Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hallie writes a prequel: PHOTOPLAY

DEBORAH CROMBIE: It's a very special day for us here on JRW when we get to feature one of our own! Hallie Ephron has a terrific new novel coming out March 24th. (I got to read it early, lucky me!) And today, just to whet our appetites, she's releasing a short story set in the same time and place and featuring some of the same characters. Here's Hallie to tell us about it.




HALLIE EPHRON: By the time I finish writing a novel, usually I’ve put the characters through so much grief and turmoil that a sequel would be cruel and unusual punishment. Just for instance, ninety-two year old Mina Yetner goes through trial by fire (several times) in THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN. I imagine Mina going on without me, her final years unfurling in messy episodes, not acts, blissfully free of drama and suspense.   

But when I finished NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT (which comes out in March) I realized there was more story to tell. Not what happens after the novels ends, but what went on beforeAnd out “popped” (if only) a longish short story, PHOTOPLAY: A STORY OF SUSPENSE which goes on sale today. 
 

The main characters from NIGHT NIGHT are in PHOTOPLAY:  movie star Elenor “Bunny” Nichol; her hunky Argentine lover, “Tito” Acevedo; her 15-year-old daughter Joelen (Joe-Ellen). Plus her daughter’s best friend Deirdre Unger.  

A professional photographer (the consummate Hollywood inside outsider), Duane Foley, is the narrator. The pictures that he’s hired to take at Bunny’s glamorous party are supposed to reflect Bunny and her guests at their best and most beautiful, the kind of pictures that ran in movie magazines like “Photoplay,” publications that were virtual PR machines for the stars. 

At the party, Duane’s camera gets an eyeful. But it’s not all what he or his host bargained for. 

Writing the story, I mined my own memories of what it was like to grow up in Beverly Hills in the 60s, the daughter of Hollywood screenwriters. I recreated the kind of parties my parents used to throw (laughter, music, a haze of cigarette smoke, and too much booze) and upgraded the guest list to include A-list players like Doris Day and Rock Hudson. I took the Beverly Hills house I grew up in, moved it from “the flats” to north of Sunset, and tripled its size.   

At the party, Bunny allows Joelen and Deirdre to dress up and answer the door, just the way my parents did. But the girls stay up far past the time when they’re supposed to have turned into pumpkins, and they indulge in cocktails far more potent than Shirley Temples. 

In the party’s aftermath, neither of them will be the same.   

NO SPOILERS! I worked hard to make sure that PHOTOPLAY doesn't spoil any of the surprises in NIGHT NIGHT. But if you read the story you'll have a few insights into the novel that other readers won't.
   

The e-story PHOTOPLAY (HarperCollins/Witness Impulse) is available starting today for $1.99:

GOOGLE PLAY  HARPERCOLLINS
 
 
DEBS: Hallie, when I read NIGHT NIGHT, I couldn't get enough of the slightly seedy glamor of Hollywood in the 60s, so I'm buying PHOTOPLAY right this minute. And I love the photo of the house you grew up in. Can you tell us a bit more about it in the comments?

34 comments:

Edith Maxwell said...

I'm so excited about this for lots of reasons, one being that I grew up in southern California, too (as Hallie knows), although nowhere near Beverly Hills. The story is waiting for me on my Kindle, so guess what I'll be doing this afternoon? (Word count comes first, though...)

Reine said...

Looking forward to this and excited to learn about the prequel.

I lived nearby for a short while, also in the 60s, although down in "the flats" south of Sunset on Canon. Wicked parties there.

Hallie Ephron said...

Thanks, Edith!

Reine: of course you did!!!

Hallie Ephron said...

Thanks so much for a great introduction, Debs! The house. It was lovely. Spanish colonial, terra cotta tile floors, wrought iron railings... and then my parents hired a set designer who covered the floors with thick white wall to wall and covered the stucco walls with wormy cyprus paneling. Really.

All of that is gone now, I can see when I go to the real estate sites and pretend I'm interested in buying it. My parents sold it for something like 100K in 1967; last year it sold for $7M. Now it looks like a Spanish colonial hotel.

Joan Emerson said...

Hallie, now that I've read "Photoplay," I can hardly wait to continue the story and find out what happens next!

Kristopher said...

I have this short on my Kindle at the moment Hallie. I can't wait to read it. I'll love getting a little taste of the new book before diving into that whole thing.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

I'm going off to buy my copy now Hallie! It's a great book and I'm happy to read more about those characters.

