Guest Author Ellen Meister

Guest Author Ellen Meister

I have something to confess:I do not get George Clooney.

I mean, 1) yes, I do not get him delivered daily to my door, but also 2) that’s fine by me.

This makes me feel like a total outsider to my culture. It’s like when I was in high school and everyone had Tom Cruise pasted inside their locker door and I really did not get him either.

While we’re at it, I guess I’d better admit, I don’t get Brad Pitt either.

So. Now that I have completely ostracized myself from my own culture and especially my own sex, can you tell me, are there any mass phenomena like that that make YOU feel completely disconnected from the rest of the world? Here’s your chance to mention, “Well, yes, Laura, as a matter of fact, I don’t like chocolate, and your obsession with it is really rubbing my weirdness in.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with not liking chocolate! The “weird” just slipped out. I PREFER friends who don’t like chocolate, really. I’ve just never found any.

Anyway. While I may not understand the general interest in George Clooney, I can certainly understand what he represents in our Guest Author Ellen Meister‘s book Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, newly released in trade paperback.

Here’s what it’s about:

When a Hollywood location scout comes to Applewood, Long Island, and announces that the local elementary school might make the perfect backdrop for an upcoming George Clooney movie, the PTA’s decorum crumbles like a cookie from last week’s bake sale.

Enter Maddie, Ruth, and Lisa, three women who become the glue that holds the project together, forging a bond of friendship stronger than anyone could imagine. And not a moment too soon, as marriage woes, old flames, and scandalously embarrassing family members threaten to tear each of them apart. Is their powerful alliance strong enough to overcome the obstacles to getting the movie made in their town? And will their friendship be enough to mend their hearts and homes? Join them as they reach for the stars . . . and try to pull off a Hollywood ending of their own.

At once tender and hilarious, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA is a captivating story that turns suburbia upside down . . . with more humor, heartache, and heat than one PTA can hold.

Doesn’t that sound like such a great book? Here’s the cover. I LOVE this cover. School and the temptation of George Clooney all expertly represented in that one little apple.


Here are a few selected tidbits of the oodles of praise it has garnered:

“Meister’s debut novel is heartbreakingly funny, her characters facing life’s dramas and disappointments head on with wit and spunk.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“Ellen Meister has written a beautiful book about love, life and friendship that you are sure to never forget.” – Fresh Fiction

“With sexy characters, sharp dialogue, and snappy pacing, Meister’s sassy, saucy debut novel could well turn into a movie of its own.” – Booklist

“Three conflicted housewives in Applewood, Long Island, long for something more fulfilling than what their families and their membership in the local PTA offer…. helping each other realize their dreams. Comical yet poignant.” – Kirkus Reviews

Now here’s Ellen Meister herself, answering some hard-hitting questions from yours truly.

Laura: Do you know what kind of chocolate your main character eats? If not, how else did you manage to get a good feel for this character?

Ellen: There are three main characters in SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA. I’ve never considered what kind of chocolate they eat, but let’s give it a shot …

Maddie, who’s conflicted about her marriage and career, would probably vacillate between light and dark chocolate, depending on her mood.

Ruth, who’s rich and showy but also quite sensual, would have taste for dark, sophisticated Godiva truffles.

Lisa, who never wants to be noticed, would politely accept whatever you gave her. But in her secret heart she has a taste for the gooey-sweet commercial candy of her not-very-sweet childhood.

Laura: You…NEVER THOUGHT…about what chocolate your characters eat. I…I…I….okay, you made a good recover, I have to admit. Now they sound absolutely fascinating! So, when you need to take a break from writing, clear your head, and get the creative juices flowing again, whether for half an hour in the day or for longer periods, what do you do? I’m assuming NOT go eat chocolate with the excuse that it’s research to get into your characters? Not that I do that, of course. I’m just…throwing that out there.

Ellen: I honestly find that it really doesn’t matter WHAT I do, as long as I take a break. The subconscious is such a powerful force that you sometimes need to walk away and let it take over and solve your creative problems. Stephen King calls it letting his “boys in the basement” do the work. Mine feels more like girls in the attic, but you get the idea.

Laura: Is it true that you sent George Clooney a signed copy of your book? If so, why?

Ellen: SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA was originally titled George Clooney is Coming to Applewood. Alas, I wasn’t able to get his permission to use his name in the title. However, he still appears IN the book. So when I got my author’s copies hot off the press, the first thing I did was sign one and send it to him. Here’s what it said:

Dear George,

This book just might put you on the map.

You’re welcome.

Ellen Meister

I’m still waiting for a thank you!

Laura: Well. SURELY he is grateful. The release of your hardback IS about the time he rose to fame, right? Err…more fame? I made Paris famous, too, by the way, but it hasn’t thanked me yet, either. Writing is ungrateful work, that way.Thanks for coming on, Ellen! The book sounds wonderful.

  • I made Paris famous, too, by the way, but it hasn’t thanked me yet, either

    Ha! I think Paris is getting peer pressure from Brussells to ignore you. I think they’re both jealous because Munich’s got a crush on you.

