Thursday, August 21, 2014

Q and A: Week of Aug. 21

Jamie Gray Hyder
Q: Can you tell me about the actress who plays Lucia on “Graceland”? She looks familiar to me. What else has she been on? — Patrick J., via email

A: Jamie Gray Hyder is perhaps best known for playing Danielle, a werewolf in Alcide’s pack, last season on “True Blood.” After her “TB” stint ended, she went on to co-star on “Graceland” as Lucia Solano, who is just trying to live life on the straight and narrow — unlike her brother, Carlito, and the rest of her family. I spoke with Jamie recently about her new role, as well as what we can expect as “Graceland” wraps up its second season on the USA network.

“Lucia wants to get a real job and be independent and prosperous, in a legal way. She wants to be able to live a normal life and have normal relationships. She doesn’t get to have friends or lovers, because those relationships are constantly ruined by the antics of her brother and the rest of her family. She’s just striving for normalcy and is constantly being dragged through the mud.”

She did give me a little tease as to what to expect in the finale: “It’s a two-part finale, and it’s definitely designed to leave everyone wanting more. I just got done shooting it, and it’s all very fresh in my mind. I’ll tell you this, when I read the finale, I was shocked.”

Q: Is it true that there is going to be another “Terminator” movie? — Kalli R., Modesto, Calif.

A: Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back on July 1, 2015 as the aforementioned Terminator in “Terminator: Genisys.” The fifth installment of the futuristic action series also stars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen of “Game of Thrones”) as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke (no relation to Emilia) as John Connor, and Jai Courtney (Eric in the “Divergent” trilogy) as Kyle Reese. I am curious as to the timeline of this film, because Emilia and Jai are in their 20s, and Jason, who plays their son, John, is in his 40s. So, I’ll guess that some crisscrossing time-travel component definitely will play a part in this movie (as in all the “Terminator” films).

Q: What has Adrien Brody been doing lately? — Gina T., via email

A: Next up for Adrien is starring as the great magician-showman Henry Houdini in “Houdini,” the History Channel original miniseries, which airs Sept. 1 and 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The miniseries follows the epic tales of Harry Houdini as he emerges as America’s first bona-fide world-renowned superstar. “Houdini” delves deep behind the curtain into his life through his stunts, visions and mastery of illusion.

Q: Will my favorite summer series, “Suits,” be back for another season? — Fallon F., via email

A: USA’s hit legal dramedy, which had its midseason finale Aug. 20, has indeed been renewed for a 16-episode fifth season. Also, look for the second half of season four in spring 2015.

Q: Will my favorite show, “Fargo,” be back for another season? — Paul R., via email

A: You betcha! FX has renewed the critically acclaimed drama — which is based on the Coen brothers’ hit movie of the same name — for a second season, especially after it racked up 18 Emmy nominations! Season two, which will consist of 10 episodes, most likely will air in fall 2015, although no specific date has been set.

Adam Korson, photo by Diana Ragland
Q: I had been watching this new show on the CW network called “Seed,” and I really liked it. Now I can’t find it anywhere. Can you tell me what happened to it? — George S., via email

A: The Canadian comedy (to which the CW bought the rights) is about a 30-something ne’er-do-well — and previous sperm donor — who becomes acquainted with the offspring he never knew he had. It didn’t do so well in the ratings and was canceled after two shows. The CW has said it plans to air the remaining episodes online.

This truly is a shame for American audiences because I had the pleasure of interviewing series star Adam Korson about the show, and he’s truly one of the nicest people you could ever meet. In Adam’s words about the show: “This is a show for those who want a half-hour to laugh and escape from your everyday life. You’re going to watch it, and you’re going to relate to it. I remember as a kid I would tune into ‘Seinfeld’ because I knew for that half-hour, I was going to be laughing and be taken on a crazy journey. I think that’s good television, and that’s what our show is.”

Q: I’ve loved Portia de Rossi ever since “Ally McBeal,” and especially in “Arrested Development,” but I haven’t seen her in anything lately. What can I see her in next? — Kellie Y., Bowling Green, Ohio

Interview: Katherine LaNasa, a Woman in Charge

Fans know and love Katherine LaNasa from her role of Sophia on “Deception”; from when she played (and stole every scene as) Will Ferrell’s wife, Rose, in “The Campaign”; and from her various featured roles in shows like “Two and a Half Men,” “Big Love,” “Lie to Me,” “Longmire” and “Judging Amy.” Now we can see the lovely actress weekly in the new USA network drama series “Satisfaction,” which airs Thursdays at 10/9c. Katherine plays Adriana, the hard-edged, high-end madam who lures unhappy husband and father Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) into becoming one of her male escorts. I spoke with Katherine recently about her new role, and she’s thrilled to get to play this interesting and multifaceted character.

