Alison Gaylin, author of the mystery thriller Trashed, proves not only that you can go home again, but also that you can return a success.
Gaylin says Trashed involves a tabloid reporter who covers a grisly series of celebrity murders in Hollywood. Along the way, the reporter winds up solving the crime and becoming a target herself.
Gaylin, who also works as a freelance writer for In Touch Weekly, lives in Woodstock, N.Y., with her filmmaker husband, Mike Gaylin, and daughter, Marissa.
Q: Do you give your readers a lot of clues to solve the mystery?
A: Hopefully you don't know who the actual murderer is until the end. I don't want it to come out of the blue - there are some clues in there, but hopefully they're hidden well enough so it's a surprise.
Q: How much of you is in the lead character, Simone Glass?
A: She's definitely younger than I am, but she's had a similar job experience to me. She actually gets the job as a reporter for a sleazy tabloid after she went to graduate school for journalism, and I was a reporter for a sleazy tabloid before I went to graduate school for journalism. I think she is a better reporter than I ever was. My characters tend to have a similar outlook on life that I do and a similar sense of humor, and they react the way I wish I would in certain situations.
Q: Why is America obsessed with tabloids and celebrity?
A: We all love gossip because it's a good escape. It's interesting because in the old days, in the '40s and '50s, during the star system in Hollywood, people looked at celebrities like gods. There was never a picture of any of them without it being air brushed and perfect and beautiful. Now it's sort of the opposite, with the whole idea that these really rich and famous people are just like us. There's a whole train-wreck quality of watching celebrities go about their lives; it has a voyeuristic appeal.
Q: Who is your favorite "hot" tabloid subject today?
A: In terms of stuff that's the most interesting to read about and the most interesting to write, either Britney [Spears] or Lindsay [Lohan] would be the most interesting right now.
Q: How do you write?
A: I have an office in my house, and I go into the office for In Touch three days a week, so the rest of the time I'm home. I do have a 6-year-old daughter, so I tend to write while she's at school or after she goes to bed. I try to tailor my writing schedule around her schedule, although my husband is really, really helpful.
Q: Can you tell us about your next book?
A: It takes place in New York City and a small town in Mexico and it involves soap stars and grisly ritualistic murder. Soap stars and grisly ritualistic murder, what more could you want?