Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
As she did so skillfully with her first novel, Helen of Pasadena, which spent more than a year on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list, Lian Dolan spins a lively, smart, and very funny tale of a woman reinventing her life in unexpected ways.
Lian Dolan is also the co-author of The Satellite Sisters’ Uncommon Senses. As part of the Satellite Sisters, Lian and her four sisters found national acclaim first on NPR, then on ABC Radio and XM Satellite Radio. She also creates the popular podcast and blog Chaos Chronicles.
Lian Dolan is a writer, producer, talk show host, podcast pioneer, social media consultant and author of the new novel, Helen of Pasadena. She currently writes and produces the weekly podcast and blog The Chaos Chronicles, a humorous look at modern motherhood. She is also a regular weekly contributor to Oprah.com as a parenting expert. A decade ago, Lian created Satellite Sisters, an award-winning radio talk show, blog and website with her four real sisters. From 2000 to 2009, Satellite Sisters won eight Gracie Allen Awards for Excellence in Women’s Media and enjoyed a nationwide audience of a million listeners a week. Lian is also the co-author of Satellite Sisters UnCommon Senses, published in 2001 by Riverhead (sales to date: 75,000). Her writing has appeared in many national magazines, including regular columns in O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother and essays in such anthologies as Chicken Soup for the Sisters Soul. TV appearances have included The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a popular speaker for groups and corporations, always using humor as hook.
Go, Dog, Go. To this day, I love dogs and I love cars and I especially love dogs in cars.
2. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Curtis Sittenfeld’s new book Sisterland. I love her writing. It’s clean, fluid and completely without sentimentality, but she manages to get into the heads and hearts of her characters. This book is about identical twin sisters who are gifted with ESP and there’s a very clever story engine driving the whole narrative. I have an affection for sister stories, having four big sisters myself, and my mother was an identical twin, so I’m enjoying that relationship in the book. Plus, it’s a great name for a book: Sisterland. I wish I’d trademarked it.
3. How does your garden grow?
With plenty of Southern California sunshine and many hours of tending. I am in the “gardening as therapy” camp and nothing puts the world into perspective like a couple hours of weeding and mulching. Or wandering around garden in the morning with my coffee in one hand, deadheading with the other. Right now, my wisteria is in bloom, the orange blossoms are out and my pomegranate trees are starting to flower. The smell of jasmine is pervasive and delicious. Plus, the first bloom of the roses is on its way. I just put in the herbs and tomatoes for the summer and tossed around a bunch of sunflower seeds, hoping to get some takers. It’s the best time of the year for gardens in Pasadena, after the rain and before the heat. Magical. All that mulching pays off.
4. What is the last thing you Googled?
How to spell ‘Bridget’ as in Bridget Jones. I always forget if there’s a “d” in the word. I’m putting together a talk for a writing group called “Meet Cute: William Shakespeare and Bridget Jones” about using the Bard in contemporary fiction.
5. What makes you cringe?
Unexpected nudity in movies when I’m watching with my teenaged sons. Help! Get me outta here!
Sorry, US only, No PO Boxes !
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