Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Author Interview and Giveaway with Wendy Holden (Beautiful People)


Please welcome Wendy Holden, Author of Beautiful People (April 2010 - Sourcebooks) to My Reading Room - she is joining us today for an interview.


  1. How did you celebrate when you received the first call that you would be published?
I chartered a jet, flew to Paris and blew my entire advance at Chanel! No, actually I was at work when my agent called and so I just went to the bathroom and screamed. Screaming in there was quite normal; I worked on a glossy magazine and the ladies’ room was always full of hysterical girls crying and comparing eating disorders. You could never use the basins; they were always crammed with bouquets people had been sent.
  1. Was it just as exciting to see your newest book, Beautiful People published?
Of course – perhaps more so, as it’s my ninth book and given how competitive publishing is I’m thrilled to still be writing at all. Let alone having notched up nine consecutive top ten UK bestsellers and now being published in the US, an inspirational country with a fantastic spirit and great sense of humour. So I’m praying my funny book will go down well there!
  1. Without giving anything away - what is Beautiful People?
It’s the story of two actresses. Darcy is one of those upper-class English Roses, all porcelain skin and cut-glass accent. She’s from British acting royalty and takes herself a bit seriously; she’s doing naked Shakespeare in the boondocks when the call comes from a hot Hollywood director and she’s not at all sure she wants to hear it. Let alone starve and exercise herself down to the required double zero – Darcy hates running as much as she adores food.  Belle, on the other hand, would starve herself to quadruple zero if necessary. She’s a total fame slut, a former A-list actress whose career is on the skids. She’ll do anything to get back on top, including theatre acting in London (for credibility) and adopting an African baby (for Angelina points). But her star’s on the wane as Darcy’s is on the rise – and boy does the fur fly when they meet!
  1. Where did the idea for Beautiful People come from?
 I was on holiday in Italy – where a great deal of Beautiful People is set – and eating my umpteenth huge and delicious dinner in one of those heavenly restaurants set under the ancient arches of some beautiful old village square. For some reason I started imagining a comedy about an actress who adored food being told she had to eat nothing but egg whites and work out for hours every day with a personal ‘thinstructor’. It kind of grew from there!
  1. Do you think Beautiful People appeals to readers of a certain genre (or genres) or do you think anyone can pretty much pick it up and enjoy it?
 I hope anyone can enjoy it. Its central comic subjects are fame, films and food which pretty much everyone knows and has an opinion about.
  1. Do you plan your books out or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I have a central idea and I plan to some extent, but I am always surprised at the way you get ideas as you go along. That part of the process is really exciting, as is the amazing way your subconscious works out problems for you.
  1. Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?
I read all the time. I love comic fiction; something British women do especially well. English female authors like Richmal Crompton (Just William), Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love) and Sue Townsend (Adrian Mole) write wittily, wisely and with a wonderful spare elegance. They are an inspiration as well as a pleasure.
  1. What is your favorite room in your house?
I like all the rooms in my house, but I especially adore my bedroom because it has a simply huge bed with a duck-feather mattress-topper and sinking into it is like sinking into a cloud. I love to wake early in the mornings and lie there listening to the birds in the garden.
  1. What is your favorite spot to read in?
There are two; on the big swing in the garden where I can gently rock and look out over the beautiful valley (see it on my website www.wendyholden.net). Otherwise, there’s a little sitting room in my house with bookcases, CDs and two big red armchairs with footrests. It was designed as a room to read and listen to music in and the children aren’t allowed to come in it (but they do, all the time!)


Crystal:  I know all about the children part - I don't have a special room, but I often ask to be left alone for a little while and they are always there and the mommy in me just gives in. :) 
  1. What is your favorite snack food?
Cheese and onion crisps, preferably Seabrook’s. Though I can always make room for bagel chips as well. And I love biscuits. And sometimes, when you want that little tang of something salty halfway through the morning, there’s nothing quite like a forkful of Parma ham. Oh, and fries are irresistible too, and a handful of pistachios, especially with raisins, is delicious . And I’ve just made some small cakes with my daughter with pink buttercream icing and silver dragees, which fill in that space between lunch and supper…excuse me, I just had to go up to the house and get one.

Crystal:  You are making me hungry and I'm not sure I know what half of the foods you talked about were :)
  1. What is your favorite season?
Spring, which is where we are at the moment. It’s such a huge relief after what seemed an endless winter, with Arctic snowfall. I couldn’t get the car out and the children had to go to school by sledge. But now all the narcissi are coming out, the pink camellia are emerging and the woodland paths are dry, as Yeats says. Perhaps, like me, he got fed up of trudging round in the mud all the time.

