Saturday, January 18, 2014

Top Ten Reasons: #8

For a very limited time, Amazon's offering The Mountains Bow Down for $2.99. After that, the price shoots back up to about ten bucks (don't blame me, I don't set these prices).

In honor of this ten-day special, I'm posting my Top Ten Reasons for writing this Raleigh Harmon mystery set aboard a cruise ship to Alaska.

You can read about reasons #9 and #10

Today is Reason # 8:

                              MOVIE STARS

Some actors have my undying admiration. I can name three of them right off the top of my head: Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood and Tom Selleck, who is perfection personified in those Jesse Stone TV movies. 

But too many actors use scandal to build entire careers. Serial divorces, trips to rehab, drunk-and-disorderly behavior--it gets their name into the papers. And, like a lot of people, I'm sick of the meaningless "news" about insecure narcissists whose f-bombing mouths have nothing interesting to say. And please, don't get me started on their politics.


Among the greatest pleasures of writing novels is the ample opportunity to channel annoyances into character portraits. Which is why The Mountains Bow Down brims with Hollywood people--from actors and producers to bodyguards and hangers-on. 

Inspiration was always close at hand. As a reporter I wrote a lot of celebrity profiles, including one about an actress *cough-photo* who tried to get me fired because the story wasn't flattering. Unfortunately for her cause, the story was accurate.

When Raleigh Harmon's forced to work among preening "beautiful people," her threshold for baloney is higher than mine. But not much. 

Here's an excerpt from The Mountains Bow Down. Raleigh is trying to interview the Hollywood people about a movie producer who was discovered dead that morning:

     The thin woman who answered the door to the ship's penthouse had a pile of platinum hair. Her name was Larrah Sparks and her bikini was so small it could've belonged to the real Barbie, whom Mrs. Sparks closely resembled.
     I showed my FBI credentials, reminding the producer's wife.
     "Huh," she said. "Is this something with the movie?"
     "Did I ever tell you I did two movies that had FBI agents in them?"
     Three times. "Yes, you did."
     "None of the agents was female," she continued, once more. "If I'd played the agent we would've made money."
     I gave my official smile, an expression Quantico issued on graduation day. "Is Mr. Sparks available?"
     "You know how to spell my name, right?" She spelled it. "Rhymes with 'Harrah.'"
     "Got it." Larrah-Harrah. Scarrah. 

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Love this. I get turned off by Hollywood "attitudes," too. I loved Raleigh's cool in this book: "I'm here to do my job, no--I'm impressed or awed by you--let's get back to the point." :-) She's just so unruffled around the "big names" & focuses in on their humanity underneath their blinding public personas. It really showed the contrast between their public & private lives--sometimes very sad, and it was very fascinating reading!! You always add so many layers to your books (besides just the mystery) that I *love* reading them! :-)