Ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes in Hollywood, where celebs strut their stuff and their publicists work tirelessly to make sure they look good? If so, then we recommend picking up The Star Attraction by Alison Sweeney. Available now, the first fiction novel from the host of The Biggest Loser takes us into the world of Sophie Atwater, one of the best publicists in Los Angeles. She loves her boyfriend, Jacob, her job and the thrill of working with the stars. But when hottie actor Billy Fox (think Ryan Gosling-level here, ladies) becomes a client, Sophie's life quickly spirals out of control as sparks fly and she starts to fall for a client for the first time. We breezed through this story in a few days, making it a great choice for devouring while lounging poolside or at the beach. Just don't forget the sunscreen because you might get sucked into the story and lose all track of time. Don't say we didn't warn you! And if you want to know what compelled Sweeney to pen her first piece of fiction, we've got you covered there, too. We sat down with the actress and author to find out whether the scenes she created come from experience, and if we can expect a sequel sometime soon.
What made you want to dive into fiction writing? I love to read. I gobble books up left, right and sideways. But I also love telling stories. And being apart of Days of Our Lives for 20 years has given me a million stories to tell. I’m so grateful for that. But you know, sometimes it doesn’t go the way I would want it to go as a fan. I wanted to write something that had the ending that I wanted it to have. It was so fun to get sucked into this girl’s life and tell her story.
You've said you read all of the time. Who are some of your favorite authors? Well, my favorite author alive today is Jodi Picoult.
We love her! Did you read her new book, The Storyteller? Yes, it was amazing! I did this book club on Twitter and Facebook and we read it right when it came out. It was amazing. She’s so inspiring and I just love her controversial topics. She’s amazing.
OK, back to your book. Sophie seems like she’s at a very different point in her life than where you are. Did you relate to her at all, or did you pull from your own experiences when creating her character? Oh yeah, there’s a lot of her that’s in me, and vice versa. I think that her story is so interesting to me because she is growing and learning and finding herself, and that’s such a great thing for people to see and relate to. And the steamy, fun, romantic stuff - all the red carpet gossip - it's all stuff I’ve seen in Hollywood, been a part of or witnessed, so it was fun to pull the curtain back a little bit.
So what red carpet gossip scenes happened in real life and ended up in the book? You gotta buy the book to find out! They’re in there, and they’ve happened. I swear. The craziest ones are the ones that are true. Obviously I changed it to protect those people, but the people who were there will know exactly what I’m talking about.
There’s one scene in the book that we really loved – when Sophie's letting off some steam and discovering boxing. Is fitness something you wanted to incorporate into the book when you started writing? Absolutely. I wanted to write stories that I knew were real, and for me that’s a part of my life. Certainly in LA and in NYC, fitness is a really big part of your life. So for her to go through that experience was healthy and cathartic, and a great way for her to get out those feelings she was dealing with. It let her take herself away from wallowing a little bit.
So you’re doing so much – you’re a mom, you wrote this book and you’re on two TV shows. How do you juggle all of it and stay sane? Working out is a great way to answer that question. I really do believe working out is a big part of what keeps me sane and what keeps me feeling good, physically and mentally. But it’s about prioritizing and focusing my attention. There’s an expression that says, "If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy." People who are busy get it done. And when people hang around with nothing to do, there’s a reason, you know?
Can we expect another book? Maybe a sequel? I’m working on the second book right now. It’s in the same world, sort of a behind-the-scenes of working Hollywood story, but with a different main character.
Now you tell us: If you could learn about the life of any celebrity, who would it be?