    Thanks for the blog, Laura! You’re a pisser.


    August 6, 2007 at 8:33 am
  • This book sounds awesome!

    I do enjoy Clooney, although not obsessively so, but I *really* don’t get the Brad Pitt thing. At all. I do, however, have a bit of a thing for Andy Garcia 🙂

    And Laura, I’ll have you know that I broke out (milk) chocolate (from Switzerland) just to enjoy this post. It worked. I mean, you and Ms Meister had big roles in that too, but I can’t underestimate the power of the chocolate either.

    Ah, and if you have a moment, I’m hosting my very first blog contest–it involves cute bags!!!

    I should really go now so my girls in the attic can work their magic–they tend to go on strike a lot. I think it’s an Italian thing.

    August 6, 2007 at 9:42 am
  • That book sounds like so much fun! Add one more to my list.

    And I don’t get George or Tome either. Most of the time I don’t get Brad either, but, as opposed to the other two, I might get it if he actually WAS delivered to my door.

    Ok, I’ve got many weirdnesses, very few of them secret. BUT since we’re on the subject of chocolate AGAIN, I’ll reveal that I have a candy incentive bowl next to my computer. Not weird by itself, but there’s no chocolate inside. Correction, there are now 2 miniature peanut butter cups in the bottom (chocolate and peanut butter rock, especially in ice cream, but I digress . . .), but what fills that jar are individually wrapped sour punch straws. While I like chocolate, I’ll usually take sour or tart candies first. Ok, now I have to go write so I can eat one.

    August 6, 2007 at 9:45 am
  • I get the George thing, but I never got the Tom thing and don’t get the Brad thing at all.

    I also don’t get why everyone in the world believes they need an iPod, and now those phone thingies. iPhone? iPodPhone? I can’t even remember what they’re called, never mind what they do or why I should want one.

    Maybe if I had one I’d understand? But since my list of things I’d rather spend that amount of money on is nearly endless, I don’t suppose I’ll find out. I’m really not that broken up about that. 🙂

    August 6, 2007 at 2:36 pm
  • Oh my gosh. Just when I thought your interviewing skills had gotten to their greatest you dig a little deeper and get to what really matters the most! This book sounds amazing and I can see it being a movie as well as a broadway play!
    Those Hollywood men can’t hold a can’t hold a BOUGIE (oh that cannot be right) to the rest of the men out there! I was hoping for lumiere when I babelfished that one…

    August 6, 2007 at 5:25 pm
  • Those bags look cute, Sognatrice! That designer has lots of talent. And breaking out chocolate when you read my blog is fine by me. I think it might be becoming an obligation, even. Click on my blog, open chocolate at same time. If so…I have done some good in the world.

    Michelle, I hope everything is fine on your end! I knew somebody had to like those tart candies. Now I know who. 🙂 How much do you have to write to get a piece of candy? If you’re completely blocked, do you allow yourself some candy anyway for encouragement? I find chocolate can really get the creative juices flowing.

    DebR, I confess, I have several iPods. But it’s because I teach at Duke and have been one of the people doing all that iPod stuff that keeps getting Duke in the news. They’re very useful in a language classroom, I promise! Especially the video ones. Also not bad on long car trips, if you have the iTrip or variant. Alas, I don’t know about the iPhones. Except they seem outrageously priced to me.

    Bougie is the word, Phyllis. But it’s pronounced with a soft g (like the S in the middle of pleasure), so it doesn’t sound as bad as it looks. You are right about Hollywood men; I think more often they just get people confused and unable to spot the real catches around them. As Hollywood women do the men.

    It WOULD be a good movie, Ellen. Phyllis is right about that! I hope your film agent is shopping it enthusiastically. Maybe then you GC could play a cameo, and you could get him to come to town. 🙂

    August 6, 2007 at 6:27 pm
  • I can wait to see the moovie may be I will read the book before beacuse it sounds so amzing . Thank you for sharing that with us.

    August 7, 2007 at 6:06 am
  • hullo, I’m following Ellen on her cybertour, just for (procrastinating) fun! I am now on my second cup of coffee…

    I “get” George, though I’ve never “had” him. Well, not literally. But if all you gels want me to do a little research in the interest of literature…

    (Ellen does have a pic of her with George, tho! LOL)

    August 7, 2007 at 9:53 am
  • Out of curiosity, Laura, whom do you get? Are there any Hollywood dudes who carbonate your hormones, or are you just not at all interested in unattainable men? Me, I suppose they make for nice-ish eye candy, but fame = license to behave badly, so I tend to look at them and think, “Meh. Bet he’s a jerk.”

    What makes me weird is: I don’t really like dogs. I know, they’re good people, and it really chaps my hide when people don’t give their dogs the respect they deserve, and I can see the appeal of unconditional love and unlimited comedic potential, but I’ve never wanted to have one. I dunno, maybe I’m wired wrong.

    August 7, 2007 at 6:10 pm
  • Ha! Love the inscription in the George Clooney copy. I hope you get that thank you, Ellen!

    August 8, 2007 at 11:57 am

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