Celebrity Extra: Tell me about the character of Adriana, whom I love, and what drew you to her and to “Satisfaction.”

Katherine LaNasa: A lot of my fans from “Deception” will really like Adriana. I think a lot of women really like those types of characters that I play. It was definitely really outside the box, so I liked that about it. I knew how the part read, but I had this feeling that I could really do something different with it. It’s always nice when you take it in a different direction, and they say, “Yes!” When (writer/executive producer) Sean (Jablonski) saw my take, he told me he just knew that I was the person.

CE: Did something similar happen for you with playing Sophia on “Deception”? These types of characters seem like so much fun to play.

KL: Yes, the same thing happened with Sophia. It’s fun in these serial soaps to have a character like Adriana or Sophia, but I think that the writers want there to be something not pushy about them. I seem to be able to manipulate most of these characters in that way. I always feel like I take a nod from the Barbara Stanwycks of the world. I felt like those ladies really knew how to do it. They were complicated, strong and dark characters in the forefront, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve been lucky to get to play those types of characters in these past few series.

CE: Tell me about the differences between Adriana and Sophia. How do you make each of these characters different and your own?

KL: It’s been an interesting balance to play Adriana versus Sophia. For Sophia I came up with that weird accent that she had — it just felt really right to have this fake sort of British accent. Everyone I’ve known who has that accent is from the Midwest. I’ve known three people from Kansas with that accent. I’m like, “That’s what I’m doing, dude.” Like I’m doing it on purpose.

With Adriana, I kind of modeled her after women I met in the art scene, the fancy art and music scene that I was in with (first husband) Dennis Hopper when I was in my 20s back in the late ’80s in New York. Before and after that, I was a professional ballet dancer, and I was traveling the world when I met him. The life I had with him — I give him credit for that — there are things you know because you get to go to those places, which you wouldn’t have known know if you hadn’t gone, if you haven’t been in those social circles. I think I was able to bring that to this character and feel like there’s something about a lot of those ex models. There’s simplicity with their style. Adriana’s a woman who doesn’t try too hard.

CE: How difficult has it been shooting “Satisfaction,” with Grant being busy with “Devious Maids”?

KL: Well, it’s always fun to be in New York and to shoot in New York, but I have had a surprisingly enjoyable and pleasant time here in Atlanta. It’s really nice that Grant’s show, “Devious Maids,” shoots here as well. I have this funny feeling that if our show gets picked up, it might even just shoot at the same time next year, which will be amazing. This year we overlapped [our shooting schedules]; it’s better if they are overlapping — if we’re both out of town together — so we just both work in Atlanta, and then we both go home.

CE: You were about five months pregnant when you shot that love scene in the pilot episode, and, by God, you looked fabulous!

KL: Thank you! I was about four-and-a-half or five months pregnant when I did that love scene. By the time we got to the art-gallery scene, I was about five-and-a-half months pregnant.

CE: I did notice judicious placement of large handbags during the gallery scene.

KL: Those bags are by Hayward Luxury, designed by Dennis Hopper’s daughter, Marin. She’s been working on them for years, but they’re now at this level where they are going to have their own store and everything.

CE: How is it working on the set of “Satisfaction,” and how are the cast and crew?

KL: It’s one of the best sets I’ve been on. It’s really happy, and the people are really nice. Everybody is just really nice and down-to-earth. I’m probably the most “Hollywood” of them all — and half the time I’m either pumping or nursing my baby on the set. It’s a really family-oriented environment. Matt (Passmore, Neil Truman) and I are usually joking around, laughing or talking. He’s a really terrific actor. He’s one of those people where you don’t necessarily see all of what he’s doing when you’re working with him, but when I saw the pilot, I was like: “Wow. This guy’s a really complicated actor.” He has an incredibly rich inner life.

CE: And that’s what made him a fan favorite when he starred in “The Glades” as well.

