Saturday, October 13, 2007

Guest Blogger: Alison Gaylin

The Working Stiffs are excited to welcome Alison Gaylin, author of TRASHED, as our guest blogger. Alison is a journalist who has covered the arts and entertainment for more than fifteen years. Her first novel, HIDE YOUR EYES, debuted in March, 2005 with nearly a quarter of a million copies in print and was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award for a first novel. The sequel, YOU KILL ME, was published in 2006 to rave reviews. Find out more about Alison at her website.

Recently, I was speaking to a library book club about my new book TRASHED. They were a very intelligent group of women, and they’d all read the book – about a young supermarket tabloid reporter who uncovers a grisly series of Hollywood murders. I was told they really enjoyed it, and they had a lot of questions for me -- so I kept the talk pretty brief, then asked if there was anything they wanted to know.

Several hands went up. Yay! They must be really interested in the book, I thought… until I called on one of the women who asked, “What’s the deal with Tom Cruise?”

Pretty much all the questions were like that: “You think Lindsay will stay sober?” “Is it true that Brad still talks to Jen?” “What’s the deal with Pamela Anderson marrying the sex tape guy?” until the conversation devolved into a discussion of Pamela’s breasts, and why on earth do so many women in Hollywood get boob jobs when they look just fine to begin with… Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “Hmmm… I wonder if Michael Connelly ever had to field boob job questions.”

But this is what I get for having a day job at a celebrity gossip magazine.

Everybody says they couldn’t care less what’s been going on in the lives of Britney, Lindsay, Brad and Angelina, but secretly they do. They really, really do. It’s why In Touch, where I serve as articles editor, has a circulation of over a million. It’s why, when I tell people what pays my health insurance, the fact I write crime fiction is comparatively boring – even if it is crime fiction about celebrities.

The interesting thing is, the stars that sell the most In Touch covers – the ones people want to know the most about – they’re usually not the ones who are topping the box office charts (Brad Pitt accepted) or winning Grammys or Academy Awards. The celebrities who sell magazines are the ones who behave badly – who drink too much or cheat on their wives or drive on the wrong side of the freeway at three in the morning. The ones who prove that, no matter how great you look or how much money you have, you can screw things up just as royally as the next guy.

We used to put celebrities on pedestals – they were larger-than-life creatures we fantasized about dating or being. Now, they’re under microscopes – I can’t recall the last time we ran a flattering picture of Britney Spears, never mind those magazines that will take a telephoto lens to some poor actress’s butt and put the photo on a cover that reads, CELULITE HALL OF SHAME! Celebrities seem to exist to make us feel better about ourselves. (Hey, so I lost my job and my house has plummeted in value -- at least that isn’t my ass on the cover of the Enquirer!)

Funny, when I was a kid, I used to daydream about being a movie star – walking the red carpet at a glamorous premiere, fans screaming my name, thousands of flashbulbs popping. But if things keep going the way they are, I doubt my six-year-old daughter will dream similarly. These days, she wants to be a teacher because “it’s always someone’s birthday, so teachers get to have cupcakes almost all the time.”

Now that is something to daydream about….
PS. I wouldn’t be a very good gossip writer if I didn’t leave you with a blind item, so here goes: This hunky star’s killer smell made more of a lasting impression than his killer smile – when, during a wild party weekend, he forgot to bathe or change clothes for days. Can anybody guess who?

18 comments:

Tory said...

Welcome to Working Stiffs, Alison!

I'm afraid I can't guess which hunky star smells. Come to think of it, the only male star I remember from the supermarket is Brad Pitt. And I'm pretty sure it's not Elvis!

Are you going to tell us at the end of the day?

Annette said...

Welcome, Alison!

I haven't a clue as to the smelly hunk. And, like Tory, I hope you'll solve this mystery for us by the end of the day if someone doesn't guess it first.

ramona said...

Hi, Alison! Your job sounds like great fun, but I think your daughter is a genius. Cupcakes every day. Name a better goal that than one.

My guess for the stinky star is Matthew McConna-doohickey. (Never can get that name right. Same goes for Jake Gil-en-whatever.) I know MM is supposed to be this hot sexy dude, but to me, he looks like he needs a flea dip.

