Monday, August 1, 2016

WIN one of 5 signed copies of Adriana Trigiani's dazzling novel All the Stars in the Heavens (now in paperback)! Here, she talks about Loretta Young, advice to her young self, Hollywood glamour and so much more

The dazzler herself

The brilliantly entertaining novel itself

Adriana wrote and directed this adaptation of her novel

The one, the only, Loretta Young

Want to win a signed copy of Adriana Trigiani's dazzler All The Stars in the Heavens? She's offering 5 books to giveaway, and all you have to do to get one is to add a comment below this interview. First five to do so are winners! (To check your status, email me through my website  

What is it about Adriana Trigiani that everyone loves so much? I first met  Adriana Trigiani at a BEA author's lunch. There were three of us...and there was Adriana. My editor said, "Do you want me to introduce you?" Of course I did. She brought me over to Adriana and Adriana leaped up and hugged me. You couldn't help but fall in love with her. She spoke last, was hysterically funny, and talked about the other authors' books, too! Instantly, she became my heroine. She's funny, smart, and this book, All The Stars in the Heavens is as sparkling as she is. I'm so honored to host her here. Thank you Adriana!

And here is the amazing bio: Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her bestselling novels, including her latest, All the Stars in the Heavens, the instant bestseller of The New York Times, Barnes & Noble, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and Indie Booksellers nationwide. She wrote the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Big Stone Gap series, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia.  Trigiani’s themes of love and work, emphasis upon craftsmanship and family life have brought her legions of fans who call themselves Adri-addicts (a term coined by book maven Robin Kall). Their devotion has made Adriana one of “the reigning queens of women’s fiction” (USA Today).

The New York Times calls her “a comedy writer with a heart of gold”, her books “tiramisu for the soul.” Her books have been translated in 36 countries around the world. Adriana has toured many of the countries, including South Africa, with annual visits to the United Kingdom.

Adriana wrote and directed the film adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap, produced by the Academy Award winning producer Donna Gigliotti, shot entirely on location in her hometown, with an all star cast including: Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Anthony LaPaglia, Jenna Elfman, Jane Krakowski, Judith Ivey, Mary Pat Gleason, Dagmara Dominczyk, Mary Testa, Paul Wilson, Chris Sarandon, Jasmine Guy, and introducing Erika Coleman and Bridget Gabbe, with music by John Leventhal, and songs performed by his lovely wife, Rosanne Cash.  Glorious local talent perform on the soundtrack and act in the movie, sharing their gifts beyond the peaks of the Appalachian mountains. The soundtrack is now available on iTunes and in stores.

AND All The Stars in the Heavens was an instant bestseller from independent bookstores, the New York Times, Barnes and Noble, Publishers Weekly. And it's a finalist for the 2016 Library of Virginia Peoples Choice Award for Fiction.

Adriana, for this and for everything--a multitude of thanks.
Why do you think people love Loretta Young so much?

 I think folks love her take charge personality, style, sense of humor and moxie. After all, Loretta Young was cutting edge before anyone defined the edge or knew how to cut it. She was in movies from the age of 4, radio in the late 30's, first movie star to blaze on to television on her own terms-
Oscar winner, three time Emmy winner- she was a force of nature.  She had great beauty, but there was substance there- and she wasn't ashamed to say what she thought. Loretta Young's career spanned the 20th century, she managed stardom, a family and a life of faith, which is to be admired.
She had a wonderful relationship with her mother, who had a big career as an accomplished interior designer- and you know I love a great mother/daughter love story.

What was your research like? Did you find out anything that surprised you?  

 The research was so interesting, I haven't stopped reading about the era and its players. History rarely credits women with their accomplishments in any arena, but show business should know and do better, after all, half the audience is women, and without us, the stories would be duds. While Loretta Young was an astute businesswoman and had good taste and as an actress was discerning about choosing scripts, she was surrounded by women who were also making the golden age of Hollywood dazzle.  Writers including Anita Loos, Frances Marion, June Mathis, and Jeannie Macpherson are rarely celebrated, but their work stands as some of the best from the early days of Hollywood.  June Mathis invented the screenplay format we use today.

I loved learning that Frances Marion went to Hollywood to paint movie posters, by chance met the biggest star of the day, Mary Pickford who was cutting (editing) her own movies, and they decided to collaborate, actress and writer to create some great movies.  They were also dear friends, which has been my experience working in Hollywood.  Ida Koverman, who appears in the novel worked as Louis B. Mayer's secretary, but she was so much more, she was really his development director, casting director and production executive. Another favorite of mine is Margaret Booth, who began her career as a film "joiner" for D.W. Griffith. She became one of the great film editors of the last century (Mutiny on the Bounty 1935), and trained a generation of great editors including John McSweeney, Jr. (Mutiny on the Bounty 1962).  The research made me appreciate the movies and what they meant to American cultural life, to the aspirational life of the working person. As you know, those are the waters I swim in, so I found this arena so exciting, so dreamy, and thrilling.

What do you want people to come away with from this novel? 

I hope my reader gets a peek into a world gone by, with a story sprung from my imagination
woven from the disparate threads of the players of the time, recorded by historians and the players themselves. My favorite books are biographies and autobiographies. A life story told by the person who lived it is always fascinating, but it also defines time in a way no other historical writing can.

I want to ask, if you could go back to young, young Adriana, before you had published anything at all, what advice would you give yourself and why? 

I would tell her the same thing I tell myself today: be grateful, be humble, and help everyone you can, as much as you can, because encouragement nourishes a  weary soul and uplifts a yearning heart.

What’s obsessing you now and why?

The 2016 presidential election- I am reminded of the great Edna Ferber's words, which appear in this novel, and appeared in her autobiography, when she spoke of the leaders in Europe before World War II, she said, "Beware the clowns." History prepares us for everything, if only we paid attention.

What question didn’t I ask that I should have? 

Would you have liked to work in the studio system during the golden age of Hollywood?

I would have loved it. When I was working in Hollywood, I'd walk around the studio lots and think, "Ginger Rogers walked here, Myrna Loy was over there, Preston Sturges wrote in that bungalow."  There's something about a dream factory. It belongs to everyone, the artists, the producers,
the technicians, the crew and the audience. We're all hoping for the same goal: to be swept away.


Jacqueline L Larson said...

Oh pick me! This looks AWESOME. Also, love Carolineleavittville.

teabird said...

I have always admired her grace, and would love to learn more -- thank you!

Caroline Leavitt said...

Please send me you mailing address!