Today I am thrilled to share an excerpt of Ruby Preston’s latest novel Starstruck in addition to a fabulous Q&A with the author. Thank you to Chick Lit Plus for letting me be a part of the excitement and the blog tour and thank you to Ruby for being on the blog today!
Starstruck by Ruby Preston
With her Broadway opening night a few weeks away savvy young producer, Scarlett Savoy, is finally ready for her brand new musical to take center stage. Only two major things stand in her way – the beautiful but mercurial Hollywood diva she’s cast in the lead and a handsome familiar face from her past who flies back into her life. From high stakes rehearsal rooms, to paparazzi fueled scandals, to the star-studded red carpet of opening night, Starstruck is a page-turning journey behind the scenes of Broadway, all set against the glittering back drop of Manhattan. Will Scarlett make it to opening night before the curtain falls on her dreams?
Author Interview with Ruby Preston
Author Bio: Ruby Preston is a young Broadway producer currently working on several new musicals on the Great White Way. She couldn’t be more thrilled to be living her dreams in the Times Square trenches of Manhattan. Starstruck is her third novel and includes many of the characters introduced in her previous books, Showbiz and Staged.
1. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?
Hi! I’m Ruby Preston and I’m a Broadway producer. My work on Broadway gives me exclusive behind the scenes access into show business. Before I started writing, I’d often meet up with friends for drinks at Sardi’s (just like Scarlett in the book) and I’d regale them with showbiz stories about my crazy theatrical experiences. They finally encouraged me to put them into a book. I decided on fiction so I could include some of the more juicy characters without running into trouble. I love how my fictional world allows me to process and respond to what’s happening in my real life. It’s very empowering.
2. Can you give us a brief overview of your latest novel and the inspiration behind it?
Starstruck is my third book about the world of Broadway and my experience as a young producer in this crazy industry. My real life experiences provide a lot of the inspiration for the book.
3. How long did it take you to write [novel]? What is your writing process like?
I wrote the first two books in my Broadway series, Showbiz and Staged, very quickly. This third book took a little longer because my Broadway career was also really taking off and it got more difficult to make time for writing!
4. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m exited to share the Starstruck is being developed into a TV show. I’m not involved in the day to day process, but it’s fun to follow along as the show is developed. I’m so excited to see it. Most of my time is spent on Broadway. There are several exciting shows to look forward to this season from On Your Feet and Hamilton to Fiddler on the Roof, so if you find yourself in NYC, go to a show!
5. What’s your favorite quality about your heroine Scarlett?
I love how Scarlett is willing to do whatever it takes to reach her goals. She doesn’t wait for permission or quit when she hits huge obstacles – she just goes for it against all odds. I try to be like her in real life.
6. How would you describe your writing style and previous novels to someone that has never read your work before?
Starstruck is my third novel. My first two Broadway novels are Showbiz and Staged. I’m a theater producer by day (well, night actually) so I try to bringing the same story telling techniques that work in theater to my books: lots of dialogue, quick pace, and action packed.
7. Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always loved reading but never imagined that I’d become a writer. Before I started writing, I’d often meet up with friends for drinks at Sardi’s (just like Scarlett in the book) and I’d regale them with showbiz stories about my crazy theatrical experiences. They finally encouraged me to put them into a book. I decided on fiction so I could include some of the more juicy characters without running into trouble. I figured I’d start with one book and see how it went. I’m thrilled to have just released my third book!
8. What would you be doing if you weren’t an author?
I’m lucky to have my dream job as a Broadway producer. Despite the challenges of working in a high risk world, I also have the privilege of getting to work at the top of my industry. The red carpets, glittering parties, and the opportunity to meet all my favorite celebrities is a lot of fun. I’ve been very fortunate to have found success in two unlikely careers: Broadway producing and writing. I pinch myself every day just to make sure I’m not dreaming.
9. Who are the authors that inspire you and what genres do you enjoy reading?
I’m currently obsessed with Sarra Manning. I can’t put her books down and literally binge read all her work. She makes chicklit look easy – and I know first hand that it’s not!
10. Being a writer is a great job but what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
One summer in college I worked in telemarketing. Having to make a million calls an hour to people who didn’t want to hear from you was awful. Plus, my boss would yell at us to “sell, sell, sell.” I lasted about a week. Thankfully, since then, I’ve only had wonderful jobs.
11. What kind of environment do you write in?
I do my best writing in coffee shops, airports, etc. Really any comfortable public place where I’m not interrupted too much. Something about the energy of lots of people around makes it easier to delve into my imagination and find my characters. Little things I see and hear get woven into my chapters.
