Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just Part of the Job by Holly West

I'm super happy to have the beautiful Holly West as my guest today. The two of us met on Twitter and then met in real life while attending Bouchercon in St. Louis, and I've since had the pleasure of seeing her several times in LA while attending Noir at the Bar (N@B).  She's an amazing writer with several of her short stories being published online and in anthologies, and is currently awaiting the release of the her first novel Diary of Bedlam (working title) in 2014 from Carina Press. I know that she loves a good home improvement project and that she has a great eye for design, but what I didn't know until recently is that she's an accomplished  jewelry designer. Man, the things you learn when you're stalking your friends online. *wink wink*  Holly is a wonderful person... she's full of life and adventure, kind words, warm hugs, and a smile that can brighten the darkest of days. I'm thankful to have her as a friend.

Aaaannd - after reading her guest post today I think we need to plan a Girl's Trip to Disneyland... we can be Mouseketeers together, Holly!  

Just Part of the Job

There haven’t been many of them, but of all the short stories I've written, my contribution to FEEDING KATE is my favorite.

JUST PART OF THE JOB is about a troubled young celebrity named Kate Partridge whose penchant for drugs and alcohol has caught up to her. A tabloid favorite, she’s on probation and can’t get work because the industry she grew up in is fed up with her hijinks. On her way home from a night of heavy partying, she hits a bicyclist on Malibu Canyon. Will she stick around to help him and take the heat or will she run?

Whew, boy. You don’t know the half of it.

The culture of the entertainment industry is pervasive in Los Angeles. Speaking of troubled starlets, the jewelry store where Lindsay Lohan allegedly stole a necklace is located two blocks from my house. It’s not uncommon to happen upon random film shoots and now and then we get notices that filming will be happening on our street. For ten years I lived in the same condo building as a very famous singer/songwriter and my trainer at the gym is an actress. One of our neighbors is a middling reality show producer.

My dog goes to the same veterinarian as Leonard Nimoy’s and Rick Springfield’s pets.

I could go on and on but remember, it’s not as if I’m involved in the “business.” I’m just an average Josephine trying to get her write on. That’s what I mean when I say that celebrity culture is pervasive here—it’s all around you even when you’re completely unconnected to it and not really searching for it. That said, I love a good celebrity sighting (Rick Springfield in the vet’s waiting room? I actually swooned). And obviously, I can drop names with the best of them. I visit regularly, but I draw the line at buying tabloids—somehow reading celebrity gossip online seems less shameful than reading People magazine.

Perhaps shameful is too harsh a word. But I use it because there is a vileness to the celebrity gossip industry; the hounding paparazzi coupled with the antics of attention-starved publicity whores makes for a symbiotic yet toxic combination. My participation, even if it’s only clicking on a link or two, makes me complicit in it. Still, I can’t look away.

I suppose I’ve always had a fascination with celebrity. My grandma had a regularly replenished pile of movie magazines handed down from her sister and every time I’d go to visit, I’d pour over them, mesmerized by the celebrities of the 1970s. Elizabeth Taylor stands out the most for me; back then, the tabloids documented her every move, from who she was sleeping with to how much weight she had gained or lost. By age eight I had all of her husbands memorized (well, the ones she’d had up to that point, at least).

As a kid, I wanted to be a celebrity. I was obsessed with becoming a Mouseketeer, and I absolutely convinced myself that I had what it took to be a star. I even devised a plan to get to LA to audition. I was bitterly disappointed when my parents informed me it was never gonna happen.

It seemed natural, then, that my protagonist in JUST PART OF THE JOB be a former ‘tween star who’d grown up with all the entitlements, ass-kissing, and scrutiny that such celebrity brings. These, coupled with her excessive drug and alcohol use, makes for a rather distorted take on both reality and morality and leads to what I think is a pretty damned good conclusion.

Holly West’s short fiction appears in several anthologies and her debut historical mystery will be published by Carina Press in February 2014. She lives, reads, and writes in Los Angeles, California with her husband, Mick, and dog, Stella. You can find more information about Holly at

Feeding Kate: A Crime Fiction Anthology is available from Amazon. All proceeds from Feeding Kate benefit the Lupus Foundation of America.


Sabrina E. Ogden said...

I love that your pets have the same vet as Rick Springfield. I love Rick Springfield... always have, in fact.

Wonderful post, Holly. It was nice to see that my childhood dream of being a Mouseketeer was shared by others. I can't wait to read your Diary of Bedlam and to see you in person for a signature and a hug. Love you, my friend.

Steve Weddle said...

Love the story. Pretty much the perfect idea for it, too.
Looking forward to the pub of WORKING TITLE HERE from you and Carina.

Holly West said...

Thanks for posting this, Sabrina! This was a fun story to write and like I said, I'm very proud of it.

And yeah, Rick Springfield. I can feel those "Magnificent Vibrations" already. ;-)