Saturday 2 November 2013

Book Blast: Living Blond Trilogy by Allison Rushby

Book 1 in the Living Blond trilogy Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe's No. 1 teenage fan, is used to moving house. This time, however, she's relocating in movie-star style—crossing the Atlantic on board the Majestic, headed for Paris from New York City. And it really would be in movie-star style if it wasn't for the fact that she's bringing her cringe-fest professor dad along for the ride (Dad's specialization: human mating rituals—need Nessa say more?). Oh yeah, and sharing a cabin that's five decks below sea level and next to the engine room. Still, at least Holly Isles is on board. Yes, really, that Holly Isles—star of stage and screen. Suddenly, things are looking up. Looking a little Marilyn, in fact, because events are strangely mirroring Nessa's favorite movie of all time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
As Holly Isles, world-famous actress, confides in Nessa over mocktails.
As Nessa coaches Holly in the amazing "Nessa's Lesson's in Love"—the ultimate man-catching rules to finding true and lasting lurv.
Nessa fall for Holly's too-cute nephew, Marc. . . and 
Cover your eyes!
As it all goes terribly, horribly, embarrassingly wrong.
There's no doubting it. This is going to be one pitchy crossing.
Book 2 in the Living Blond trilogy The Seven Month Itch
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe's No. 1 teenage fan, is living the high life in Manhattan. Literally. Waffling and pancaking it up every morning (care of housekeeper Vera) in her soon-to-be stepmother's Tribeca penthouse apartment. Things couldn't be better. Or so she thinks, until things start to go terribly, horribly wrong, in true Nessa fashion. All of a sudden, she's starting to feel the need to pull at her collar. Yes, it's summer in NYC and things are heating up fast, including the professor and Holly's wedding plans.

Along with Nessa as her dad's too-gorgeous research assistant moves into the new family penthouse while Holly's away filming in LA . . .
As Nessa gets dumped for "Doris Day" . . .
As Kent Sweetman decides he wants Holly back, wedding or no wedding . . . and
Bite your nails!
As the cupcakiest wedding ever hangs in the balance.
Phew! The temperature's getting hotter by the second, heat rash is setting in fast—and everyone's starting to scratch that Seven Month Itch!

Book 3 in the Living Blond trilogy How to Date a Millionaire
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe's No. 1 teenage fan, is about to become a big sister—twice over. Her movie-star stepmother, Holly, is very pregnant with twins when, suddenly, B and G (that's Boy and Girl) decide they need to get away from it all.
Within hours, Nessa, her dad, Holly, her best friend Alexa, and tag-along cousin Nat are on a private jet and headed for some rest and relaxation Hawaiian style. Except that, on hitting the sand, there's not a lot of rest and relaxation to be found. The penthouse apartment they've booked is suddenly unavailable, Holly's blood pressure skyrockets, Nat is bronze-beach-boy crazy, and what's with the three cute guys living upstairs?
At Nat's crazy antics (will Nessa and Alexa really have to chain her to the apartment balcony to keep her out of boy trouble?)
When Nessa meets someone who's had the life-saving operation her mother couldn't have.
As two gorgeous babies make their way into the world . . . and
As Nessa finally gets things right . . . for once.  
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"Is this the boat to Europe, France?"
Honestly, I tried to stop myself from asking the question, I truly did. In front of me, the porter guy looks at me as if I'm a thirteen (almost fourteen!)-year-old idiot. Beside me, dear old Dad looks at me as if I'm delusional (that's because a lot of the time he actually thinks I am—he's even had me tested to make sure I'm not). And he's about to open his mouth to start in on me (again . . . sigh) when, behind me, I hear it—someone laughs. Right on cue.

I swing around quickly, my head zipping from side to side, trying to see who it is, but it's practically impossible in this traffic jam of a crowd, especially when you're as short as I am and your dad won't let you wear a kitten heel, let alone rhinestones in the daytime. I bet Marilyn Monroe's mother never said a thing about Marilyn wearing rhinestones in the daytime. Then again, Marilyn Monroe's mother let her get married at sixteen and spent a great deal of time in a mental institution, so that's probably not saying very much. I'm just about to give up on the searching thing when the crowd parts and someone dressed entirely in red, going out/in/out (in all the right places) and hips swaying, passes me by with a wink and a lift of one perfectly arched eyebrow.

