Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Guilty Pleasures and Maggie Marr

Okay, so let’s take a brief reprieve from politics (of course it’ll be brief… I won’t make promises I can’t keep!) and get on my guilty pleasure topic: Hollywood gossip.

I don’t have many guilty pleasures in life, mostly because I’ve come to think that if you’re going to feel guilty about doing something, it takes away half the fun, so do it wholeheartedly or don’t do it all. Or try not to anyway.

Not so Hollywood gossip. It’s certainly a pleasure, and yes, it is sinfully, double-Oreo-brownie-a-la-mode guilty.

Here’s a typical scenario: me, standing in the grocery store check out aisle, clutching a carton of milk and the latest Marie-Claire, trying to look away. But I can’t. I sneak a peak. Brittany has a bump. Jen has found true love – for real this time. Nicole has gained a pound. Suddenly it becomes too much to bear. I tell myself there are still two people ahead of me in line… if I pick one and speed read I’ll manage to take all the crucial info in, no need to waste my money on this brain crack. I know they are lying to me. I know it’s all padding. I know those headlines are exaggerated… but I can’t help it. I am weak. Just when it’s my turn to pay I grab the In Touch staring me in the face (does it snicker at me? Does it know it won?) and fork over three dollars I’ll never see again. Score: Hollywood gossip: one, me: zilch. And so it goes.

Meet Maggie Marr, an author who’s managed to take our obsession with juicy Hollywood insider info and turn it into a novel praised by chick lit royalty Sarah Mlynowski (“Move over Jackie Collins! Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club is a steamy page-turner bursting with insider Hollywood gossip. I loved it!") and Marian Keyes (“This is a juicy, delicious read! I just loved the insider secrets and the access to what really goes on in Hollywood—the stuff we suspect happens but is always denied by scary publicists").

Who is Maggie Marr, you ask? A bitter ex-assistant looking to do some damage in roman a clef mode? Not quite. Maggie has earned her Hollywood cred as an LA motion picture literary agent, where she’s worked with the likes of Owen Wilson, Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher (eek!), and Reese Witherspoon. And get this… she used to be a lawyer before become an agent and an author, so you just know this is going to be a smart read.

Secrets of the Hollywood Girls Club is the follow-up to Hollywood Girls Club where A-list friends Jessica, Celeste, Lydia and Mary-Anne attempt to beat the plastic-surgery/secret affaires/sex tapes rumor mill to keep hold on to the spot at the top.

Without further ado, here’ s the scoop from Maggie.

Who’s your favorite Hollywood heartthrob?

It's a three way tie...Brad Pit, George Clooney, and Daniel Craig...oh wait… did I mention Mark Wahlberg?

Name three authors at the top of your “to watch” list.

Okay so this list changes all the time! But I have to say..I love Carl Hiaasen. Adore him. I think he's a brilliant writer. His characters are quirky and fun and I always enjoy reading his books. Next...right now...I'd say Janet Evanovich. I just recently discovered the Plum series. I love the pace of Janet's books. How the stories keep moving. And I love the character Stephanie Plum. Jennifer Weiner. I just finished Certain Girls and although I'm a little up and down on this book, I think more because of my memories of Good In Bed than Jennifer's story choices, Jennifer's writing is brilliant and she continues to get better as a writer. So of course, I am always interested in the stories she's telling.

Which book do you wish you’d written?

Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? Do you have a writing routine you stick to or a special writing space that brings out your creativity?

Let’s see. I love the mornings. I love to be at my computer by 7:30 or 8 am to get started. I have a goal of one chapter a day which for me is about 10 pages. Some days I make it, other days I don’t. But when I’m working on the first draft, whizzing along, I try for ten pages. I work in the morning until noonish and then I take a break and have lunch with my girls. I put them down for nap and write another two hours, from two to four. Usually I’m pretty shot by four pm. I might read or edit in the evening once the girls are in bed, but I don’t usually get much writing accomplished.

Do you have an agent, if so, can you tell us the story behind meeting and signing with her?

Prior to becoming a full time writer, I was a motion picture agent for ICM. I worked full time repping writers and directors. So Hollywood is my home. I started hearing a character voice in my head and late at night when I couldn’t sleep or on the weekends, I would write down the story I was told. This story became the first draft of my first book Hollywood Girls Club. Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club is the second book in the series and a continuation of the lives of these four fabulous women who live and work in Hollywood.

So while I was agenting, I wrote for fun, in my spare time. It was my husband who convinced me to give four chapters to my friend and colleague (and now agent) at ICM. I gave her four chapters without my name on them, guessing she’d pass and then I could go on about my life repping my screenplay writer and directing clients. But instead she loved it. I finished the manuscript and when she took it out, there were two houses that wanted the book…so I ended up going with Crown. And suddenly, I was a writer.

So… What up next for you?

I just turned in a draft of a television pilot that I'm developing. I also finished the first draft of my third book, a stand alone women's fiction book, unrelated to the Hollywood Girls Club Series. Once I have the women's fiction book complete, I plan on finishing a screenplay I've been writing of and on for a while.

What has being published changed about your life?

I have a whole lot more work! There is the writing, plus the business of being a published writer. I'm always trying to get the word out about the books. Trying to let people know what a fun read they are. The promotion of the books, takes a ton of time. But I can't complain, my life, is truly blessed.

Thanks so much Maggie!

1 comment:

Marilyn Brant said...

You know, even though I got to host Maggie on my blog, too, it was still so fun to read her answers to your questions, Nadine! Her author picks are great--I love Carl H., Janet E. and Jennifer W., as well... Who are some of your faves these days?