I know where I will be this Saturday night — parked in front of my TV watching Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict based on Sue Silverman’s second memoir, Love Sick. The book is a powerful account of addiction, recovery, and ultimately, hope. While reading this work I was struck by how compelling it was to hear such a difficult story told in such beautiful language. She is a writer of extraordinary talent and I was grateful to have the chance to speak with her this week.
Love Sick follows Sue through the 28 days she spent at a clinic for female sex addicts. Interwoven with memories of the long term sexual abuse inflicted on her by her father and her desperate struggle to find love in empty (and sometimes dangerous) one-night stands and affairs, we see her painful journey towards growth and cheer her progress towards recovery.
The TV movie stars Sally Pressman, of the Lifetime series Army Wives, as Sue and also features David James Elliott from JAG.
While surfing through Sue’s author website, I was fascinated with the pictures of her on the set of the movie, so rather than talk to her about the book (there are many good interviews with her about that already) I decided to ask about what it was like to have your book turned into a film, particularly one that deals with such poignant issues.
Please join me in talking to Sue and be sure to check your local listings and catch Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict on Saturday, April 19.
Where were you with the book when you sold the rights to Lifetime? Was it already published?
Yes, the book had already been out for over a year. I was sitting at my desk one evening when I got a phone call from an independent producer in Hollywood who said she’d found a copy of Love Sick in the Los Angeles Public Library and wanted to put together a production company and make it into a movie! I said, “Yes!”
Did you have any involvement with the script?
Not really. Not in terms of writing it. However, the scriptwriter spent three days with me asking lots of questions. She wanted to get more of a sense of me, my story, than just what’s on the page. In fact, in the script, there are scenes/episodes in my life that really happened, that I’d told her about, that aren’t in the book.
What is it like seeing yourself played by someone else?
Surreal. Unnerving. But also very moving. But I haven’t seen the final movie yet. I’m basing this on what I observed visiting the set as well as from the coming attractions. From what I’ve seen so far, I think that Sally Pressman does an amazing job of capturing the “essence” of me — if that makes sense. Obviously she isn’t going to imitate me. But I feel very connected to the “me” she portrays. It’s kind of uncanny. She’s an excellent actress.
The pictures of you from the set are fabulous! What was that visit like?
Profound! Everyone on the set from the actors, to the director, to the cinematographer, to the makeup and wardrobe people were incredibly supportive of me and my story. Everyone — I mean, everyone — had read my book. Even the chauffeur who drove the van asked for an autographed copy for his girlfriend! They all said how important it was to them to make a movie I’d be proud of.
So I couldn’t have asked for more. For many scenes the director would talk to me first, asking me what my “emotion” would have been at a certain moment, so he could more clearly direct Sally. I was even asked whether I would wear a certain belt with a dress that Sally was wearing. (The answer was “no.”)
Plus, I got to have a walk-on with two words in a party scene! Very cool. I hope my big moment didn’t end up on the cutting room floor!
Are you doing something special on the night of the premiere?
Oh, lots of friends have asked if I’m going to have a premiere party. In fact, it’s just going to be with Marc (my partner) and our two cats snuggled in on the couch. That’s about all I’ll be able to handle. I’m very excited, but I’m also nervous.
Tell us something that isn’t on the official bio!
My favorite color is pink: I have pink shoes, a pink raincoat, a pink watch, and a pink leather cover for my new iPhone.
Sue William Silverman’s memoir Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction (W. W. Norton) premieres on the Lifetime Television network April 19.
Her first memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You (University of Georgia Press), won the Associated Writing Programs Award Series in creative nonfiction, and her poetry collection is Hieroglyphics in Neon (Orchises Press).
As a professional speaker, she has appeared on many nationally syndicated radio and television programs including Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, To the Contrary on PBS, a John Stossel Special on ABC, and both the U.S. and the Canadian Discovery Channels. She teaches at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Please visit her official website.