Some Nerveby Jane Heller
Thirty-year-old Celebrity journalist Ann Roth has one last chance to prove herself. She is different from the other reporters at Famous, the L.A. magazine, where she has her dream job interviewing stars like Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie. She values her ethics—she doesn't pick through people's garbage, doesn't print rumor and gossip, doesn't try/em>
Thirty-year-old Celebrity journalist Ann Roth has one last chance to prove herself. She is different from the other reporters at Famous, the L.A. magazine, where she has her dream job interviewing stars like Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie. She values her ethics—she doesn't pick through people's garbage, doesn't print rumor and gossip, doesn't try to pervert the truth. But when her editor tells her she's too nice, that what he needs is a killer journalist who'll do whatever it takes to get a story, she realizes that she must do something drastic. Of course, her plan backfires. Not only does she fail to score an interview with the notoriously media-averse actor Malcolm Goddard (he'll only do the interview while piloting his Cessna and she has a terrible fear of flying), she gets fired. Her disappointment turns to rage when she learns that Malcolm knew about her phobia all along. He insisted on doing the interview on his plane just to get her off his back.
Hurt, disappointed, not to mention unemployed, she trudges to her tiny hometown in Missouri to try to regroup, vowing to cure herself of her fears and reclaim her career. And suddenly her life takes a surprising twist: Ann hears that the great Malcolm himself is in Middletown as a patient at the local hospital—under an alias. Opportunity knocks. Ann sees a chance for payback and her ticket out of Missouri. She volunteers at the hospital with the sole intention of pretending to befriend Malcolm in order to worm the story of a lifetime out of him without his knowledge. If she writes it, she'll have her job back and prove she's the killer journalist her editor had wanted her to be. But after facing her fear of falling in love, how much is she willing to risk for her career?
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By Jane Heller
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
Things weren't going so well for the country that winter—the stock market was slumping and gas prices were rising and our soldiers were still at war—but they were going very well for Britney Spears, who was pregnant with her first child. She described the experience as "freaking awesome" during the two hours we spent together at her recently purchased nine-thousand-square-foot Malibu beach getaway, and she confided that sex with her husband, despite her swollen belly, was "crazy good."
No, the Britster and I weren't girlfriends sitting around having an af-ternoon gabfest, although there were moments when it felt like that. I was
a thirty-year-old reporter for Famous, an entertainment magazine in Hollywood, and my beat was interviewing celebrities. Britney was an assignment for a cover story. She's generally viewed as a product rather than a talent, but she had a sweetness about her, I found, a giggly openness, and I enjoyed my time with her.
I enjoyed my time with all of them. I loved the feeling of gaining access to their private realms, loved trying to figure out for myself what it was that made them special. I'd been fascinated with famous people since I was a kid in Middletown, Missouri, a tiny place in the general vicinity of Kansas City. They were royalty to me—the beautiful ones with thebeautiful clothes and the beautiful houses and the beautiful companions—and they were my escape from what was a dull and dispiriting childhood. I dreamed nonstop of fleeing Middletown and landing a job in L.A., and I'd made the dream come true. I'd really done it. So you could say that things were going very well for me too.
Well, you wouldn't say it if you're one of those snobs who thinks it's only news if it's on PBS or NPR. In fact, you're probably rolling your eyes right now as you picture Britney telling me about her morning sickness, her fluctuating hormones, and her cravings for pickles and ice cream, but I considered myself the luckiest woman on earth to be doing what I was doing. I could have been stuck in Middletown, where people get their kicks experimenting with different brands of snowblowers, eating casseroles made with cream of mushroom soup, and needlepointing pillows with bumper-sticker-type sayings on them, and where the biggest celebrity for a while was the guy who was cleaning his rifle and accidentally shot himself in the balls. I was bored out of my skull there, logy with the sameness of it all, convinced that if I stayed I would end up like my father, who died a slow and agonizing death, or like my mother, aunt, and grandmother, a trio of phobics who were too afraid of life to take risks and live it.
By contrast, I felt healthy in L.A., empowered, energized by the constant whirl of activity and by the people I met, most of whom were colorful and creative and the opposite of dull. I mean, I was attending movie premieres, film festivals, and Oscar parties, mingling with Clint Eastwood and marveling at the merry band of women who bear his children, waving at Penélope Cruz and admiring her ongoing battle with English, exchanging friendly glances with Meg Ryan and wondering why she looks so much like Michelle Pfeiffer now. It all seemed so glamorous to me, so Technicolor, especially in comparison with the grayness I'd left behind. Rubbing shoulders with exceptional people made me feel exceptional by osmosis.
Yes, the city was my oyster or, to be more L.A.-ish about it, my sushi. I had Leonardo DiCaprio's cell phone number, for God's sake. (Okay, his publicist's cell phone number.) It doesn't get much better than that, does it?
Not for me. Not then. When you grow up yearning to be in the orbit of movie stars and then actually hang out with them, albeit in the service of helping them promote their latest project, it's—well—freaking awesome.
And as far as I was concerned, there was nothing cheesy or demeaning about my career. I mean, I wasn't one of those tabloid creeps who picks through people's garbage. My methods weren't exploitative or intrusive. I had scruples. I didn't resort to underhanded tactics to score an interview. I didn't have to. I was a hard worker and a good reporter. The new and notoriously temperamental editor of Famous, fifty-year-old Harvey Krass, had been expected to clean house and bring in his own writers when he'd taken charge the previous month, and though he did fire some of the staff, he'd kept me on. I assumed it was because of my straightforward approach to the job, my integrity. He hadn't said as much—he wasn't big on compliments—but the fact that he'd asked me to stay at the magazine spoke volumes.
