I am super excited to be a part of the official blog tour for NOT IN THE SCRIPT by Amy Finnegan! Below is a fun look at tabloid journalism, which plays a role in Finnegan's debut novel. I must admit, I feed into the hype when I'm standing at the grocery store check out line and notice all the outrageous headlines occupying the news stand. I can't imagine how exhausting that must be for a celebrity to see your face, and your story, no matter how fictional it may be, splashed across the tabloids. Author Amy Finnegan gives us a closer look at this phenomena that's always been itching to be read.
Tabloid Journalism: A Celebrity’s Best Frienemy?
Many say that celebrities need tabloids to truly make them famous. But is all publicity really good publicity?
Personally, I think these statements are total B.S., and yet I support them—and pad the pockets of those who propel these myths—every time I pick up a tabloid.
But sometimes I can’t help but be curious, because what if the royal family really did have something to do with Princess Diana’s accident? What if Marilyn Monroe’s death truly was staged by the White House to cover up her affair with JFK? And was President Kennedy actually killed by the mafia? This is compelling stuff!
Some of it might even be true.
Elvis really could still be alive and living out his days on a secluded island. Right? After all, according to the Weekly World News, “experts” claim that his grave was exhumed and that the tissue samples collected from the body therein did not match the DNA of The King. They can say this with “100 percent certainty.”
It really irks me that deceased celebrities continue to be the perennial subjects of scandals and exhumation rumors. Weren’t they harassed enough while they were alive? So why do stories like these keep popping up in tabloids decade after decade?
While I was doing research for NOT IN THE SCRIPT, which features characters who have to deal with relentless paparazzi and destructive gossip on a worldwide scale, I wasn’t surprised to discover that tabloid journalism began with a tale of guts and gore. Literally.
Du Jour magazine reports that at the scene of a ghastly car accident in 1957, the guy who started the National Enquirer noticed how eager bystanders were to get as close as they could to the carnage, and zowie, a new and improved way to rubberneck was born—now from the comfort of your own living room couch.
Although tabloids have definitely extended their reach since then, their obsession with sensationalizing trauma to make it even more traumatic for all involved continues. For example, I just performed a Google search for “tabloid stories Princess Diana crash photos” and it produced 2.6 million results.
photo credit Tim Graham
Just imagine how many times tabloids have caused Prince William and Prince Harry to relive the death of their mother. It makes me sick.
And it’s not just those left behind by their loved ones who have to deal with this type of never-ending aggravation. For NOT IN THE SCRIPT, I had to put myself in the shoes of a teenage celebrity whose love life is “perfect fodder for the tabloids.”
Emma Taylor, a successful actress in my novel, has had three boyfriends in a row cheat on her, and various tales of the drama have been reported over and over again in the entertainment news. To even begin to understand what that would feel like for a teenager, I read my very angst-ridden and love-stricken diaries from high school and imagined how I would feel (even now) if those pages were published—the good, the bad, and the ugly—for the entertainment of the entire world. And not only published, but embellished, misquoted, misinterpreted, and explained by people who hardly knew me or didn’t even know me at all.
Uhhhhhhggggggg!! What a horrifying thought!
Isn’t it hard enough to figure out life and love when your first kisses, crushes, humiliations, and heartbreaks remain relatively private? What if you couldn’t even trust that your best friends would keep your secrets? Could you be certain—without a doubt—that they would all pass up the opportunity to earn a few thousand bucks every time they dished on you to a tabloid?
My guess is that it would be awfully difficult to confide in anyone.
For NOT IN THE SCRIPT, I had to consider how far I wanted to delve into the practices of
professional dirt bagstabloid journalism. I knew immediately that I could go really dark with this story. And I also realized I could make the story downright silly. Ultimately, I decided to just portray life as it truly is for most teenagers, whether or not they’re famous.
I went for realistic.
We all have ups and downs, good days and bad. Sometimes people gossip about us in damaging, heartbreaking ways, and once in a while, rumors are outrageously generous (A few days ago a teenager told me, “I heard you’re a super famous author!” Hahahahaha! But that was nice).
photo credit nymag.com
In NOT IN THE SCRIPT, Emma struggles to ignore the increasing presence of the press and paparazzi in her life. She feels desperate to protect a new relationship that she knows could lead to something much bigger and better than any relationship she’s had in the past—if she can keep it a secret, at least until she and Jake figure things out for themselves.
If you want to know more about the ins and outs of tabloid journalism and how tabloids get away with the totally bogus stories they often tell (I mean, how many children should the ever-expecting-or-adopting Jennifer Aniston have by now? A few dozen at least!), I highly recommend this “Stuff You Should Know” podcast by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant.
You will never look at entertainment news or tabloids in the same way again.
Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
Published October 7, 2014 by Bloomsbury
About the book: The best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.
Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.
When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.
Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood.
You can follow Amy on Twitter: @ajfinnegan, Instagram: StrangerThanFictionWriter, Facebook: Amy Finnegan, Author. Or Visit her at www.AmyFinnegan.com.
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