12. If you could be plopped down into any book, which one would it be?
The Night Circus
13. Where is your favorite place in the world?
14. A few more of your favorites…
Favorite scent? Orange blossom
Favorite color? Black
Favorite food? Mexican food
Favorite word? Proper
Favorite song? New York, New York
Favorite book? Beautiful Ruins
Favorite time period in history? Now
Favorite drink of choice? Martini
Favorite celebrity crush? George Clooney
15. Either or…
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Red wine or white? White
Coffee or tea? Both
Summer or Winter? Winter
Sleep in or get up early? Early bird
Apple or PC? Apple
Starstruck by Ruby Preston: Excerpt
Scarlett blinked as a camera flash made her momentarily lose her train of thought. She paused to collect herself. Her heart raced as if urging her feet to follow suit. She could feel all eyes on her as sweat pricked her brow. She prayed that her panic at having the lens of every major theater news outlet aimed in her direction didn’t show.
She pasted her most professional smile on her face and continued, “As I was saying, thank you all for joining us today as we kick off rehearsals for Broadway’s newest original musical, Swan Song. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to a familiar Broadway face, our director, Kyle Jared.”
She gestured to Kyle with a “please save me” glance as he stepped blithely in front of the gaggle of reporters and photographers in the crowded rehearsal studio. Scarlett sagged against the wall amid the cast members at the side of the room, waiting for her pulse to slow. She knew she was being ridiculous. Of all the challenges she had faced so far while producing her first Broadway show, talking to the press shouldn’t have felt like such an ordeal.
Scarlett had attended the traditional Broadway “Media Day” meet and greets many times, back when she was a Broadway assistant. This time was different and her stage fright had caught her off guard. Introducing Swan Song to Broadway somehow brought home the fact that she was “all in” on this show.
“You did good, kid,” Lawrence whispered in her ear. “You sounded like a pro.” Lawrence was the show’s major investor and often her guardian angel. She reached out and squeezed his hand. In a tailored suit with not a single silver hair out of place, he looked every bit a Broadway moneyman.
“I’m a producer — I thought that meant I could avoid the spotlight,” Scarlett whispered back.
“Well, you’d better get used to the attention. A beautiful, young Broadway producer with a hot show. Sounds like front page news to me.” Lawrence leaned down and kissed her cheek quickly.
Scarlett shot a proud smile up at Lawrence, just in time to catch Bliss Hadley, Swan Song’s leading lady and Hollywood darling, glaring in their direction. Lawrence caught Bliss’s look as well.
“That’s my cue,” Lawrence said, winking at Scarlett.
“Don’t go,” Scarlett pleaded in a whisper. “I need you here.”
“You’ll be fine. You’ve got this. I’ll just…” He glanced at Bliss, who was still glaring. “I’d just be in the way. Break a leg!” And with that, he took his leave. Scarlett sighed. First rehearsal and the backstage drama was already in full force.
Bliss’s “casual” rehearsal clothes perfectly complemented her designer figure. Her platinum hair, à la Marilyn Monroe, was immaculate. Stylist: Check!
When it came to press, Bliss, at twenty-six, was already a master. Did they teach classes to movie stars on the art of not blinking? Even as Scarlett laughed to herself at the absurdity of that, she realized she probably wasn’t that far off. Scarlett eyed the cameras again warily. In a few minutes she’d have to face the media again. This time in a receiving line set-up: three-minute interviews, one by one, with every theater website, newspaper, and blogger with a press pass.
She suddenly wished she’d asked the show’s publicist, Karen, for more tips on how to survive these press onslaughts. Thinking of her conversation with Karen just moments before the event got her mind racing again.
“My assistant got a call from Bliss’s personal press agent. You’ll need to jump on that. Hollywood stars and their people are a necessary evil these days.” Karen had told her, sounding disgusted at the mention of her Hollywood counterparts. “I can’t have some Hollywood know-it-all thinking they know how Broadway press works, which they never do, and getting in the way. I need you to run a little interference. Get a sense from Bliss’s publicist of any issues that Bliss may have, any special needs or landmines.”
“Landmines?” Scarlett had asked, wondering where this new task was going to fit into her already overwhelming to-do list.
“Secret drug problems, anger management, sex scandal cover-ups, you know, anything that could come to light and be a distraction for us along the way. See what you can get out of him. Here’s his number.” She reached into the pocket of her crisp navy blazer and handed Scarlett a phone message slip.
Scarlett glanced down at the name scrawled on the paper and the LA phone number.
Her heart skipped a beat.
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