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:
This book just might put you on the map.
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.