A few days ago, the Remainders 4-Ever bookstore hosted a celebrity authors panel, bringing together 5 diverse women to discuss their recently published works and the mysteries of the writing process. The following is a transcript of the lively conversation.
Moderator: Welcome, ladies. First of all, the hot burning question on everyone's mind: you have all achieved a level of fame and/or notoriety in our popular culture to the degree that you belong to the pantheon of stars known by a single name. So why go into writing, a traditionally solitary pursuit conducted outside of the spotlight?
Tyra: It's all about the brand.
Moderator: The brand?
Tyra: Yes, the Brand. My brand. Expanding the brand into new markets. Look, I'm a model, a reality-TV show star, a successful entrepreneur. But that leaves a lot of world still to be conquered. The YA market is booming. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to expand my empire. Model Land, my YA novel, is the result.
Hilary: (after consulting with a pale woman sitting behind her) I am so down with that.
Moderator: May I ask, Hilary, who is that person sitting behind you?
Hilary: What person?
Moderator: The woman sitting behind you.
Hilary: There's a person sitting behind me? (looks furtively) Oh, that person. That's just Elise.
Hilary: All right, I confess. She's my ghost speaker.
Moderator: Don't you mean 'ghostwriter?'
Hilary: Well, that, too.
Moderator: So you are willing to admit that you didn't write your young adult novel, Elixir?
Hilary: (whispering with Elise) Well, I'm a horrible speller. I can't spell a lick. When we were working on the title, I was sure it was spelled 'h-e-l-i-c-k-s-h-e-r.'
Moderator: Have you ever heard of the spellcheck feature in your word processing program?
Hilary: (whispering with Elise) Well, sure, that's a tremendous help. But I'm a little weak on the keyboarding as well. (giggles) But I can text. I'm all thumbs! (whispers with Elise) Look, I had an idea and she fleshed it out. Like, totally. She's an awesome writer.
Moderator: But that's your name on the cover.
Hilary: Well, like Tyra said, I've got the brand. Actress, singer, perfume designer, I mean, people know my name. Teens and tweens know my name. I sell.
Moderator: So, in other words, if the novel had been published under Elise's name, it wouldn't have sold? On its own merits?
Hilary: (whispering to Elise, who begins to weep silently) Whatever...
Moderator: Snooki, let me ask you, was your brand on your mind when you wrote A Shore Thing?
Moderator: Your brand? Was it on your mind?
Snooki: No, I was thinking about a nice juiced hot tanned guido.
Moderator: So A Shore Thing, which you must admit, did not sell very well considering all the publicity surrounding it's publication, so it was a roman a clef?
Snooki: Huh? What the #$%!&*$% are you sayin'?
Moderator: Roman a clef. It's a literary... thing.
Snooki: Yo, I don't read books. I don't write books. But I can sign my name on the back of a check. And that's what school's done for me. Cursive writing in the 3rd grade got me where I am today.
Tyra: Now see, this is what I'm talking about. You think I was gonna hold back from expanding my brand when an empty-headed, fake-ass tanorexic like that is getting a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster? I am absolutely more fabulous-than-thou, fierce as they come, and my tan is real. I have a bod for sin and a brain for business.
Moderator: Isn't that a line from some movie?
Tyra: Do I look like I care, honey? Do you think that these tweens and teens really care? I mean, they ate up that crap that Stephenie Meyer was serving. I mean, that crap was like Uncle Ben's Instant is to real Rice. That's a joke, get it? See I know my literary stuff, too. Anne Rice? Interview with the frickin' Vampire?
Moderator: Yes, well, moving on to you, Nicole. In your memoir - er - novel, The Thing About Diamonds, the plot centers around Chloe, a beautiful girl adopted by a famous singer who grows up in the hard-partying world of Hollywood night clubs. So, where did you get your ideas?
Nicole: (giggling) You know what they say, write about what you know.
Moderator: Paris, in your book Confessions of an Heiress, did you follow that advice as well?
Paris: I don't listen to a word Miss Thing says anymore.
Moderator: Well, it's not Nicole's advice. It's advice given to writers just...
Lauren: Look, you know, it's all about the fame.
Moderator: Hmmm, isn't that one of Lady Gaga's--
Lauren: Oh, please, who's original anymore? I've been on two, that's right, Snooki, two reality-TV shows. And it's the name that counts. Didn't you see that video of the two guidettes who actually bought Spray-tan's book? They told the reporter they weren't even planning to read the thing. They just wanted it cuz of the name attached.
Tyra: Fame is the name of the game.
Moderator: (audible sigh) More plagiarism. Don't you ladies have any original thoughts in your brains?
Hilary: (as Elise whispers in her ear) All my thoughts are original.
Tyra: Honey, originality is highly over-rated. Why do you think every other book in the store is a flippin' paranormal romance right now? They want more where that came from. They want to know who else you're like ...not if you have an original voice.
Snooki: (being restrained from commiting a violent act by a security guard) Well, ain't no one like me! I am the original guidette!
Moderator: (wiping brow) Thank god for small favors.
Tyra: Don't believe it. She's a dime a dozen. That's the problem. Too many bubble-heads with brands.
Snooki: (being hauled away by security guard) Look b*%$^!h, I'm gonna use my brand for good. After I run for president, I would get $h!t done in this country. The economy would rise, everyone would be tan, and all the radios would play house music.
Moderator: That's really all the discussion that we have time for... time to sell and sign!
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