I wonder, since you've turned away from writing a series to writing standalones, whether you don't miss the longer arc of a series? My characters change so much as I write each book--and their backstory deepens. I think the standalone would be hard for me.

Karen in Ohio said...

Hallie, I've been waiting for this since you posted a teaser in a "What I'm Working On" blog last year.

Bought and loaded into my Nook queue. Thank you!

Michele Dorsey said...

I'm not usually a short story reader, but this intrigues me because it is connected to Night,Night which I am really looking forward to. I'm off to purchase and read it while waiting for the plow to come. By the way, I would read ANYTHING Hallie writes about the fabulous Mina, one of my all time favorite characters.

Deb Romano said...

I just ordered it! Reading it will be such a welcome respite from this lousy winter weather we've been having!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

So cool! Cannot wait to read it. xoxo

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Ooooh, read the galley of NIGHT NIGHT and loved it — can't wait to read "Photoplay"!

Mary Sutton said...

Okay, well, I know what I'm going to be reading next. I loved the teaser, and I can't wait for the book, so this will be perfect!

I missed the "old Hollywood" glamour, but I do like reading about it.

Ellen Kozak said...

I don't have e-reader capability oy a smart phone. Any suggestions as to how to get PHOTOPLAY?

Brenda Buchanan said...

Cool to know about this! Can't wait to meet Joelen and Deirdre.

FChurch said...

So prolific, Hallie--and given your background, I can see why these particular characters had more to say. Can't wait to read about them!

Ellen, I don't know if Hallie's work is available through a library--but ebooks can be 'checked out' via my library system, and read either on an ereader or as a desktop download.

Mary Sutton said...

Ellen, if you go to the Amazon site, you can get whatever it is that lets you read Kindle books on your computer.

Edith Maxwell said...

Ellen, you can get a free Kindle reader for a PC (not sure about for Apple). Google it.

Ellen Kozak said...

Thanks guys, but computer is OLD and newer programs don't work on it. Whatever happened to ordinary downloads in Word? "Read only" would be fine. (I don't open zip programs).

Karen in Ohio said...

Ellen, you can use something like Calibre, which is a multiple-format book-reading program, even on an older computer. There are many more formats beyond the Kindle one.

Books are generally very small files, too, since they are text-based.

Karen in Ohio said...

http://calibre-ebook.com/ for a free download, plus lots of information.

Deborah Crombie said...

Hallie, I just finished Photoplay. Loved it! Such wonderful Hollywood atmosphere, with hints of dark things beneath the surface. And such a great set up for the book, AND it stands on its own as well. Congrats!!

Kathy Reel said...

I was lucky, too, in getting to read Night Night, Sleep Tight early. It is a great read! Hallie, you definitely have another hit on your hands.

I pre-ordered Photoplay, so I need to now check my Kindle for it. I can't wait to read more of these fascinating characters.

Kaye Barley said...

Thank you - Off to buy Photoplay and cannot wait o read NIGHT NIGHT!!

Hallie Ephron said...

Thanks, everyone! This is SO MUCH FUN! So much more fun, I might add, than actually writing.

You're all the BEST!!! And boy did I need a lift with the weather we've been having. So discouraging... hugs to everyone else out there who's shoveling (again.)

Kait said...

Oh, this sounds like a wonderful story. Must get me to the Amazon.

Lisa Alber said...

Hi Hallie -- have been looking forward to NIGHT NIGHT forever it seems -- since the first time your described it. And a teaser longish short -- excellent!

Pat D said...

I will get Photoplay for my Nook shortly. I remember how good the taste of Night Night was last year. Cannot wait.

Reine said...

Hallie, I lived with Susan Cabot. You remember her? Long after Hussein. Well before she moved to Encino.

Hallie Ephron said...

Reine, I had to look up Susan Cabot... gorgeous actress who worked with Roger Corman. You have had an ineresting life. xx

Reine said...

She was a very kind person who opened up her home to me when I needed one.

Suzanne Chazin said...

I definitely want to read it, Hallie. It sounds so fascinating! Hollywood is its own little world and it never ceases to amaze me. Can't wait to dive in in this cold Northeast winter!

Edith Maxwell said...

Loved the story, Hallie!

Anonymous said...

Hallie, do you remember a place called Normandie Village on Sunset blvd?