Author Guest Post
The Audrey Hepburn Journal
I’ve mentioned in interviews that it took me a while to get the courage to write. Oh, I wrote; but I didn’t allow myself to think of publishing. Because I didn’t trust myself to go ahead with it, I actually did myself a favor. I stumbled blindly into the Audrey Hepburn zone.
Several years ago I was given a journal with the actress dressed as “Holly Golightly” on the cover. Breakfast at Tiffany's has always been a favorite movie of mine, and I adore Audrey. There’s something magical about her; she managed to be both pixie and regal princess at the same time. Now, I think of her as my own personal pixie muse.
Every time I tried to write with the intent of publishing, I would tense up. Any time I approached the keyboard, my heart would race. Sound dramatic and somewhat ridiculous? Welcome to my world. I can be emotional and dramatic, which can lead to great passion or great ridiculousness. My problem was that I respected some writers so much that I couldn’t imagine joining their company.
Writing in this journal gave me permission to collect my thoughts, literally and figuratively. I didn’t rush myself. Sprinkled with Audrey’s pixie dust, I spent several years collecting inspiration in this journal and practicing my craft. It is now torn, tattered and full of some of the funniest lunacy you’ll ever find.
Writers need inspiration. Everyone finds it in different places. I’ve heard that Anne Tyler rarely leaves her house, supposedly stating that she has all of the inspiration she needs from her own imagination. On the other side of the coin, bars at storied hotels seem to go hand in hand with some writers and artists. I read that Truman Capote used to sit at the bar of the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans just to talk to tourists and collect inspiration. It inspired him, and probably his 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany's. I’ve taken a page from Mr. Capote, pun intended, and gathered inspiration through life and it has all ended up in that journal.
I can’t take people I personally know and turn them into a character; it hinders my creativity to do that. I get completely blocked. I garner inspiration through a conversation I might have with someone, watching a couple interact in a bar, the outfit someone chose to wear or just a simple mannerism. Any and all of it can turn into a plot for me. Many things inspire me; I can write a story in my head just listening to music. That’s my excuse for loving to hang at jazz and blues bars in New Orleans and Memphis. But nothing, absolutely nothing gets my imagination flowing quite like insanity...insanity of the good kind, the funny kind.
Whenever I go out with friends, sit in an airport, whatever...I can always find the weird, the insane, the different or hilarious. Family and friends now have a code for anything strange happening around me; they simply look at me and say, “Audrey Hepburn?” I spend a good deal of time observing. That’s part of my writing process. It may not look like I’m working, but I am. I’m watching, looking for inspiration. When I return home, I get together with Audrey. Not at Tiffany’s, but usually at my kitchen table and take notes. If you read it, you would say that none of this shows up verbatim in anything I’ve written. No, it doesn’t but it was probably the catalyst for my imagination to go off on a flight of fancy.
When travelling, my family used to play a game in airports. We would spot interesting looking people and decide where they were flying and make up some funny story to go along with it. In essence, I do a bit of that in my journal. However, some of it just writes itself.
Exhibit A: When I was working as a reporter, I covered local politics at a town that shall remain nameless. The mayor phoned me about an upcoming election and decided to interject, apropos to nothing, that he was in his car and had a trunk full of vodka. He was also having a drink...as he drove. It was 10 AM. Mr. Mayor, meet my friend Ms. Hepburn.
Exhibit B: I have a friend whose first and only date with a guy was going to a park, where he grilled pork chops and played the banjo for her. No, this wasn’t in Mayberry; it was in a large city. Passersby were gawking at the banjo serenade, and he was stunned that she wouldn’t go out with him again. Mr. Banjo Player, meet Audrey.
Exhibit C: I was the recipient of being hit on by a married man at the Memphis Peabody lobby bar. I was there with a friend, minding my own business. Married boy’s opening line? “My wife isn’t very good looking; she has a huge nose.” I was struck dumb by this, but my friend wasn’t. She responded, “Your wife is probably at another bar right now saying the same thing about you.” He was undeterred. Mr. Philanderer, meet Holly Golightly.
And, finally, I personally watched a town council member lie on the floor during a meeting in protest of the meeting going long. These people won’t end up in my books, but I spin stories off of quirkiness. I’m grateful to them for their...uniqueness.