Great blog! But now I'm going to power walk and then do a bunch of pulse squats, because the words Cellulite Hall of Shame will haunt me.

Lee Lofland said...

Hi Alison. Great blog.

I know how you feel. When I speak, I rarely get questions about my book, TV and radio appearances, or even about my articles. Everyone wants to know about murder scenes and about the famous/infamous people I've arrested. But, now that I think about it, a couple of them did exude some pretty offensive odors. Hmmm...


Hey, have you seen your book on this list?

http://www.mysterylovers.com/books/bestsellers/#trade

Kristine said...

Welcome, Alison! Thank you so much for stopping by.

I have no idea who the "killer smell" celebrity could be, but I hope you'll tell us!

AlisonGaylin said...

Hi everybody! Thanks so much for the nice welcome -- and the link, Lee, I had no idea! (for the record, I think your job is way more interesting than mine. And your book is terrific!) Tory, Brad is actually a very good guess as he was said to have had a bit of an odor issue back during his Kalifornia/Juliet Lewis period. (actors...) RAMONA! You got it! It's Matthew (or Matteo, as he likes to call himself after three straight days of partying in Cancun.) You know, I think I gave a blind item at lipstick chronicles and you guessed that one too! Foiled by Ramona again. Okay.. Since the day is young, here's one more. This diva once had staffers put a whole new toilet into her HOTEL ROOM because the other one looked "used." Guess away...

ramona said...

Alison, I'm actually a little disturbed that I knew both of those blind items. The "used" toilet one--no clue. Whew!

Lee Lofland said...

I'm guessing either Madonna, Mariah Carey, or Barbara Streisand. I think I've heard they each have issues with hotel toilets. Then again Cher could be included in this group, too. Or is she just hung up on certain colors of M&Ms?

Alison, thanks for the comment about my book. Have you seen a finished product, or just the manuscript?

Annette said...

OK, I'm gonna take a stab at the toilet one. How about Jennifer Lopez? She seems like serious diva material to me.

Kristine said...

That's a bummer about "Matteo." I think he's sexy, but the whole not showering thing is a bit disturbing. Yuck. I like my men clean.

Wow, the diva could be just about anybody. Madonna seems like a good guess. Hm. How about Oprah?

AlisonGaylin said...

Lee -- I saw the finished product, and not only is it a terrific read, it's also a great research tool! Ramona, being able to guess blind items is actually an impressive skill. I bet you can usually guess "whodunnit" when you're reading mysteries -- am I right? Kristine, if it makes you feel any better about Matteo, it was just during a long, hard-partying weekend in Cancun. But I do understand locals gave him a very wide berth. ANNETTE guessed it! It was JLo. So here we have one star who is (or used to be) germphobic. And one who SHOULD be. You guys are too good at blind items! Anybody have any questions?

ramona said...

Hmmm, Alison, I am job hunting, with little success. Maybe I should add "ability to guess blind items" to my resume!

BTW, will you be adding to the Samantha series anytime soon? She is fun, and Detective Krull is a hunk--and not a smelly one.

Annette said...

Yippee! I got one!

Wait a minute. Why am I so excited? I've obviously been watching too much ET and The Insider.

AlisonGaylin said...

Annette -- be proud! You and Ramona have a marketable skill.:) Ramona, thanks for asking about Sam and John. The book I'm working on now, HEARTLESS, is another standalone. But I have another Sam/John idea that I'd (hopefully) like to use for the next book, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please do check out Simone's sometimes stinky exploits in TRASHED...

Tory said...

I have to admit, the "Matteo" news is not a disappointment to me. There's something about him that's always screamed, "Serious Narcissist" to me.

Tory said...

And yes, it is gratifying to feel superior to JLo about SOMETHING.

AlisonGaylin said...

Tory, there's some great footage of Matteo, hopping around on a beach, shirtless with two palmfronds he seems to think will work as wings. It screams... something, that's for sure! Oh, and if you want to feel superior to J.Lo, all you have to do is watch Gigli. So great seeing all of you -- this was fun!

Nancy said...

There are not enough cupcakes in the world to get me back to teaching. And I'm a big fan of cupcakes, Alison. Tell your daughter for me, will you??