  1. Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?
Before I wrote full-time I worked as a journalist as well and had to write in the mornings before work and also throughout the holidays. It was a pretty miserable experience, especially for my husband, and now it’s such a privilege to be able to write all day every day and have proper holidays
  1. Where do you do the majority of your writing?
When we bought this house there was a small wooden summer house in the garden, crammed with junk. I cleared it out, built on an extra room (not personally, I’m not the DIY type) and now it’s my writing hut. It’s quite glamorous, with fairy lights, rugs, a bust of Shakespeare, a pink telephone, a chaise longue, lots of pictures, a phrenologist’s head and a turntable with a collection of Nat King Cole LPs. Oh, and shelf upon shelf of books; all my foreign editions mostly. It’s thrilling to look up and see my titles in Russian and Japanese! But I have to say that apart from the computer the heater is the most essential piece of kit; in winter I come in to find the water in my bottle frozen!

  1. You have had a variety of writing/editing jobs, what is one of the funniest stories you can share from working in that world of publishing?

Well once I worked for a very grand glossy magazine editor who asked me if I knew the difference between aristocratic legs and legs that belonged to ordinary people. She then went on to describe the former; long, thin and with the knee equidistant between the hipbone and the ankle bone. She then explained that ordinary people, by contrast, have a long thighbone and a short calf and their legs tend to be chunkier. Looking round the office, it seemed to me that most of the girls there had the ordinary sort of leg, even though they all saw themselves as practically royal.
  1. Did you find writing Beautiful People to be difficult or did the book just take off with no problems?
 It was quite straightforward, which is always a good sign. It’s when you find yourself hovering over certain sections, and returning to them over and over again like an anxious wasp, that you know something is wrong, that a book is not working. But I enjoyed writing Beautiful People enormously, and I hope that shows.
  1. Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?
I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to do lots of blogs, including Chick Lit Is Not Dead, the Sourcebooks Casablanca Authors Group Blog, and a bunch more in the coming weeks! The American literary blog culture is impressively highly developed, much more so than in the UK. I’ve loved doing them – is there anything more fun than answering endless questions about yourself? It’s the conversation from heaven!
  1. Do you have a new book in the works?
 I certainly have. I’ve just finished Gallery Girl, which is a comedy about contemporary art. My heroine works in an ‘edgy’ gallery full of hairy pebbles and wheelchairs sprayed gold. There are some great characters including a rock n roll bad boy artist and a wealthy art buyer who expects a lot more than just paintings from the artists she patronizes!


Crystal:   Now that sounds interesting.  I'll have to check that out when it comes out.
  1. Anything else you would like to say?
Thank you for having me. It’s been a treat, and talking of treats I think I’ll just nip up to the house and have another cake…

 ABOUT THE BOOK


A witty, utterly addictive novel from bestselling author Wendy Holden, Beautiful People is a tale wicked in its observations yet buoyant at its heart: an irresistible confection you’ll want to devour immediately.

Darcy—a struggling English rose actress when The Call comes from L.A. An Oscar-tastic director. A movie to make her famous. The hunkiest costar in Hollywood. So why doesn’t she want to go?

Belle—a size-zero film star but she’s in big, fat trouble. Hotter than the earth’s core a year ago, she’s now Tinseltown toast after her last film bombed. Can she get back to the big time?

Emma—a down-to-earth, down-on-her-luck nanny trying to weather London’s cutthroat childcare scene and celebrity mom whirlwinds. What will it take for her to get back in control of her own life?

Jet to London, Hollywood, and Italy; toss in a passionate star chef, a kindhearted paparazzo, and a reluctant male supermodel; and find Wendy Holden at her best—a smash international hit.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Wendy Holden (U.K.)  was a journalist on The Sunday Times, Tatler and The Mail on Sunday before becoming a full time author. She has now published nine novels, all top 10 bestsellers in the UK, and is married with two young children. Her novels include Farm Fatale (in US Stores from Sourcebooks Landmark in July 2010), Bad Heir Day (also coming to US stores from Sourcebooks Landmark in September 2010), Simply Divine, Gossip Hound, the Wives of Bath, The School for Husbands, Azur Like it, and Filthy Rich. For more information, please visit http://wendyholden.net/.


Thank you again to Wendy Holden for allowing me to interview her today and thanks to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks for my ARC of Beautiful People and coordinating this interview.

Giveaway:

Simply comment to enter.  Additional entries for tweeting about this giveaway, and being a follower.

Giveaway open to US/Canada only.  Open through 4/27. 

Review of Beautiful People will be coming in the next few days.



19 comments:

Melissa said...

I would have went to Chanel!

I'm a follower

jjameli(at)cableone.net

fredamans said...

I would really love to read this book.

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

fredamans said...

I am a follower.

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

fredamans said...

tweet; http://twitter.com/fredalicious/status/12522620924

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

Abi said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Abi said...

I'm a follower with google friend.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

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Simply Stacie said...

I follow.

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Anonymous said...

please count me in...thanks

karenk
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Anonymous said...

i'm a subscriber

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

traveler said...

I am captivated with this delightful and lovely novel. What a great story. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

angie said...

I would love to read this book!
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angie said...

I am a follower
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angie said...

I tweeted http://twitter.com/bangersis/status/12555598935
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donnas said...

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donnas said...

I am a follower

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donnas said...

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Anita Yancey said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds really good. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Anita Yancey said...

I follow through Google Friend Connect.

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