Here are some things you should know about author Rachel Shukert: She looks an awful lot like Kathleen Hanna; she wrote and recorded an amazing awards show-worthy Oscar movie medley; she recaps so-campy-it-hurts “Smash” for funsies; and she’s the author of three of my favorite books ever. Shukert’s first two, Everything Is Going To Be Great and Have You No Shame?, were memoirs, the former a hilarious meditation on her post-college European travels, the latter, essays and stories about growing up Jewish in Omaha, Nebraska. Here’s how great Everything Is Going To Be Great is: I almost (almost!) stole my librarian friend’s library copy so I could finish it (I now own my own).
Her latest, Starstruck, may seem like an unlikely departure. It’s a young adult novel set in the 1930s about teenager Margaret Frobischer, who leaves her well-to-do family behind to pursue success in Hollywood. On the lot of Olympus Studios, Margaret (renamed Margo by the studio) befriends fellow starlet Gabby Preston, ogles leading man Dane Forrest, and puzzles over the mystery of star Diana Chesterfield’s disappearance. And here’s why Starstruck is great: it’s rife with juicy period details, and exposes the seedy side of what it took to succeed in the film industry — plus, it has tons of fascinating little tidbits about life in the weird Hollywood studio system. And don’t let the “young adult” moniker fool you — there’s plenty of torrid romance, drama and unseemly characters to hook even the most depraved grownup.
I spoke to Rachel about Starstruck, her writing process, and her enduring love for all things Old Hollywood. Check out our interview after the jump, and don’t forget to grab your copy of Starstruck, available online and in bookstores now. Keep reading »