In the next few days, my novel “A Star Falls on Oklahoma” will be available on Kindle and Nook. It’s the story of a young starlet who, between movies, decides to go off the grid. In pursuit of that, she leaves her cell phone in a locker at LAX and catches a flight to Oklahoma … Lawton, to be exact. (For those of you who’ve never been there, you should go. Lawton is my favorite town in Oklahoma–and I don’t say that sarcastically.) There, she starts to question the things she’s come to value, and even some of the choices she’s made–on and off the silver screen.
The genesis of the story came from several sources, but one sticks out in my mind. Several years ago, I was reading an article about a young actress who had just “come out of nowhere” and had a couple big screen hits, going from obscurity to “it girl” over night. I’ll admit: I was reading the interview to start with because she was such a knockout. And the picture that accompanied the article were casual shots that made her look even more pretty than when she was dolled up. Still, the interview has stuck in my mind all these years because she came across as so insecure. She worried about the fickleness of fate and how hard being a star was on having friendships and the life didn’t sound all that glamorous to me.
It’s probably been ten years now and the actress, while still maybe an A-lister, is not the it girl she once was. Her name is not enough, by itself, to draw people into the theaters. If the stories in the papers be true (real papers, not tabloids) she’s had a string of live-in boyfriends and broken engagements, she’s a chain smoker, and she looks ten years older than she is. I couldn’t help but wonder if things might have been different if a thing or two had gone different in her past. I don’t know her. Maybe she doesn’t want things to be different. As an outsider, though–and something of a romantic–I keep thinking there’s a better life out there for her than the one she has.
The novel is an up-lifting story of what-if. It’s based not just on that one actress, but on thoughts garnered from following several actors and actresses in the press and thinking that I don’t really want their life–and they probably don’t want mine, either.