"Honey," she says, in the kind of voice that makes everyone turn and look at her. "France is in Europe."

Oh. My. God.
It's one of those moments when you just know you'll think up a zillion and two perfect things to say later, but instead you stand there looking like you've recently had a lobotomy. Especially when I realize that the someone is actually a Someone and that the woman now heading up the escalator to the biggest ship I've ever seen in my life is, in fact, Holly Isles.

Yes, the Holly Isles.
Actress. Goddess. Star of stage, screen and various tabloid magazines that you skim as fast as you can at the supermarket checkout because your dad will never let you buy them, Holly Isles.

Someone whistles. And this time, I don't need to look around. This time, I know for sure it's not for me. (Laughing, sure. Whistling? I am sincerely doubting it . . .) And because I don't turn around, I don't move for the guy. The one who smacks into my shoulder and says, "Excuse me. I need to get to my aunt."
I follow his gaze directly up the escalator to Holly. His aunt? Holly is his aunt? Well, la de da. I go to give him my best "Get your filthy mitts off me, don't mess with the outfit and don't go anywhere near the hair, buster" look when my mouth drops even further. Hello, sailor! Cute boy ahoy! This guy is definitely related to Holly in a big way.

"Ah . . ." my dad exhales, the lecture he'd been working on giving me obviously forgotten. Funny, but he's got the same kind of lobotomy look as me. And he's staring straight at Holly.
It takes me a moment to get over the shock. When I finally do, my eyes move back from my dad to Holly's form as she goes up, up, up (and I'm not alone, I think everyone on the dock is watching Holly go up, up, up). Slowly, I shake my head from side to side. I can't believe it. I can't believe Holly Isles just said that to me. And it wasn't exactly the line from the movie I was thinking about, but then again, neither was mine. And I could probably go on watching her forever, my mouth hanging open (okay, so I only check out her nephew a few more times), except that Holly's now out of sight and my dad has obviously returned to his old lecturing form.

"Nessa Joanne Mulholland."

"Huh?" I finally look up, only to see him looking down at something. At my chest. Ugh. Gross. What is he doing? He'd better not be doing any research on me. But then I look down too.
Oops. The tissues are escaping again.

I surreptitiously stuff them down my black-with-leopard-skin-trim top with one hand. "I've got a cold, okay?" I mutter. Geez. So much for Marilyn's mother. I bet she never had to put up with this kind of harassment from her father, either. Except that no-one was ever quite sure exactly who he was. And, of course, Marilyn didn't need to stuff, either, did she?
I sigh my second sigh of the morning. Life. It's just so . . . unmovielike.

Q & A

About the Living Blond trilogy

Q. What's Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend (the first book in the Living Blond trilogy) about?
A. In Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend, we get to meet Nessa – a thirteen-year-old (almost fourteen-year-old!) with quite the vivid imagination. Infatuated with Marilyn Monroe, she has such a vivid imagination that the plots from Marilyn's movies somehow tend to work their way into her life. A lot. This is something that tends to get Nessa into quite a bit of trouble!

Q. Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this book?

A. There definitely was! Nessa had a funny start in life as a character. I was house-sitting for a friend, who told me to peep inside her housemate's room one day (she was also away at the time). When I did this, I couldn't believe my eyes. All over the room were huge glamour portraits of the housemate dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. Apparently she had quite the Marilyn obsession, as the portraits demonstrated. I wondered about this for years afterwards – I couldn't stop thinking about how a young person could be so obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, a star long dead. This is how Nessa evolved – I took that character trait to an even younger, stranger place. Imagine a thirteen-year-old with a Marilyn obsession – how strange would that be? What would people make of it? What would her parents do about it if it got out of control? And that was how Nessa came to be. It was interesting to stay with her over three books and watch her grow and her obsession slowly fade, with her eventually handing the torch over to a new Marilyn fan by the end of the third book.

