meg feels to the show “Friends” is based, in part, on my mom. She was a stay-at-home mother when we were kids and each time we moved, she lost her friends too. But her soap operas became her friends. I remember her telling me once that no matter where we moved, she could always turn on “All My Children” and find people she knew.

So that, in a nutshell, is where the original idea came from - nothing special, no big lightning bolt smacking me in the head. Just a “hey this would be kind of cool” that inspired me to create a character like Meg Shanley. To me, she is a real person and I’ve loved spending every minute with her as she told me her story.

Your Hollywood connection,


Saturday, March 3, 2007

Hello and welcome to my brand new website!

The reason for the hoopla? My very first book is being published in July 2007 and I am hugely excited about it. This is more than a single dream come true for me - it’s a whole lifetime of dreams. The mere idea that my book will soon be in the hands of readers to whom I am not related (!), on the shelves of bookstores (!!), in the “P” section of the library (!!!) is overwhelming and thrilling and fantastic and…and…

…I hope you like it.

Now, I haven’t figured out the theme of my blog yet. Anyone got any ideas?

Yes, you in the back row. The one with both hands raised.

Nuclear physics? No, no. That’s not really my area of expertise. Anyone else?

I love reading the blogs of my favorite authors but they all seem to be way smarter and funnier than me. They tell great stories about their lives or they write clever things about popular culture. They insert all sorts of cool pictures that you could never find in a million years but are the most perfect accents to their posts and their words just trip off their keyboards like they’re in the room with you, chatting over a cup of delicious coffee and some warm chocolate chip cookies they whipped up on the spur of the moment - they didn’t even know you were coming - and they didn’t use a mix or anything, but they happen to be the most amazing cookies ever and could probably win baking contests.


So our goal is to be spontaneous and charming and witty. You’ll help me, won’t you? Think on that and get back to me. No pressure, no essay-writing but there may be a multiple-choice quiz.

In the meantime, I will tell you a bit about the process of writing LOVE, MEG, and getting it published.

And please check out the website and let me know what you think. There will be loads more fun stuff on it in coming weeks. Maybe even a recipe or two.

Your Hollywood connection,