With the release of Closing Credits, the 9th and final installment of my Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels, the question naturally became: What’s next? My father recently asked me, “Now that your last book is out, what are you doing with all that free time?” He was amazed when I told him that my next book was already researched, plotted out, and that I was half-way through the first draft. And now that I am, I thought perhaps it was time to give you a sneak peek at what I’m working on:
After having spent ten years reading, researching, and writing about the Garden of Allah Hotel, I decided it was time that the Garden’s original owner, Alla Nazimova got her own novel. She led an extraordinary life, which has already been documented in a first-rate biography by Gavin Lambert. On re-reading Lambert’s book, I found myself thinking of the crossroads she faced in the early 1920s when her primary friendships were with Natacha Rambova and her boyfriend, Rudolph Valentino with whom Nazimova had starred in 1921’s Camille. I’ll reveal more about this novel at a later date but watch this space for more info.
I also get asked quite frequently what is happening with the screen option that was taken out by film and TV producer, Tabrez Noorani. I can confirm that the option came up for renewal in November 2018 and it was renewed. I don’t know much more than that other than Tabrez’s company has been working on the project. The wheels of that industry turn mighty slowly so there’s no telling when I will have more news, but when I do, I’ll certainly let you know.
A few blog posts ago I shared some of my favorite vintage photos of Hollywood and Los Angeles that I’d posted on my daily photo blog, and I got so much terrific response that I thought I’d post some more:
I’ve read a couple of books lately that might be of interest to fans of golden-era Hollywood:
“HOLLYWOOD GODFATHER –
the life and crimes of Billy Wilkerson”
by WR Wilkerson III
As readers of my novels will already know, the founding publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, Billy Wilkerson, is a featured character throughout the novels. There wasn’t a whole lot of information on Wilkerson for me to use so I hoped that I was able to give my readers a feel for what this guy was like–and I believe that I have. But oh my! Between the Reporter, the nightclubs, the feuds, the blacklist, the mafia, and putting Las Vegas on the map, I wish I’d had this eye-popping, warts-and-all, nothing-held-back biography by Wilkerson’s son to refer to. The story reads like an outrageous movie.
I’m on an Irving Thalberg spree at the moment. MGM’s head of production for the first dozen years of the studio’s life burned brightly and was then snuffed out all too soon. But boy, he sure packed a wallop while he was around. Both these books are by Mark Vieira.
Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince is the full-detailed biography that tells you pretty much all you’ll ever need to know.
Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg and the Rise of M-G-M is the coffee-table version. Less detailed with biographical information but packed with some of the most gorgeous photographs I’ve seen from the studio era.
I suspect that once I’m done with Irving Thalberg, my focus will shift to Ben Hecht, the amazingly prolific screenwriter, playwright, and novelist. For many years he was the go-to guy a studio or producer went to if they needed help fixing their script. He has 165 credits on IMDB many of them listed as “uncredited.” Somehow he also found the time to direct 7 movies and become a busy civil activist. I haven’t read either of these books yet but they promise to be a terrific read.
Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures by Adina Hoffman
The Notorious Ben Hecht by Julien Gorbach
I’m always on the lookout for a book that covers an aspect of Hollywood or Los Angeles history. So this one that’s coming out in May about the history of the Chateau Marmont (which opened across the street from the Garden of Allah two years later) is on my wishlist. But hmmmm…there’s something awfully familiar about that name…if I could just put my finger on it…
The Castle on Sunset by Shawn Levy (released May 7, 2019)
Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:
- Book 1 – The Garden on Sunset
- Book 2 – The Trouble with Scarlett
- Book 3 – Citizen Hollywood
- Book 4 – Searchlights and Shadows
- Book 5 – Reds in the Beds
- Book 6 – Twisted Boulevard
- Book 7 – Tinseltown Confidential
- Book 8 – City of Myths
- Book 9 – Closing Credits