Friday, August 31, 2007

Gemma Goes Hollywood

My third High Heels book just hit the shelves this week, and, not to play favorites, but I think I had more fun writing this one than any of the others! Undercover in High Heels finds Maddie back in L.A., Hollywood to be exact, where she goes undercover as the new wardrobe assistant on the set of TV’s hottest prime time soap, Magnolia Lane. Which sounds like a dream job until a beautiful young starlet winds up dead on the set. Now it’s up to Maddie to catch a killer as she sifts through a leading lady with a secret, an actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a sexy cyber scandal, and one tabloid reporter who'll stop at nothing to get the story of the century. Not to mention the case's familiar lead detective, Jack Ramirez, whose patience with Maddie is wearing thin, maybe for good this time.

One of the things that made writing this book so much fun was that I got to revisit my Hollywood days. When I was a teenager, I moved to L.A. to peruse acting and what an amazing experience that was! I got to meet so many neat people (even a few celebrities) and spent most of my days on the set of movies and TV shows. I had a few regular roles on shows like Sweet Valley High (anyone remember the Wakefield twins? God, I loved those books as a kid!) and Beverly Hills 90210 (Brandon! Dillon! Sigh.), as well as some minor background roles in feature films and commercials. (Ten points to anyone who can spot Gemma in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion!)

But my favorite studio set to visit was the one that I modeled my fictional Sunset Studios in Undercover in High Heels after - Universal Studios. No matter what we were shooting, it was like walking into an alternate reality the second you set foot on the lot. Universal is so big that it’s like a little city unto itself, complete with police force, restaurants, gardens, and even it’s own theme park! My favorite part of working there was that as the theme park’s studio tour would go by, we’d get to wave at the tourist taking our pictures like they’d just spotted Angelia Jolie. I have no idea how many vacation home videos I’ve ended up in, but I’m guessing it’s a lot!

The other thing that made Universal Studios so unique was the different complete neighborhoods they’d built onto the lot. They’ve got one street made to look like a typical New York city neighborhood, complete with brownstones and two story walk ups, but as soon as you turn the corner, you’re suddenly on Main Street USA, filled with mom and pop stores and the local diner. They’ve got an Old West street that you’d swear leads right to the OK corral, and a tree lined Leave it to Beaver style suburb. Not surprisingly, it’s hard to get your bearings when you’re walking through these disjointed neighborhoods. I’ll admit, just like Maddie does in Undercover in High Heels, I found myself lost once on the Universal lot, aimless wandering through the New York streets looking for my trailer. Thankfully, unlike Maddie, I didn’t have a crazed killer chasing after me.

So, in honor of my Hollywood theme release, I’m opening the floor to some serious celebrity gossiping today. Who is your favorite actress? Which hot leading man makes you drool? What is your can’t-live-without TV show? I’ll start: fav actor – Johnny Depp. In addition to being hugely talented, I just can’t watch the man without getting tingly all over.

~Trigger Happy Halliday


Christie Craig said...


Your book sounds delightful. So does your whole Hollywood experience.

Now, for my Hollywood crushes? Hmmm.... Sawyer on Lost. (tingle...tingle!)


Dana Belfry said...

I don't know if there is enough room here! Okay, okay I'll keep it short.

Patrick Dempsey long before Grey's Anatomy.

George Clooney (after his cheesy daytime soap opera days).

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Viggo baby.

And now I have to go watch Romy and Michelle and see if I can spot you.

Any hints?

Were you in their past or present? Or both?

Who do you have in mind to play Maddie?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Gemma, such great experiences indeed. I definitely need to find you now, LOL. And yes, who do you see playing Maddie?

My favorite actress is Charlize Theron. I think she is absolutely beautiful and talented. I no longer have a favorite, hottie actor. There are several great ones but none top my charts.

I can't wait to get this next book. I bet it's going to be hilarious and fun. :)

Estella said...

I am really going to date myself with this one. My favorite actor was John Wayne. Dont' have one now.

Hellie Sinclair said...

Johnny Depp. I don't have POTC stuff all over my desk, bedroom, et al for nothing.

Keri Ford said...

Jason Statham. Mmmm...good. The man's about 10 years older than me, but if opportunity came knocking, I'd be answering.

Gemma Halliday said...

Um, let’s see, to play Maddie… while writing the book I totally had a Reece Witherspoon Legally Blonde character in my head. But in actuality, I’d love to see a newcomer play her. Someone blonde, bubbly, and totally smart under that cute exterior.

Oh, and in Romy and Michelle, I’m in the past, their high school days. Drama club, cheerleader, general highschool goer. Those are all the hints you get. ;)


Anonymous said...

Great post, Gemma. I loved Universal Studios. I lived in Sherman Oaks for a lot of years. (Then I went crazy and moved to Snow Hell in upstate New York. Don't ask.)

Universal Studios tours was one of my favorite theme parks. I had friends who had offices on the studio lot, too. Great place.

Now...hunks, huh? Love Johnny Depp, also. My favorite actor is Don Cheadle, though. I can't stop watching him when he's on screen. Fabulous actor. For TV shows, gotta be Supernatural. Love those Winchester boys. lol.


Shel said...

My favorite all time tv show - Buffy. Favorite gotta love him actor, lately I've been having bizarre dreams about Kiefer Sutherland (I love Jack Bauer!).

I was looking for Undercover today and I could not find it at Borders or Barnes & Noble. I'm going to try in a different neighborhood tomorrow - wish me luck!

