Honest truth: I always forget to do recaps of author events on Rather Be Reading. It’s so so terrible of me because I’ve gone to some great ones and never seem to get them written in time. But by a huge stroke of luck, Starstuck and Love Me author Rachel Shukert was in town around the time I brainstormed Hollywood Week (in the Notes app on my phone over a drink with my husband).
Another truth tidbit: I was absolutely so nervous to meet her. After all, she’s written two awesome books, and she used to write fantastically funny recaps for Smash (the deceased NBC show about theatre that I had a total love/hate relationship with) for New York Magazine so there’s sort of kind of a degree or two of separation between her and Jeremy Jordan (my just-below-Zac-Efron celebrity crush).
Anyway! Last Sunday afternoon, I headed over to McNally Jackson in Soho for a pre-Oscars launch party for Love Me. Truly impeccable timing because the opening of Rachel’s latest book started with main character Margo freaking out over the Oscar nominations. All bets are on her getting a nod for her first starring role, but until she knows for sure, she opts to be a total wreck.
Nestled in a cozy corner of McNally’s second floor, I had a seat next to one of my (other) favorite books.
Couldn’t be more fitting since Rachel is a huge Muppet fan too.
To kick the event off, Rachel read a great bit from Love Me. I kept thinking WHY ISN’T MY INSIDE VOICE AS ENTERTAINING AS HERS because it’s so interesting to hear someone read from a book that you read alone on your couch or on the subway. I’ve decided that Rachel will have to read part 3 of the series outloud to me.
In a Q&A afterwards, the crowd learned a few of these tidbits:
- Most of her research for the 1930s Hollywood setting was done spur of the moment because she had accumulated so much “useless” Hollywood knowledge over the years.
- She tried to write the book as realistically as possible but had to edit some minor details to fit in her fictional characters. (Like omitting a person from an Oscar category.) It made her think a lot about what actors and actresses we would be remembering 70 years later.
- Rachel is a pro at Oscar speeches. She was even quoted in the New York Times last week.
- Book 3 of the Starstruck series (out next year) will bring readers into the 1940s and into a war.
Afterwards, Rachel was sweet enough to chat, sign a copy of my book, and even draw something very special.
Can’t say I’ve ever had an author draw a Muppet in my book before.
Obviously, she’s the best.
It’s been so long since I’ve visited McNally Jackson (which Rachel called her favorite bookstore in NYC) and I’m so glad I stopped in to celebrate the release of Love Me! I’m pretty much dying to find out what happens with Margo, Amanda, and Gabby in the last book of the trilogy. Let’s hope I can keep my patience in check.
Until then, there’s time for you to experience the Starstruck series! The books are a total guilty pleasure but they are also so smartly written and I think it brings them to a whole new level in the young adult genre!