Like many young girls, I dreamed of marrying royalty. Visions of servants and watercress sandwiches danced in my head. As my best choices at the time were Prince Edward and Prince Albert, I moved on from that dream rather quickly. Instead, I attended college in hopes of getting a nice degree in art history so that I could volunteer as a docent at one of Chicago’s many museums, whilst raising my preppy brood in the tony North Shore suburbs. Sidetracked again! It was time to be more practical. So I crossed off movie star, astronaut and tight rope walker from my list of dream jobs and became a model instead.
At 6’1” and a size 12, I was too big to be a straight sized model so I began a career as a plus-size model. Glamorous you ask? About as glamorous as a Sears circular and double-knit can be. Yet as the years progressed and more upscale designers hopped on the larger size band wagon, the excitement progressed to shooting fur coats in 90 degree heat and swimwear in the middle of winter. Cindy Crawford I was not. But I still thoroughly enjoyed the 20 years spent in the modeling world, the journey taking me from Chicago, to New York to Los Angeles.
Whilst in L.A., I also began a love affair with baking. My actor husband, Jimmy, was in a movie with Meatloaf and James Franco and I sent cookies to the set to cheer them on. The director fell in love with them and asked me to send a basket of goodies to her friends as a thank you for a couple of splendid weeks in the Hamptons. How could I say no? So I did as she asked and my first basket of treats wound up on the doorstep of Steven Spielberg. His office called the next day to start ordering baskets for their own gifts. This is how I began making goodies for the “it” crowd in Hollywood. The tag line for my business became, Fattening up Hollywood, One Goody at a Time!” A little plus-size model revenge on the people who had the nerve to make a size 0-2 the desired female shape? Maybe.
I spent the entirety of my 20’s and 30’s reading every chick-litty, fun, carefree, girl-about-town book I could get my hands on. I fell in love with the genre where anyone could be a heroine with a happy ending. The heroines I loved the most were the quirky girls with character. I vowed that if I ever got up the nerve to write a book of my own, I would write about real women; perfectly imperfect!
Lila Montgomery, my heroine from She Sins at Midnight, is very relatable from her non-Hollywood, double digit figure to her insecurity about life. Yet through much angst and humor, she comes out on top. I love Lila and consider her a great friend. I’ve recently finished my second chick-lit novel, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, so now Lila and I have a new friend to lunch with. We’d love for you to join us!