Gemma Halliday said...

Someone told me they couldn't find Undercover in our local BN, either. I think some stores don't put out new books until the 1st of the month, so some are quicker than other to get it on the shelves. Hopefully it shows up soon!

Be sure to let me know what you think when you finish reading it!


Babe King said...

I love Romy and Michelle- love the anti hero, Alan Cummings, even though I know he's camp as a row of pink tents, but he's got such an expressive face and hands, not to mention he's also Floop and the MC in Cabaret. Your book will be wonderful. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy. :-)

and Vin Diesel for heart thumping quality. I don't think that man is real. Just a fantasy of all things perfect.

Allie Hollister said...

My Undercover book must have come in today. I got a call from my bookstore. Yippee!!
Gemma, one of my old boyfriends is a stunt man in good old LA. I still keep in touch. He's a good friend.
Favorite male: Robert Redford, I remember at age 6 I had a crush on him, in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and all over again in The Sting.
Close second: John Travolta (in his later years)
Favorite female: Kim Catrell (did I spell it right?) Age 51 and makes the young girls look old.


Gemma Halliday said...

OMG - is she really 51?! Wow. May I look that good.

Cool the stunt man BF! Okay, one of my old boyfriends, I recently found out, was a pirate. Nope, not that kind. He was in Pirates of the Caribbean.,%20Brye

Cassandra said...

Got my copy in my hot little hands! Weee! Of course, I told them to hold out two for me and they didn't. Grrr. But they promised to order another copy for me, so yay!

Why two? Because I am a nasty, bad reader. LOL Dog-ears and peanut butter smears are the least of what terrors I do to poor, defenseless books. LOL.

So I always buy two. One for my collection and one for reading.

As for TV shows, I'd not much on tv to be honest. I'd rather read a book.

But I do go to the movies now and then and my favorite male actor is a toss up between Hugh Jackman and Gerard Butler. If the fates are kind, I'll get to meet both of them in real life. :P

Actresses are a toss up between Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore. I like both of them.

Anonymous said...

Well maybe not the pirate photos (LOL), but I can see him playing a leading man. Especially the B&W one in the tee. :)

Rob Preece/ said...

Hi Gemma,
Can't wait to read it. It's funny, I grew up in LA not too many miles from Hollywood and I never even noticed it. I guess I was too wrapped up in my own world.

Now I need to rent Rommy and Michelle's High School Reunion to see if I can find you. Can you give us a hint? Did you have curly blonde hair?

Rob Preece

Kathy Bacus said...

It's so fascinating to hear about your own Hollywood experiences, Gemma. I can only imagine what Maddie will do with such a setting!

And I'm with Cassandra on actors. Gerard Butler and Hugh Jackman get me to going 'hubba hubba'. I'm also a Johnny Depp fan. But I cut my teeth on John Wayne movies and would have to include Duke as one of my favorites, along with Estelle. In CJ HEADS WEST out next month, Tressa demonstrates her knowledge and appreciation of John Wayne--a by-product of the author's attachment to the actor.
As far as pure acting goes, I love Morgan Freeman and Judi Dench. When they are on the screen, they command attention.


Gemma Halliday said...

Yay, Cassandra, I hope you love it! Both of them. And if you (or anyone else!) would like me to sign your pristine one, just send it to my P.O. Box on my website, along with an SASE, and I'll be more than happy to sign and send back to you.

Rob – Yep, I’m the same curly haired gal in Romy & Michelle. I looked pretty much the same as I do now, minus a few years. ;)

Hugh Jackman – how could I forget him? Yum! And, I have to admit, the Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie duo in Mr. & Mrs. Smith was one of my fav pairings. He’s still on my top ten droolworthy list and, for all her weirdness, she’s just gorgeous in that film.

Anonymous said...

I'm rather hard-pressed to choose a favorite, there are so many. But I've had a thing for Nick Lea (the ambiguous Krycek on The X-Files) for years.

Mendy said...

I cannot wait to get my hands on Undercover in High Heels!

Let's see...
My favorite actress would be Kyra Sedgwick. She is just devine as Brenda on The Closer.

The leading man that makes me drool is Ryan Reynolds... he can do sexy and he can do comedy.. LOVE him!

The TV show I can't live without is the hardest one... So I'm going to go with the one TV show that the network cancelled and made me actually throw the remote at the TV... DRIVE! I cannot believe that the show was cancelled so quickly. It wasn't even given a chance! I'm still injured. Nathan Fillion just cannot catch a break... first Firefly and now Drive.

Allie Hollister said...

Hey Gemma, I checked your link to your pirate BF. Yeah baby, he's a looker.
Picked up Undercover at the bookstore today. I'm pleased to say they not only had my copy, but they had several more on the shelf. Not bad for a small Midwestern store.
I must admit, I REALLY, REALLY miss living in California.

Jamie Dierks aka Allie

Angie Fox said...

Hi Gemma!

I just picked up Undercover in High Heels at Borders this weekend. The premise had me smiling in the bookstore. Can't wait to start reading it!

Enchanted by Books said...

I must get this book!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say i can't comment on any one of the blogs. They all sound terrific. I am anxious to read any or all of the books, and if they are as funny as the one of Gemma's I have already read, well...what can I say. i cannot read her work in public. Laughing as I do I am afraid people would think I was nuts.

I have another one from the convention and holding it to read when I feel rather down and need a really good laugh to pick me up. Which should be any day now!!!!