KL: Exactly. He just plays those characters so well. It’s funny, because Neil Truman is such an everyman, and Adriana’s such a worldly, complicated person. It’s not that he’s stupid, but I don’t think he’s come across a person like Adriana before, and he just really plays it so well. I was watching one of our scenes the other day, and I just thought: “Oh my God. This poor guy.” He does not know what he has gotten himself into. It’s like “Alice in Wonderland” — and I am the Mad Hatter, and he is Alice.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Renewed or Canceled — Fall 2014/15

Renewed shows for the 2014-2015 television season:

ABC — “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “The Bachelor,” “Castle,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Goldbergs,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” “Nashville,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Resurrection,” “Revenge,” “Scandal” and “Shark Tank”

CBS — “2 Broke Girls,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Blue Bloods,” “Criminal Minds,” “CSI,” “Elementary,” “The Good Wife,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “The Mentalist,” “Mike and Molly,” “The Millers,” “Mom,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: LA,” “Person of Interest” and “Two and a Half Men”

CW — “Arrow,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hart of Dixie,” “The 100,” “The Originals,” “Reign,” “Supernatural” and “Vampire Diaries”

Fox — “American Idol,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Bones,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Family Guy,” “The Following,” “Glee,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Masterchef Junior,” “The Mindy Project,” “New Girl,” “The Simpsons” and “Sleepy Hollow”

NBC — “Hannibal,” “Parks and Rec,” “Parenthood,” “Grimm,” Chicago PD,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire,” “About a Boy” and “The Blacklist”

Canceled (or ending) shows:

ABC — “The Assets,” “Back in the Game,” “Betrayal,” “Killer Women,” “Lucky 7,” “Mind Games,” “Mixology,” “The Neighbors,” “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” “Suburgatory,” “Super Fun Night” and “Trophy Wife”

CBS — “Bad Teacher,” “The Crazy Ones,” “Friends with Better Lives,” “Hostages,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Intelligence” and “We Are Men”

CW — “The Carrie Diaries,” “Nikita,” “Star-Crossed” and “The Tomorrow People”

Fox — “Almost Human,” “American Dad” (which is moving to TBS), “Dads,” “Enlisted,” “Raising Hope,” “Rake,” “Surviving Jack” and “The X Factor”

NBC — “Welcome to the Family,” “The Michael J. Fox Show,” “Ironside,” “Sean Saves the World,” “Dracula,” “Community,” “Believe,” “Crisis,” “Revolution” and “Growing Up Fisher”

Q and A: Week of July 21

Q: I am in love with the “Outlander” book series. Is it true that it’s going to be a series on TV? — Nina H., via email

A: It is indeed, Nina. In fact, the sweeping historical drama premieres on Starz beginning Saturday, Aug. 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The first eight episodes will air through Sept. 27, with the second half of the season returning in early 2015. However, if you’re like me and can’t wait to see the first episode, starting Aug. 2, you can watch it online at, on Starz’s Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as select cable/satellite outlets.

For those unfamiliar with the books, the “Outlander” series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history and adventure in one epic tale. The series — adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books — follows the story of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743’s Scottish Highlands. Upon her arrival, she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. But when she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) — a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior — for her own protection, a passionate relationship is ignited.

Q: I never knew until recently that actor Christopher Walken also is a song-and-dance man. Will he be showing off his skills in anything soon? I’d love to see that! — Priscilla J., via email

A: NBC recently announced that the award-winning actor and talented hoofer will portray the iconic character of Captain Hook in the network’s live musical adaptation of “Peter Pan,” which is set to premiere in December. The success of last Thanksgiving’s “The Sound of Music Live” has proved that America loves a good, live musical, and I have a feeling that Christopher and the rest of the as-yet-uncast cast will deliver.

Q: Will “The Unexplained Files” be back? I love that show. — Peter H., Wooster, Ohio

A: The Science Channel’s most watched series of 2013 is returning for its second season on Tuesday, July 29, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Season two’s 12 all-new episodes will launch viewers into another gripping exploration of the unknown by investigating more of the most puzzling, global incidents from the United States to Russia to Bosnia-Herzegovina to Mexico and more.

Q: I know how busy Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are, but please tell me that there will be another season of “Sherlock.” — Jenny T., via email

A: I am happy to report that there shall indeed be another season of the BBC/PBS hit mystery series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective book series. The show will return with a three-episode fourth season, which will start with a one-off Christmas special (most likely) in December 2015. You heard me right: That’s a Christmas special PLUS a regular three-episode season.

According to “Sherlock” co-creator and actor Mark Gatiss: “At last! It’s always special to return to ‘Sherlock,’ but this time it’s even more special as we’re doing … a special! Not only THAT, we’ll then be shooting three more episodes, which will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker water than ever before. The whole ‘Sherlock’ team are terrifically excited to return for four new adventures. The game is on — again!”

