12 July 2013 ~ 1 Comment

Guest Post by Morgan Richter, Author of Bias Cut

I used to live in Los Angeles, and I used to work in television. Hence, unavoidably, I’ve met a slew of celebrities. Sometimes the experience was anticlimactic, and sometimes it was unpleasant, but many famous (or quasi-famous) people proved themselves to be pretty decent human beings: Lou Diamond Phillips once cleared a path and held a door open for me when I was lugging a heavy crate of tapes, Mark Harmon offered to help me set up bagels and orange juice for a creative meeting, Jon Cryer hung out at my cubicle and helped me mark up the script for that morning’s show, Ryan Seacrest was sweet and bubbly and always smelled like nice cologne, Erik Estrada gave me an introductory bear hug that lifted me a good two feet off the ground, and the late Richard Jeni made a charitable donation in my name after I scrambled to input some last-minute script changes on his behalf.

(Really, wouldn’t it be awful if Lou Diamond Phillips turned out to be a jerk in real life? Or Erik Estrada? Rest assured, both gentlemen radiate kindness and decency.)

We’re living in the Age of Celebrity—we have been for decades, of course, but in recent years it seems to have burgeoned out of control, until all of a sudden we’re in a society where everyone either is a star, was once a star, or wants to be a star. This is by no means limited to Los Angeles: My mild-mannered, unassuming uncle in Anchorage has somehow found himself starring in an Animal Planet reality series set at his workplace. Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of fame. The pitfalls of a public life are well-documented (see: Lohan, Bynes, Sheen et al)… but danged if it doesn’t seem downright alluring at times. A handful of years back, the actor husband of one of my close friends rocketed to a high level of niche celebrity—he’s only known to a relatively small segment of the population, but to them, he’s a legend. He gets invited to swanky events, he’s a guest of honor at fan conventions, well-wishers approach him in restaurants, and the staff at the local Apple Genius Bar fawn over him. Seems like a pretty sweet deal, really.

My fascination with celebrity has evolved into an ongoing theme throughout much of my writing. The eponymous heroine of my novel Charlotte Dent shoots from obscurity to entry-level fame when she’s cast as a sexy killer robot in a big, ridiculous Hollywood blockbuster; struggling screenwriter Vish in Wrong City gets swept up in a malevolent web of supernatural intrigue when he becomes romantically involved with a television starlet who may or may not be a demon; and Bias Cut’s Nicola sees her life change dramatically when she begins working for bratty, beautiful Laurie Sparks, a famous designer and star of his own obnoxious MTV reality show. Over the course of my novels, my celebrity characters variously get kidnapped, stabbed, shot at, beaten, and, perhaps most hurtfully, mocked in online forums. Nobody ever said fame was easy.

Bias Cut’s Laurie is my favorite fictional creation; he might also be my most fully-realized character. During their first acrimonious encounter, Nicola, who is wholly immune to the allure of Laurie’s fame, sees him as something other than human—to her, he’s a “magical fairy creature,” flamboyant and irresponsible and spoiled and self-absorbed. Throughout the book, as Laurie and Nicola are constantly thrust into life-or-death predicaments together, he begins to reveal surprising reservoirs of strength, pluck, and generosity. One reader proclaimed that, for her, Laurie went from being the guy she loved to hate to the guy she fell in love with. Another reader started out feeling nothing but scorn for Laurie, but felt he’d willingly take a bullet for him by the end of the book. Bias Cut strikes a chord with readers and critics—it was awarded a Silver medal in the Mystery/Cozy/Noir category of the 2013 Independent Publishers Book Awards and was a 2012 Semi-Finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award—in large part because people respond so well to fussy, flaky, famous Laurie.

You’re a star, Laurie Sparks.

About the Author:
A graduate of the screenwriting program at the University of Southern California’s film school, Morgan Richter has worked in production on several TV shows, including Talk Soup and America’s Funniest Home Videosand has contributed to websites such as TVgasm and Forces of Geek as well as to her own site, Preppies of the Apocalypse. The highlight of her writing career to date came last year, when Duran Duran’s erstwhile guitarist Andy Taylor started reposting several of her tongue-in-cheek reviews of classic Duran videos on his official website. She currently lives in New York City.

About the Book:
Burned out and bitter after a string of disappointments, Nicola Strozyk takes a short-term gig assisting Laurie Sparks, the design world’s reigning enfant terrible. Barely in his twenties, Laurie has built himself an empire that encompasses a chic Manhattan boutique and a role on an obnoxious reality series. Part worldly sophisticate and part cheerful scatterbrain, Laurie is beautiful and extravagant; at nearly twice his age, Nicola is jaded and resolutely unglamorous. As Laurie’s burgeoning fame threatens to overwhelm him, Nicola finds herself struggling to keep him on solid ground.

When Laurie becomes obsessed with tracking down the designer of a mysterious coat, he drags Nicola along on a champagne-fueled quest that takes them from the New York catwalks to glittery Hollywood parties and swanky suites in Paris hotels. What begins as a lark takes an ominous turn when they uncover a decades-old mystery involving the murders of two young models. Along the way, the odd-couple camaraderie between Nicola and Laurie evolves into a fierce bond, which is put to the test when she must protect him from a pair of deadly threats: a mercurial fellow designer hell-bent on burying a dark secret, and an obsessive killer who has fixed his sights on Laurie.

One Response to “Guest Post by Morgan Richter, Author of Bias Cut”

  1. Josephine 6 September 2014 at 5:52 am Permalink

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