The moral to my story? If you’re a writer, find your inner Audrey- whatever it is that inspires you. Watch, look, listen. Inspiration is all around, even if it’s just for a laugh. If you’re not a writer, I still highly recommend drinks at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans or the Peabody in Memphis...you never know who you’re going to meet there.
Thank you, Audrey Hepburn.
The tattered journal
Ah, the stories Audrey could tell!
About The Author
Pass The Hot Stuff is Dana’s debut novel.
Dana Page ~ Pass The Hot Stuff ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours
Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway
Win A $10 Amazon Gift Card
Contest Dates: Dec 3 - 17, 2012
Pass The Hot Stuff by Dana Page
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: August 22, 2012
Format: Paperback - 356 pages / Kindle - 431 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance
BUY THE BOOK: Pass The Hot Stuff
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
The answer is always ... Pass The Hot Stuff
Blythe Townsend is a belle who is in desperate need of having her chimes rung. But the man she is dating would have to get his head out of his briefs - his legal briefs - long enough to notice.
She is a frustrated romantic obsessed with Turner Classic Movies. She lives in the French Quarter with her dog, Lady Marmalade, and is determined not to go sour on love even though she has dated every nutcase along the Mississippi Delta. Now, she is trying her best to make it work with her deadly dull boyfriend.
Blythe accepts him - boring business dinners and all. There's always steak, but never any sizzle. There's only so much a libido can take; and when she repeatedly spots a man around town she christens Tall, Dark and Eye Candy, she starts to feel what she's been missing.
So, what's stopping her from tasting something a little ... sweeter? She refuses to be hurt again, and this sexy New Orleans guy has all of the trappings to do just that. Blythe will have to find her inner big-shouldered broad to deal with the craziness in her life; and she has a group of hilarious, mouthy women helping her sort through the crazy.
Their story is a sultry dance to Delta blues and soulful jazz that drifts the reader into the romance of New Orleans. So, sit down at the kitchen table and pour yourself a drink - we're gonna pass the hot stuff.
My Book Review:
Sometimes playing it safe isn't enough, every now and then you need to add a little hot stuff to spice up your life!
Blythe Townsend is in a safe relationship with her dull lawyer boyfriend, Robert. While she accepts the way he is, she is frustrated that there isn't enough sizzle in their relationship. When Blythe keeps seeing the same sexy man, Blake, everywhere she turns, she is surprised to find out that he is the co-worker of her boyfriend, and she begins to think that maybe there is more to life than just playing it safe, maybe sometimes you need to have a little bit of hot stuff too!
Pass The Hot Stuff is a sassy and humorous romance story that will keep you thoroughly entertained. Set in "The Big Easy" city of New Orleans, author Dana Page weaves a fun tale of one woman's attempt to try to figure out what she wants in her life and relationship. Filled with humor and quirkiness, the story is told in the third person narrative, that easily draws the reader into Blythe's crazy world. Blythe's journey to figure out what she wants has so many twists and turns, it keeps the reader in anticipation as they turn the pages.
With a quirky cast of characters who will keep you in stitches with their crazy antics; hilarious dialogues and interactions; a richly detailed description of New Orleans; and a storyline that features a love triangle and spicy romance; who could ask for anything more from this enjoyable debut novel? I loved the author's description of New Orleans, she transports the reader to this fabulous city and provides so many tantalizing sights, sounds and smells that it makes you want to visit this enchanting place right now!
Blythe surrounds herself with a strong set of women like her mom Katie, best friend Trisha, and grandmother Sweetie, who offer her hilarious advice, and teach her that there is more to life, and not to settle or compromise when it comes to her happiness. Then there is the men: dull boyfriend Robert, hottie Blake, and new friend Jonah, who keep the romantic drama full of twists and turns. And of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention Blythe's cute dog Lady Marmalade! The characters are so entertaining, they make this story one heck of a fun read!
Pass The Hot Stuff is so much more than your typical romance story. It is a feel good story that teaches the reader that there is so much more to life than what meets the eye, so add a little spice to your life, step out of your comfort zone, and never ever compromise on your happiness!
Kudos to author Dana Page on a wonderful debut novel!
RATING: 4 STARS ****