Q: Is it true that characters from the hit Disney film “Frozen” are coming to “Once Upon a Time”? Judging by the tease from this season’s finale, I’d say yes. — Steff S. in Florida

A: That is indeed true, Steff. Characters loosely based on Kristoff, Anna and Queen Elsa — who will be played by Scott Michael Foster (“Greek”), newcomer Elizabeth Lail and Georgina Haig (“Fringe,” “Reckless”), respectively — will cool their heels in Storybrooke, Maine, in season four of ABC’s red-hot fantasy/drama series. The “Frozen” story arc on “Once Upon a Time” is expected to pick up after the events of the film.

Q: I saw an ad for a show called “The Quest,” but I can’t figure out if it’s a competition show, or an actual drama/adventure series. Can you tell me what it’s about? — Paul I., Wooster, Ohio

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Interview: Eric Winter Explores His New Powers

As most of you “Witchees” already know, “The Witches of East End” returns for its second season on Lifetime this Sunday, July 6 at 9/8c. I spoke with series star Eric Winter, who plays Dash Gardiner, about what to expect this season from the show, and his character specifically. At the very end of the first season, Dash’s and his brother Killian’s warlock powers (which they never even knew they had) returned to them in full force when their mother died. The second season should be very interesting as the brothers hone and develop their magical powers.

Celebrity Extra: First off, congratulations to you on your second-season renewal. I can’t wait to see what the show has in store for us.

Eric Winter: Thank you! It’s so rare nowadays, it seems, to get a second season, with all of the other great shows that are out there. Everybody was happy to get back to work. We have a great group of cast and crew, so it was nice to get back and see everybody.

CE: How was the return to work after the hiatus? Did you all just pick back up where you left off?

EW: Yeah, we all just got right back on that bike. We all really like each other, and it’s a pretty smooth ride for the most part. Everybody was just happy to see each other, to reconnect, and it was good to dive into some new material.

CE: Along with the new material, you’ve got some new cast members.

EW: There are a couple of cast additions, which are good changes, but for me in particular, there is a massive change in character for Dash. I thought that my brother and I were very underused last year. And this year we are being used in a way that’s going to expand the cast we have and really propel the story. You’re going to get a nice, well-rounded cast and interaction of story lines now. For me personally, it’s a much more exciting role to play than last year. Dash really does a 180.

CE: Another thing I am excited for this second season is 13 episodes, up from 10 from season one.

EW: That was a nice little bonus. A little something to expand on some stories and dive into more stuff, and they give us a little longer to tell it. So that was actually perfect.

CE: Now that you and Killian are aware of your warlock powers, that should be fun for you guys to play — it’s not just the ladies having all the fun.

EW: That’s a huge bonus for us, that we have a lot more to play with and a lot more to explore. That’s been a major positive, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to playing this character. I also think it added another level to our involvement, because now we are in the know with everything that is going on. Last year, we were definitely way out of the loop with what was taking place. And now we are in on the secret. It adds to the dynamics.

CE: Last we saw Dash and Killian, Dash had left Killian for dead and set him adrift on his boat. How’s Killian going to feel about that?

EW: That’s one of the things that will have to play out for the audience to see how that unfolds. But, if it were me, I’d be angry.

CE: Dash is definitely not in control of his powers yet. Will we see him practicing and exploring?

EW: His entire life, Dash didn’t know he had these powers, so now he’s in this new stage of exploration and trying to figure out how to harness the power. How do you control it and how do you access it? It’s much like what Freya went through last year.

CE: Tell me about the addition of Ingrid and Freya’s brother, Frederick Beauchamp (played by Christian Cooke).

EW: He definitely brings a nice, strong, edgy, young energy to the show, which is great, especially for the Beauchamp family. There’s a bit of tension between him and Aunt Wendy, and he’s also trying to form a relationship with his sisters. It definitely adds a nice layer to that family dynamic — having that male energy thrown in there out of nowhere, when they didn’t even know it existed.

CE: This season’s tag line is “Darkness Is Rising.” Talk to me about that. Sounds a lot like Dash to me.

EW: A big part of that darkness is, for sure, Dash, and that rise of power and what he’s ultimately trying to go after. It also encompasses his rivalry with his brother and everything else. There are obviously other issues that are going to be problems for the Beauchamp family that will continue to come out, and that has to do with the darkness as well. That tag line in general speaks to a danger that’s going to be within East End, but also within the Beauchamp family.

CE: Can you give me a little teaser about what viewers can expect this season?

