Guest Blogger: Alison Gaylin

A huge Murderati welcome to Alison Gaylin who’s sitting in for me today. Her new hardcover from NAL debuted in September and it sounds absolutely tantalizing:

From Publishers Weekly
Gaylin’s giddy hardcover debut follows young reporter Simone Glass on her short but shocking infiltration of Hollywood’s sleazy side. Simone, a recent Columbia journalism grad, heads for L.A. to work for a slick weekly that goes out of business almost immediately. She grabs a position at the L.A. bureau of the trashy tabloid Asteroid and plunges into the world of celebrity gossip. Reluctantly rummaging through TV superstar Emerald Deegan’s garbage, Simone discovers a shoe belonging to the recently murdered comeback kid Nia Lawson. Then Emerald becomes the next victim, and one of her bracelets is found in another future victim’s trash. When Simone carelessly wears the bracelet to a party, she catches the killer’s eye as a potential target. Gaylin (You Kill Me) has tremendous fun with stereotypical tabloid fodder, from a closeted gay superstar and a desperate, underage stripper to wild Hollywood parties and car chases. The hectic pace and huge cast of extras keep the reader guessing right to the end.

And now for Alison’s fun blog:

The best thing about promoting my new book, TRASHED, is that I get to talk about what inspired it: the wacky nine months I spent – after college and before graduate school – as a reporter for The Star. This was not the glossy Bonnie Fullerized Star you see today. It was a serious, down-and-dirty supermarket tabloid whose main competition was the National Enquirer, and encouraged its reporters to do anything and everything to get celebrity scoop.

So, these days, when I’m doing speaking engagements, I don’t really spend a lot of time discussing my writing schedule or how I come up with ideas or my relationship with my editor or what it took to get published… Instead, I get to go into the specifics of posing as an extra on the sets of bad TV movies. I can talk about chatting up bouncers and sneaking into celebrity weddings and funerals and the waiting rooms of plastic surgeons offices. At most of these engagements, I like to detail my first night on the job, driving through Beverly Hills, feeling terrified and amazed — and sort of nauseous – the backseat of my car filled with Roseanne Barr’s fresh, stinking garbage bags.

Here’s what I find most interesting about all this. At every single speaking engagement I’ve done where I’ve mentioned my trash-stealing exploits, no one has asked me, How could you do something like that? No one has said, Did you have trouble sleeping at night? But the one question I’ve gotten every single time is this: What was in Roseanne’s garbage?

During that whole strange and smelly ride back to The Star’s West Coast office, I was thinking, Why am I doing this? And now, all these years later, I finally have my answer. People want to know.

Well, most people. There are those who tell me they couldn’t care less about celebrities… but they usually follow that up with a caveat involving Britney or Lindsay (not that they care or anything, but what is up with those girls?)

I look at my own books – all that time I spend trying to invent interesting characters and surprising plot twists and scary, dramatic murders, all in the hopes winning over a few thousand new readers… and then I look at the 1.5 million people who buy the magazine I now work for every single week, just so they can find out why Angelina snapped at Brad in an elevator.

I wish I could get to exactly what it is that fascinates people about certain celebrities. If I could, I would bottle it and pour it all over my manuscripts and watch the money and fame roll in. And here’s the best part:  Since I’d be a rich famous author, no one would care about what was in my garbage.

Are there certain celebrities you want to know everything about? I’d love to hear which ones, and why (and, since I’m still in entertainment journalism, I might be able to provide you with some information!)

— Alison

PS The most surprising thing we found in Roseanne’s garbage was several copies of the National Enquirer. It really pissed off my boss.

Alison Gaylin is the author of the Edgar-nominated HIDE YOUR EYES and its sequel YOU KILL ME. Her first hardcover, TRASHED, is out now on NAL/Obsidian. Her website: She regularly blogs at First Offenders.

14 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Alison Gaylin

  1. Kathy Reschini Sweeney

    Hi Alison!

    If you are lucky enough to meet Alison, you will find that she really does have the best stories. And she channels all that energy into “Trashed” – which is one of my favorite books of this year.

    I don’t read many blogs, but now that I’ve found this one, I’ll be back – and when you update your calendar for 2008, consider RT – it’s in Pittsburgh this year!

