Is Girl So Hollywood autobiographical?
Not at all, but I get this question so much, it’s funny! Since graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Communications I’ve held a series of very demanding jobs in government, nonprofit and education. I mean I had fun and enjoyed myself, but I didn’t have time to travel the world in the fast lane!
Where did you get the idea for the book?
For much of her 20s my younger sister worked in L.A.’s hottest nightclubs and restaurants. Being in those environment she met and knew the city’s most interesting characters. I loved for her to tell me their stories and I got the idea for Girl So Hollywood after hearing the story of a guy who owned a popular lifestyle magazine and used that as a cover for his drug empire. The photoshoots in the Netherlands were actually drug pickups and his models were really drug mules.
This got me thinking about those young women a lot. And like most writers, I immediately started to ask myself questions. Why would a young girl in her 20s get involved in something like that? How does it work? What does she get out of it? And that’s how the idea for Girl So Hollywood manifested.
Why did you write Girl So Hollywood?
I moved to LA when I was 23, and over the years I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people. Now that I’m in my late 30s one of the things I find most sad about this city is a lot of people got caught up having fun. What I mean by that is LA is a city where it is possible to go to a party every night. In your first week in LA, it is entirely possible to find yourself doing shots of tequila with a celebrity at a house party in the Hollywood Hills. While that’s fun, and that’s great it is super easy not to do the work. And by the work I mean develop yourself professionally, financially and spiritually.
So I wrote this book as a cautionary tale for young women. Today, there are so many distractions. I hear about kids who think school isn’t important because they want to be Youtube celebrities, or Instagram models, or they think being a stripper is glamorous because of what the media has portrayed. And I wanted to provide an alternative and more realistic portrayal of the roads life can take you down when you don’t stay focused on doing the work.
How long did it take you to write the book?
That’s a hard question to answer only because I had the idea for the book in my 20s and didn’t finish it until I was 36. Obviously, I wasn’t writing the entire time and I threw out several iterations of the novel. In the end, I’d say it took about a year from a very, very rough manuscript to a polished draft with the help of my editor.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Years ago I casually knew someone with the name of my main character, Kimber. The other ones came to me at different points, but most of the characters went through a series of names before ending up with what is in the novel.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe that sometimes creative ideas take time to manifest. However, once they come I don’t believe in writer’s block. Once there’s a glimmer of an idea then it’s time to get to work. Not that I am great at abiding by them, but I believe in writing schedules, meeting word counts and timed writing for maximum output.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a multicultural, young adult fantasy novel. I’m pretty excited about it. It is very different from Girl So Hollywood but fantasy is a genre I’m really into, so I’m having fun doing that.
I’m also taking writing classes through Harvard University’s Extension School, and working on some cool short stories that I hope to get published.