So, yes, things were going very well for me. I was living my dream, as I said.
And then, suddenly, a jolt.
Not an earthquake, although there was a cluster of tremors that winter. No, this was a much more internal, life-altering shift. A radical change in direction that sent me into an entirely new phase of my life. I went from Gutsy Girl to Gutless Wonder and back again, and what I learned from my journey was this: It's possible to be chasing the wrong dream and not know it.
"Good morning," I trilled to Harvey on Monday at nine twenty-five. His assistant had summoned me to his office for a nine-thirty meeting, but I was always early for things, unlike everybody else in L.A., where traffic is an extremely reliable excuse for being late for things or for missing them altogether. I'd been raised to believe it was rude to be late, and I certainly wasn't about to be rude to my new boss.
"It isn't good at all!" he shouted, brandishing a rolled-up copy of what appeared to be In Touch Weekly. "This rag and its evil twins are eating into our sales and it's gotta stop! Right here! Right now!"
Excerpted from Some Nerve
by Jane Heller
Copyright © 2006 by Jane Heller.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Jane Heller promoted dozens of bestselling authors before becoming one herself. She is the author of thirteen books including An Ex to Grind, Infernal Affairs, Name Dropping, Female Intelligence, and Lucky Stars. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, where she is at work on her next book.
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Yes, this plot may not be that hard to figure out, but it's a lot of fun. Plus, it is an easy read that just flows. So if you're looking for something deep, this isn't it. If you are looking for a light, fun treat, this is it.
WHAT A GREAT CAT AND MOUSE GAME. JANE HELLER DOES A WONDERFUL JOB WRITING THIS NOVEL. ANN ROTH IS A YOUNG CELEBRITY WRITER FOR THE MAGAZINE FAMOUS. WHEN HER BOSS DEMANDS THAT SHE INTERVIEW HARDNOSE CELEBRITY MALCOLM GODDARD, ALL HELL BRAKES LOOSE. MALCOLM IS FULL OF HIMSELF, AND WILL NOT GRANT AN INTERVIEW TO ANYONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. SO THE GAMES BEGIN WITH ANN DOING ANY AND EVERYTHING TO GET HER STORY.
This book was comical yet it gave my soul what it needed.
It was a little predictable. I felt like it was written to be sold as a screenplay. I did enjoy it as a light read though.
I really enjoyed this book. I got so into the story I couldn't put it down. I kind of predicted the end, but still loved the story.
Integrity's got Ann Roth down. As far as celebrity reporters go, she's rare. With honest, down-to-earth decency and sharp smarts, Ann's been top in her field for awhile. But according to her new sharp-nosed boss, these respectful and sweet ways no longer cut it. When he sends her on a mission to score a nearly-impossible interview with a reclusive Hollywood heart-throb and tells her to hone her 'journalistic killer instinct 'or else'' she goes for it. Unfortunately, 'going for it' leave her with cheesecake in the face, a failed assignment and an anxiety attack. Humiliated and jobless, Ann returns to her hometown to live with her mom, aunt and grandmother, three women with enough anxiety and phobias to set anyone over the edge. Luckily, Ann gets another chance to prove her journalistic killer instinct: the reclusive hollywood heart-throb she failed to interview first time around checks into a hospital in her home town. Hungering to prove herself, Ann signs up as a volunteer to get close to him. Up until now, SOME NERVE has been laugh-out-loud funny, fast and entertaining while it continues to be those things, here it also acquires some bittersweet depth. As Ann chases after the actor's story, she also begins to look closely at the other patients. Some her cynicism slackens, and Ann becomes softer and more real to readers. Not only does she fall for Malcolm, but she overcomes many of hear fears by providing comfort to the sick and needy. In her service to others, she begins to find herself. For me, this part of the book really transcended the fun and fast beginning 'which I also loved', and became bigger. Ultimately, Ann had to decide between her career and love, and it's a real mystery which she picks. While she felt like a fun friend before, I actually began to care about her character on a higher level when she's volunteering at the hospital and discovering herself. SOME NERVE is light-hearted and a fun ride, but deals with some issues that set it apart from other similar reads. All in all, I loved it, and will definitely be recommending it to friends-- four 1/2 stars!
Celebrity gossip columnist, make that writer Ann Roth takes pride that her work is above the typical fluff of her peers. Her current assignment is to obtain an interview with reclusive but hot actor Malcolm Goddard. He offers her one chance flying in his Cesna fear of flying Ann refuses, which infuriates her boss, who fires her.---------------- Stunned, she goes home depressed to Missouri to regain her equilibrium. Not long afterward, Malcolm checks into a Midwest hospital with a dangerous heart condition. Ann sees this as an opportunity to regain her position so she becomes a volunteer at the hospital. She begins seeing Malcolm every day, but he does not recognize her as the cowardly reporter. As Anne finds herself reaching out to the patients, who some are on a lonely death row she begins to fall in love with Malcolm. She knows she must reveal her vocation to him, but that means the story or the love.--------------- Though interesting to follow the antics of a defrocked gossip columnist, neither the deceitful reporter or the supercilious actor come across initially as sympathetic characters that begins to change when the patients open their eyes. Fans of Jane Heller will enjoy watching the cynical journalist and the arrogant actor metamorphose into nicer people while falling in love. The key being that the ambitious Ann would have chosen the article over the man, but as she changes readers will wonder whether she will select the story or the hunk.------------------ Harriet Klausner