EW: You are going to see a much darker and edgier show than last year. It will have a darker tone to it. Even the risks they take are going to be stronger and bolder, which I think the viewers will like. There’s a lot more conflict and danger than last year. Last year it took awhile for a lot of that stuff to play out. This year you’re going to see it happen much more often.

CE: Everything you said about this season makes me very happy.

EW: I’m glad you like it. It’s a fun show. I really think that the true fans of the show are going to enjoy the second season much more. That’s one thing that I can honestly say. Sometimes first seasons can be so good, but then the quality of the show goes down; they run out of ideas. But I think our story has only gotten better. It will please our current fans, and I think it is strong enough to draw in new fans. I think you will be very pleased. We’re back with guns blazing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Interview: Amelia Rose Blaire on the "Epic" Final Season of True Blood

Amelia Rose Blaire, photo by Bobby Quillard
From Beverly Hills to Bon Temps, actress Amelia Rose Blaire has worked with some of the hottest young stars in Hollywood today. Her first recurring role, which was on “90210,” helped prepare her for her current contract role, that of new vampire Willa Burrell on HBO’s “True Blood,” which returns for its seventh (and final) season June 22 at 9 p.m. I spoke with Amelia about this last season of the hit supernatural drama, and she gave me an inside peek as to what we can expect this summer from our favorite vampires, werewolves, witches and fairies.

Celebrity Extra: First off, can you give me a little background on yourself? How did you get your start in acting?

Amelia Rose Blaire: My younger sister was a huge catalyst in that. She started taking acting classes, and she was always much more outgoing, more social and braver than I was. I was a very shy kid. One day I decided to tag along with her and got bit by the bug. I knew that if I was going to be an actor, I wanted to be the best possible actor I could be. So I started studying at The Sanford Meisner Center in North Hollywood and did their two-year program. It was immersive and intensive, and I learned a lot about myself. Then I started studying with the actress Lindsay Crouse, who is a wonderful teacher of mine to this day. She directed me toward the Atlantic Theatre Company Conservatory in New York City, where I went after I graduated high school.

CE: Your first big part was on “90210”; tell me about that experience.

ARB: That was the first time I’ve ever had a recurring role on any show. That was very exciting. It was one of my earlier roles, so I just felt like I had my jaw open the entire time because I was experiencing something so different. But it was a lot of fun. It was kind of like being in high school, because I was playing a high-school character, and she was a little weird. She was very strangely possessive and kind of quirky and entitled. It was fun to bring out those different characteristics, because that’s not something I usually play with. Getting to play such a strange character who was really different from me was very special.

CE: Your next big role is your current role, as Willa Burrell in the phenomenally popular “True Blood.” Tell me about your audition and how you got the part.

ARB: I had been in that casting office many times before, but that was the first time I had auditioned for “True Blood.” But I have been a fan of the show since season one, so when I got the audition, I knew where I would be and how to fit into the show. The day I got the audition, my sister was in town, and her cat got hit by a car. I went over to my mom’s house, which is where the cat was, and I went in the backyard, and my sister was holding him. We didn’t know if he was alive or dead. He wasn’t moving. And she was wailing at the top of her lungs, just crying: “Is he gone? Is he dead? Is he dead?” And I had never seen my sister like that. It was a very grounding and sobering and sad moment. There was nothing I could do for her. And the next day, I had to go in to audition for “True Blood.” In the audition, the character was begging not to die, not to be turned into a vampire, which she kind of thought was the same thing as dying. In any other circumstance, I would have made it about not wanting to die, but because of witnessing the whole experience with my sister the day before, I made it about wanting to live. And at the time, it was this gift of getting to see a different perspective. Instead of making it about dying, it was about living. So, for me that was a huge shift.

After I left the audition, I felt out of my body, which is something that is really special when you are able to do that, especially in an audition room, which can be very difficult to let go. But because of that situation, I was able to do it. I got a call later that day that they wanted to see me again. And I went in one more time and kind of kissed it goodbye, assumed it was gone. And then a couple of days later I found out I had booked it, which was unreal.

CE: Is it as much fun to work on “True Blood” as I would imagine it to be?