  2. Lori G. Armstrong


    You know how much I loved Trashed!

    So, who DID you see in the plastic surgeons office? Are we talking about the same guy who did work on Kenny Rogers and Barry Manilow, cause dude, he sucks. Those guys look awful now…

  3. AlisonGaylin

    Thanks, guys! (Your checks are in the mail…) Lori, I’m right with you on the bad, male plastic surgery. How can poor Barry Manilow sing when he can’t even move his face? Far as the offices I went to, back then it was all about Michael Jackson and boob jobs. (And before you get any horrific images in your mind, I’m talking about SEPARATE offices… Pamela Anderson was one, I think.)

  4. Megan

    Alison!! One of the countless reasons I loved TRASHED is how subtle it was about the particular vagaries of celebrity fascination…A lot of the fascination now seems to be driven by schadenfreude (interesting that we have no English word for that), which is certainly not new, but perhaps at a fever pitch at the moment.

    For me, well, I am a complete Hollywood junkie, but it’s interesting, as you say, about how some celebrities draw our attention more than others. I still can’t figure out why I have no interest in Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie or Paris Hilton but am a sucker for the ongoing near-Faulknerian saga that is Britney.(I love it when she said, “It’s sad … how cruel our world can be….” She is a gal that knows how to bring some serious Victorian melodrama into our lives.)

  5. Jeanne Ketterer

    Will Brangelina last? Is she pregnant?And why won’t some kindly soul help Brit-Brit?Will Lane Garrison be able to get a job after prison?Will Keanu Reeves ever find happiness?

    Looking forward to TRASHED! Thanks for blogging today.


  6. AlisonGaylin

    Megan: Yes, exactly — and so wonderful to see you here! I’m fascinated by Britney, too, and you’re right to call her Faulknerian. She’s definitely Dewy Dell — after a few too many Grey Goose and Red Bulls.

    Jeanne: Angelina isn’t pregnant yet, but they’re trying. Good question about Brit and Lane and as far as Keanu goes, I do wish I could help him. Isn’t it amazing what intimate details we know about these people, though. They used to be on a pedestal, now they’re under a microscope.

  7. patti abbott

    My entire youth was spent between the covers of movie magazines. Yet now it seems more exploitive when the press and public go after Britney or Paris or Lindsey. I think the press is more eager now to show them as ridiculous than in earlier days, but I am probably looking at those times through a rosy haze.

  8. a Paperback Writer

    Hey, my greatest celeb claim to fame was that I often passed JK Rowling’s house on the way home from church while I lived in Edinburgh. Now I know I should’ve been digging through her garbage!!! Gee, I probably could’ve sold stuff on e-bay, too. How silly of me not to think of it.Your book sounds great. I’ll have to go find a copy.Celebrities I’d want to know about? Okay, I’m a sucker for stuff on Johnny Depp. I wouldn’t bother to buy magazines about him…. but if someone knows good gossip, well, ya know, I just can’t help tuning in…Oh, and celeb author gossip… anyone know if Neil Gaiman’s still married? He talks about his whole family all the time but never a word about his wife (unless I missed something, which is entirely possible).

  9. AlisonGaylin

    Excellent question, Elaine! (Actually, he just has one older sister. Sigh…)

    Patti: I really don’t think it’s your imagination. Back when I was at The Star, the big news the celebs tried to keep secret was checking in to Betty Ford. These days, all the bad behavior that leads up to it is front page (or webpage) news and the rehab stay becomes the news they WANT leaked — the badge of honor. Also, as I remember, it was pretty rare to find a photo of a movie star without full make-up. But when was the last time you saw an actual flattering photo of Britney? On the flip side, I think it’s a lot easier to become famous these days. When you’re on the “a-list” not because you won an Oscar, but because you’re rich and young and you party hard, well… you leave yourself more open to ridicule. Paperback: The magazine where I work has been trying to get stuff on Johnny Depp for ages because he’s so popular. Not too much in the way of gossip, though. He’s been with the same woman for years, they’re happy parents in France… And unlike other “sexiest men alive,” he’s not all that into partying naked. Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling I’m at a loss for. See, at the magazine were I work, we’re not all that into… well… reading.


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