When people ask you what this book is about what do you tell them?
I tell them it’s about a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who took a big fall from grace and is now reduced to scrambling for a living shooting celebrities in LA as a paparazzo. When he gets hired by the producer of a sitcom to find their missing diva so they can tape the 100th episode, the trigger episode for syndication profits, my paparazzo gets pulled into a murder mystery that reunites him with his old lover and forces him to confront the mess he has made of his life.
One of the more intriguing characters is Quinn, the drama queen TV star. I’m reading it amid all the news stories about Paris, Lohan, Richie, etc., and I’m wondering if you’re basing Quinn on one person or on a composite?
Your Paris, your Lohan, your Richie, and your Britney had not become brand names for public meltdowns until I was in galley proofs. I do have a reference to “getting Lohanned” by the paparazzi, but that was back when she was the innocent being chased in her car and surrounded instead of allegedly doing some high-speed chasing of her own.
But I see in this crew of Paris-ites some striking similarities to some stars I have known or even worked with. Having said that, Bonnie Quinn is not based on an actual person, a fact that strikes glee into my attorneys. In spite of some dogged approaches by tabloids, I make it a point never to kiss and tell. It would only diminish me as well as the party in question.
Plus on a quite selfish basis, celebrities would probably avoid working with me for fear I might do the same to them. But there’s this wonderful thing called fiction. Make it up. And to help tell the story of my flawed paparazzo I made up Bonnie Quinn, a drugged-up sitcom actress, an abusive train wreck of a woman who is on the verge of complete self-destruction. Just like him.
We are all products of our experiences (write what you know, right?) and there’s no doubt my observation of various celebrities-gone-wild was absorbed as much as my observations about how shows are made, how the paparazzi get their shots, and how good love can go wrong. But Bonnie is a product of my imagination, an imagination, granted, that had plenty of manure to make it fertile. She is my Bonnie. Not to be claimed by any real-lifer.