I took some time to speak with Sarahlyn Bruck, TouchPoint Press author and fellow Pennwriter about her new book, Daytime Drama, which launches March 2. Take a look at what she had to say about Hollywood, work/life balance, and creating a persona … including on Halloween.
The Halloween costume question was all my idea; don’t blame Sarahlyn. I always want to talk not just about writing, but about the things that make us passionate enough to want to write.
So ... Q&A Time!
SUZANNE: Tell us a bit about your new novel Daytime Drama. What’s it about and why is it terrific?
SARAHLYN: Daytime Drama follows the story of Calliope Hart, a soap opera star by day and a harried single mom by night. When she finds out her show is about to be canceled, she finds herself at a crossroads—fight to save the show and her 25-year run as a soap star or risk everything to reinvent her career and personal identity. Told from multiple perspectives, the book explores the dynamics of family, love, career, and making it as an aging female star in Hollywood.
SUZANNE: How did you research the world of Hollywood and soap opera acting? Were you a performer?
SARAHLYN: I had done some acting in the theater in the past, but weirdly my experience didn’t
really apply very directly to this world. Before we moved to Philadelphia, we lived in Los Angeles, where I was in grad school and my husband worked as an editor. Most of our friends also worked in the entertainment industry, and I was fascinated by these bright, big personalities. My observations during this time certainly informed my world building when I decided to start writing about it in 2017. However, I had a lot of research to do on soap operas themselves and what their typical shooting days were like. I was fortunate to be introduced to a soap opera actor who gave me the inside scoop on all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
SUZANNE: Is there any one theme that you feel runs through all your fiction? Why is this a recurring concept for you, and does it relate to your own life?
SARAHLYN: The changing shape of family is a big theme so far in my fiction. My first book, Designer You, focuses on a mother and daughter mending their broken connection after the sudden death of the husband/father. Daytime Drama also zeros in on the family relationship between Callie, a single mother to her tween son who is also supporting her mother. They three generations live together under one roof. It’s not always a smooth ride, lol.
SUZANNE: How do you balance the creative elements of your life, like fiction writing, and the daily personal or make-ends-meet elements of life like a day job or family?
SARAHLYN: Ah, work-life balance. That’s another issue I love to explore in my fiction, probably because finding that balance in my own world can feel so elusive. Because work, family, and writing/authoring demands change, so do the ways I try to juggle those elements. Recently, I’ve gone back to handwriting a daily to-do list on a small memo pad. It’s usually a mix of day job and writing stuff. And I try to end my work day by 5 or 6, so that I can shift to focusing on my family. Now that we’re all home, though, all of the elements sort of bleed into one another, which means I may not cross everything off my to-do list.
SUZANNE: Personally, I’m a big Halloween party person. I love creating costumes, since you get to inhabit a character, almost like what we do as writers. What was your favorite-ever Halloween costume? Why did you love it?
SARAHLYN: I think my favorite Halloween costume was going as a disco roller-skater. The costume was cute, but the best part was that roller skates were part of the costume. This meant I got to wear the skates to places I wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed to, like school during the Halloween parade, indoors at Halloween parties, and after sundown.
SUZANNE: I love that! Here's why: One of my favorite-ever Halloween outfits was when I
dressed up like Linda Ronstadt from the Living In The USA album, where she wore the roller skates. I piled my hair on top of my head, wore a satin jacket and shorts, and yes, went to high school in the big lace-up skates. All day. You should have seen me trying to get up and down the stairs. That day was a blast.
Thanks for that little bit of insight into your roller-girl moment. Who knew we had that in common?
SARAHLYN: Thank you for your great questions, Suzanne!