Q. Do you think today's teens will connect with Marilyn Monroe?
A. Now that I've spent so long writing the books, I'm amazed to see how current Marilyn Monroe still is today. There's hardly a day goes by that I don't spot a reference to her, or see her image pop up somewhere. For example, just this week I've seen a Marilyn Monroe calendar for sale in my local post office, read an article in the newspaper about Hollywood's top-earning deceased stars (she was one of them) and seen her image also used to sell personalized car number-plates on a TV ad.. And it's only Wednesday! I'm hoping teens who read the books will be intrigued by who she was and go and watch her films, which are truly hilarious. She may have had a problematic private life, but on screen she is amazing – a brilliant comic actress.

 Q. What other novels would you compare Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend to?

A. I think they're a lot like The Princess Diaries series in tone (which I adore). Nessa is also more than a little crazy and reminds me of Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson at times.

About the author
Q. What are you working on next?

A. I recently finished writing another YA novel called Being Hartley. In Being Hartley, we meet Thea. Thea's a dancer, but she's also the daughter of a famous actress from a Hollywood dynasty who's going to do anything it takes to keep her daughter out of show business. Thea, however, has other ideas! Being Hartley will be released in early 2014 and I'll also release another YA novel in 2014 called Blondtourage.
Q. What do you do when you're not writing?

A. I love to travel and had a very nice stint of traveling not too long ago when I lived in the UK for 18 months and Europe was close by. I normally live in Australia (where I am now), which means a little more flying time! I'm looking forward to my next trip away – a South Pacific cruise in a few weeks' time.
Q. What sort of books do you like to read?

A. Anything and everything, but especially YA! At the moment, I'm reading Gail Carriger's fantastic Etiquette & Espionage and I recently loved (Loved!) Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park. It was so lovely I slowed right down over the last few pages because I didn't want it to end! I've just downloaded Fangirl onto my Kindle and am looking forward to reading.
Q. Do you have any pets?

A. I have a gorgeous Devon Rex kitten, Claudia. Claudia is our third Devon Rex cat (I had to put down my elderly, diabetic Devon Rex, Violet, earlier this year… sob). They're a very odd breed – rather like monkeys. They like to be up high, on top of bookcases (and shoulders!). After you've had a Devon Rex, you'll never go back to a normal cat! When I had my most recent headshots taken, Claudia was only about three months old and was into everything. I couldn't keep her out of the headshots, so she stars in most of them – one of which is on my bio. page at

For writers

Q. Why did you decide to write YA?
A. I actually started out writing women's fiction, published four books in that genre, and then realized that my voice was more suited to YA. I really love the immediacy of YA and the fact that characters tend to act on their true emotions, rather than already being weighed down by years and years of emotional baggage!

Q. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A. I'm a terrible, awful plotter. In fact, I'm such a plotter, I have a little formula for writing my books now which is a very odd combination indeed of three-act structure along with a bunch of other plotting methods (mostly screenwriting techniques) that helps to keep me on track. Of course, things change along the way, but I find that if I don't do this I tend to get lost in the middle of the story and forget what I'm trying to say and what should be happening. Like a lot of novelists, I find I have to write from beginning to end, too.
Q. Do you have a favorite writing quote?

A. I really love this quote from Harlan Ellison. I'm often asked where I get my ideas from, or people will tell me it must be amazing having such a creative job. When they do, I'm always reminded of this:
People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it. – Harlan Ellison
This is so true. In so many ways, writing books is a job like any other. Sometimes it's very, very difficult, sometimes it's easy. You have good days and bad days. And deadlines! I never forget, however, it's a job I'm extremely lucky to have. Not everyone gets to work in their pajamas or use movie ticket stubs as tax deductions!

Author bio
Having failed at becoming a ballerina with pierced ears (her childhood dream), Allison Rushby instead began a writing career as a journalism student at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Within a few months she had slunk sideways into studying Russian. By the end of her degree she had learned two very important things: that she wasn't going to be a journalist; and that there are hundreds of types of vodka and they're all pretty good. After several years spent whining about how hard it would be to write a novel, she finally tried writing one and found it was quite an enjoyable experience. Since then, she has had nine novels published. She keeps up her education by sampling new kinds of vodka on a regular basis.

  • Diamonds Are a Teen’s Best Friend
  • The Seven Month Itch
  • How to Date a Millionaire 
Author: Allison Rushby 
Series: Living Blond Trilogy
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult


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