Lisa Kudrow read Ellen Meister's first novel for an audio book taping and liked it so much she gave it a blurb.
"The best time I've had in years. Ellen Meister's characters are so funny, smart, and real, I feel like I've made three new friends!" — Lisa Kudrow
Okay, and not only do famous movie stars like it, but really respected writers too. Here's what Lolly Winston and Maryanne Stahl had to say: "A funny and wonderfully irreverent look at the dark underbelly of suburbia." — Lolly Winston, author of Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately "Women, hide this book from your husbands and resist the urge to read passages out loud. Ellen Meister knows our secrets, and she tells them in a smart, honest, and very funny voice." — Maryanne Stahl, author of Forgive the Moon and The Opposite Shore
Okay, and not only do famous movie stars like it, but really respected writers too. Here's what Lolly Winston and Maryanne Stahl had to say:
"A funny and wonderfully irreverent look at the dark underbelly of suburbia." — Lolly Winston, author of Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately
"Women, hide this book from your husbands and resist the urge to read passages out loud. Ellen Meister knows our secrets, and she tells them in a smart, honest, and very funny voice." — Maryanne Stahl, author of Forgive the Moon and The Opposite Shore
About the book:
When a Hollywood location scout comes to Applewood, Long Island and announces that the local elementary school might make the perfect backdrop for an upcoming George Clooney movie, the PTA’s decorum crumbles like a cookie from last week's bake sale.
Enter Maddie, Ruth and Lisa, three women who become the glue that holds the project together...and wind up forming a bond of friendship stronger than anyone had imagined.
A good thing, too, because each of them is about to come apart. Maddie Schein, an ex-lawyer trying as hard to fit in as she is to save her marriage, gets knocked off balance by Jack Rose, an old college friend hell bent on seducing her. Ruth Moss—rich, sexy and outspoken—has more to give and less to enjoy than most people think. Indeed, since her husband's stroke left him embarrassingly uninhibited yet completely impotent, she's more of a caretaker than a wife. And modest Lisa Slotnick, a loving parent who wants nothing more than to fade into the scenery as she tends to her children, must deal with the humiliation of being thrust before the spotlight by her scandalous, alcoholic mother.
When these three get together, a powerful alliance is forged. But is it strong enough to overcome the obstacles to getting the movie made in their town? And will their friendship be enough to mend their hearts and homes? Join them as they reach for the stars...and try to pull off a Hollywood ending of their own.
I interviewed Ellen for the cybergirlfriend's tour and here's what she had to say.
1. If I had to offer two bumper sticker explanations for my novel, they’d be “Appearances are deceiving” and “Mean people suck.” Tell me what your slogans would be, and why.
I like your slogans, Shelia! Mine would be "Friendship matters," as I think, at its very core, SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA is really a friendship story. "Honk if you want to do George Clooney" would be my other bumper sticker. Can you imagine how noisy the carpool lane would be?
2. Your two favorite movies over the past twelve months and why?
With three kids we don't get out much, so my answer has to include oldies I've seen on DVD or cable this year. I watched "Annie Hall" again recently, and it still holds up as one of my favorite movies of all time. Why? It's looks at love with honesty, wit and enough belly laughs to keep me going for months. I also introduced the kids to the Marx Brothers this year, so Animal Crackers qualifies as another "recent" fave.
3. What was the one thing you learned in getting your book published that you were really surprised to find out?
How much I have to do on my own. Yikes. It eats up a lot of time, doesn't it?
4. If you had to pick one and only one condition (beyond computer or pen and paper) that would allow you to write would it be: a. solitude b. caffeine c. sleep d. food e. sex or f. ______.
F. All of the above.
5. Do you have a favorite genre? If so, who are your three favorite writers? If not, who are your three favorite writers and how have they influenced your work?
I don't think I have a favorite genre, but I gravitate toward character-driven books that take hard looks at the relationships between people. These are usually classified as literary fiction, but I don't pay much attention to labels. My favorite writers change day by day, but three constants include Richard Russo, Richard Yates and J.D. Salinger. I don't want to shortchange all the women author I adore, so here are just a few off the top of my head: Elinor Lipman, Susan Isaacs, Mary Gordon, Melissa Bank, Toni Morrison, Meg Wolitzer, Jennifer Weiner, Lolly Winston, Dorothy Parker, Alice Hoffman and Jane Austin.
As far as how they influence my writing, I find that every book I read--even the ones I don't truly love--have something to teach me. If you're paying attention, there are gifts everywhere.