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
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
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
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
TMZ.com regularly, but I draw the line at buying tabloids—somehow reading
celebrity gossip online seems less shameful than reading People
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 HollyWest.com.
Feeding Kate: A Crime Fiction Anthology is available from Amazon. All proceeds from Feeding Kate benefit the Lupus Foundation of America.