ARB: It’s a total blast! I mean, where else in life do you get to play with fangs and special effects and blood? You get to live in this whole other world, where the realities of this world don’t exist or can be pushed. It’s so much fun. And everybody is so sweet and so welcoming and warm, and they’re down to play and down to get dirty. It’s really a special set.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Interview: Author Em Barrett Takes a Self-Publishing Chance

As many of you know, I am an avid reader. And recently, I had a contest (which is now closed) to win a set of books from one of my new favorite authors — Em Barrett. Em has written the books “Leaving Green Island” and “The Almosts.” The story follows three 20-something girlfriends trying to navigate the present day — trying to find the right job, the right boyfriend and the right life — as we also get a glimpse into the past to see how they ended up where they are today. I tell you, I couldn’t put them down. So I decided to contact Ms. Barrett and meet the author behind this book series. And now, I introduce her to you.

Celebrity Extra: Your books take place in Michigan — did you grow up there and/or used to live there?

Em Barrett: Yes, I did grow up in the suburbs of Detroit, and I spent a lot of time in the summer up in northern Michigan (where the fictional Green Island is). Not anywhere as swanky as Green Island, or even close, but I really love it up there. I was always a big reader and liked writing, but fiction writing wasn’t something I got into until more recently. I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for undergrad. I was an English major there, and I loved that, and I loved books, and I loved writing papers. But rather than trying to pursue that, I took a more carved-out path and decided to go to law school. I went to the University of Michigan for that as well.

Then I moved to Chicago and worked as a corporate lawyer at a big law firm there for six years. Overall, I pretty much hated it, like a lot of people do. That was when I started writing “Leaving Green Island.” It was kind of my fun side project, and a way to vent some of my frustrations with law-firm politics and life. And also just a means for expressing some of my thoughts on the world generally while creating this other fictional world. It ended up being so much fun that I was hooked after that.

CE: Based on what you just told me, then you did draw from your own life to write these books?

EM: Yes. For the settings and jobs and relationships, I draw a lot from my own life — mainly because I feel like that makes it come through in a more honest way. It makes the characters feel more real, but it also makes it easier for me to write stories that come across as genuine when I actually know what I’m talking about.

CE: Are your characters based on real-life people, or just some aspects of their personalities?

EM: Everyone’s always trying to figure out who is who in real life but, no, they are fictional. I actually feel like with each of the three girls, I put different parts of myself into them. I relate to each of them in different aspects of their personalities. I definitely draw from my dynamics with my close friends and my roommates from the days when I used to live with a lot of my girlfriends in college. I’ve stayed close with them, so it gives me a lot to draw from. But the conversations aren’t real and the characters don’t reflect three specific people who are actually in my life.

CE: When you wrote “Leaving Green Island,” did you have a sequel in mind, or did that just sort of happen?

EM: There was a big break in between writing the two books, and I definitely did not have it in my mind that I was going to write a sequel when I wrote “Leaving Green Island.” I just wrote “Leaving Green Island” kind of as a fun project and thought, “I’ll see what happens with it.” I was self-conscious about the whole thing at first, so I started off just having a few good friends read it, and eventually I let my parents and other friends read it and so on. For a little while, I tried to find a literary agent and see if I could potentially get it published with a major publishing house.

I was working a lot at my law firm back then, and I was also pregnant, and then I had my first child, so I was just so busy that it felt like I couldn’t keep sending out these letters to agents, feeling that they were just being thrown in the trash. So I stopped writing, put the book away, and didn’t think about it for a while. Around that time I started seeing different articles pop up about self-publishing, and how it was making waves, and self-published writers were having a lot of success. There were all of these new opportunities to market self-published books through Goodreads and Amazon and whatnot. So, my husband really encouraged me to try that.

My first instinct was, “No, no, no. I just wouldn’t feel confident doing that.” I was really wary of the idea, but, after having friends give positive feedback on the book, I decided to get some more objective opinions and then decide. I had a couple of friends give it to their book clubs, along with a feedback sheet and say, “This is my friend’s book. She really wants brutally honest feedback. She doesn’t want to publish it and have everyone write horrible reviews. Be honest about what you think.” The response was really positive. That gave me the little boost of confidence that I needed to decide, “What the heck? I’ll try it.”

I self-published “LGI” in summer 2012, and I tried to learn how exactly to market a self-published book. I was figuring it out as I went. It was really fun to do. It was my own project where I could control everything. When I started to get a few fans, a lot of people said they wanted a second book, that they wanted to know what happened next. And they were interested in other characters. So I thought about it for a while, debating if a book about Nevada or Lizzy or even some more-minor character would be best. The story for “The Almosts” came to me over time. I was also in a new stage of my life with a baby then, so that gave me a lot of new experiences to draw from. I tried to incorporate those into the book and hoped they would resonate with other women.

CE: So, are we gonna get a third book written from Nevada’s perspective? I, for one, would love that! She’s a great character.