Once a teen idol, Gabby Randall now spends her time behind the camera. With her show Danse Macabre scripted and a green lit for a popular streaming site, she has everything she wants…except her star. Deadlines are looming and she’s desperate to cast the role of a modern-day, motorcycle-riding Grim Reaper. She never thought she’d end up hiring her former co-star, TV’s most beloved geek…and her ex-husband.
Until the day he dies, people will remember Dash Gregory as Freddie ‘Grody’ Grodin, the token geek friend of the cool kids at Wondermancer High. After years of casting agents overlooking him for plum roles, Dash wants to show Hollywood he’s more than a one-note player. He’s ready to break the vicious typecasting cycle, and he’s set his sights on the lead role in a sexy new series too hot for network TV.
When the director yells “Cut!” the star wants to keep up the action behind the scenes. Are Dash and Gabby willing to make ratings history again?
Today, Wild Women Authors welcomes author Kathryn Lively and Gabby Randall from Kat's recent release, Finish What You Started. First up is Gabby.
Where are you from? I’m a California girl, of course. More specifically, I live in the Hollywood area now.
Tell us a bit about Finish What You Started. In short, it’s a comeback story – professionally and personally. It’s the story of how my decision to shift careers, from acting to producing, brought me back to the love of my life. I worked with Dash as a child actor, and when we tried to make a life for ourselves there were interferences. Now that we are older and in charge, we have a second chance to get things right.
What did you think the first time you saw Dash? He was cute. In costume for the show, he looked the part of an adorable dweeb. In real life, he was sweet and kind and that’s what attracted me to him.
What was your second thought? My second thought was that I hoped he’d be able to break free of the role he played. Once you’re cast as a specific character, you tend to get stereotyped.
Was it love at first sight? Not really. We were young and having and fun, and my parents were strict. I didn’t want to get in trouble with them. So I played things by ear.
What do you like most about Dash? He is supportive. Unlike other people in the industry he listened to me and encouraged me to go in my own direction.
How would you describe him? Dash is the whole package: talented, hot, funny.
How would he describe you? I really don’t know. I know he loves me and would tell me that I am wonderful.
What made you turn to producing for a career? I’ve always been interested in working behind a camera – creating a story and putting all the pieces together. Acting is fun, but I feel producing and creative can keep me working longer.
What is your biggest fear, Gabby? Cancellation. When you have a hit show you love, you want it to go on forever.
How do you relax? I read, I go out to eat. Mostly, I’m happy staying home.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Our first TV show was created to capitalize on the Harry Potter craze, so I would say Hermione Granger. My character on Wondermancer High was sort of based on her.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Lead your own life. Don’t let anybody else make your decisions.
This has been great, Gabby. Thanks. Now it's time for Kat to sit in the spotlight.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I started out writing mystery, so authors like Agatha Christie and Dick Francis, and shows like Murder She Wrote had an impact on me growing up. I also write romance, but still look to other genres when I want to add some suspense to the story.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Being an actor, in a way, has similarities to being a writer. Actors must audition for parts, writers submit work for consideration. Actors promote their projects, writers market their books. Often, actors and writers look for supplemental work to pay the bills. I suppose I can relate to those in the entertainment industry who continue to reach for the brass ring.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I’ve worked in publishing for about a decade and am familiar with many publishers. I’d read a number of titles from Totally Bound and talked who authors who had recommended them. I felt they might be a good fit for this story and as it turned out they liked my work.
What project[s] are you working on now? I recently finished a category romance, small-town setting with a sports hero, which I will submit. Hopefully I’ll get a bite.
What's up next for you? I’m halfway through the first draft of the follow up to Finish What You Started. It’s going to be a bit more manic than the last one. Hope readers enjoy it.
To purchase Finish What You Started, go to:
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Kat brought along an excerpt for us:
April, 2006, Las Vegas
Gabby Randall stood at the window of their fifteenth-floor suite at the Fitzgerald Hotel and Casino, looking out at the blinding lights of Fremont Street. Thousands of them, maybe a million, blinked in rapid succession, simulating waves and fireworks and star bursts in colors she hadn’t realized existed. Down and to her right, a two-story tall neon cowboy winked and waved to passersby from his perch at the Pioneer Club. Bright yellow piping outlined his checkered shirt and knowing leer, and if Gabby moved one inch to one side or the other she could swear his eyes took on a sinister glow.
He stared at her, accusing her, as though to say Shame on you, girlie. Eloping without telling nobody. She wanted to turn away, but his eyes proved too hypnotic to resist.
“Shut up. I’m an adult,” she muttered, and blinked to break the spell. The cowboy had a name. The clerk at registration had said as much, but it’d gone right out of her head, replaced by choruses of nearby jingling slot machines as Dash had given him two fake names and paid cash for the room.
She looked past the neon smirk and studied the vibrant patterns of one hotel’s marquee. A thought occurred to her about the lights—how would anyone know to check for burnouts and replace the bulbs if the signs ran twenty-four-seven? Did the hotels each hire a specific person to stand on bulb duty? Were they like Christmas light strands, in that if one was faulty then the whole thing didn’t light up?
Why she pondered this, of all things one wondered about Vegas, she didn’t know. She took a deep breath and decided that her mind chose to focus on inane observations to calm her nerves.
It had less to do with coming to a strange city than it did with this being her first night alone with Dash. Her first night alone with any man, for that matter.
She’d never visited Las Vegas before, though she’d entertained a number of invitations from event planners. Her parents and managers, as devout in their Catholicism as their business savvy, had refused on her behalf time and again. No conventions or junkets unsanctioned by the network, or them, for her. Definitely, they didn’t want her involved in a cheesy celebrity magic show or publicity stunt. Vegas might as well have been situated on the outer rim of Hell.
Now, their say mattered little. She’d turned twenty-one the previous week, on the same day her contract with Randall Talent had expired. Marie and Walter might remain family, but they no longer made decisions for her, business or otherwise. This included her most important one to date—her wedding to Dash Gregory.
Gregory. She was Gabby Gregory now. Or perhaps she should hyphenate to Randall-Gregory, and use her given name, Gabrielle. Maybe that would make her appear mature, and more professional when she met with prospective agents to help her transition from TV ingénue to a place behind the camera.
In her left hand she held the current issue of People Magazine, the cover of which featured her with the other five principals of Wondermancer High, the television show that had served as her work and home for the past six years. In her right, a marriage certificate affirming her union with Dash Gregory bent in her tightening grip. It had happened only an hour ago, and if she brought the paper closer she could smell the printer ink. Her thumb brushed the black-marker signature of the minister, a middle-aged Johnny Cash impersonator with authentic sideburns and a paunch. Dash had insisted using a fake Elvis seemed too cliché, and that his late father—a Cash fan—would have gotten a kick out of it.
Gabby had conceded easily. She’d have stood before a showgirl in all her ostrich plumage and glitter if it meant a legitimate marriage. The Cash impersonator hadn’t recognized either of them, which was good. He didn’t fit their show’s demographic, and apparently he didn’t have a teenager who forced him to sit in front of the set every Thursday evening at eight.