Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Guest Blogger: Mari Mancusi
After spinning wild tales of time travel and alternate realities, I decided it was high time to write a book set in real life. My real life, to be precise--the world of TV News. I spent ten years working as a producer in a television newsroom and let’s just say, there’s a lot of fodder for good fiction that goes on behind the camera.
In Love at 11, 27 year old Maddy Madison works as a special projects producer, much like I did, at local television station News 9 in San Diego. A Columbia University graduate, she wants nothing more than to produce life changing news that will expose injustices and right wrongs. Instead, she’s stuck with silly, sensational stories like Deadly Dishwashers, Killer Clay, and Perilous Pets--stories aired for the sole purpose of boosting ratings through scary promos--while the most shocking news event in her town goes totally unreported.
I think when many people read Love at 11 they will assume much of it was exaggerated for fiction. But while the plot and characters are made up, the inner workings of the television news room are extremely real. For example, these “Household Products That Kill” stories Maddy’s assigned are all based on real news reports I’ve been assigned over the years. We really did air Problem Pedicures, Cosmetics that Kill, Shower Shocker and the rest on a daily basis.
In real life TV news important segments are “killed” every day because they might spark a legal battle and cost the station money. Many reporters are forbidden to “name names” of the bad companies they’re exposing in case they anger a potential advertiser. Older, experienced journalists are put out to pasture in exchange for twenty-somethings who look good on camera. Watchdog journalists like Edward R. Murrow are likely rolling in their graves.
But just as Maddy and her photographer--sexy, motorcycle riding bad boy Jamie Hays--find a way rise above the corruption and risk their jobs to uncover the truth--in real life too, there are true journalists slaving away in the trenches. The unsung heroes who work overtime to expose the bad guys, right the wrongs, and produce fair and balanced reports. If anyone can save the industry, it’s them. They give me hope for the future and inspired the Love at 11 novel.
When Maddy graduated from Columbia University, she was ready to change the world. She'd get a job at Newsline, meet a nice guy, and live happily ever after with a real designer handbag on her arm. Five years later, she's stuck producing puff pieces for the local News 9 San Diego--where "if it bleeds, it leads." S he's still single, her family's falling apart, and so is her knock-off Kate Spade.
Even a promotion--complete with hot camera guy--can't seem to turn her luck around. After all, the promotion means working with the most narcissistic anchor on the planet and hot camera guy Jamie? Well, he'd be perfect...except for that pesky model/actress fiancee of his.
But just as Maddy's ready to give up on her dreams, a secret scoop from her favorite knock-off purse guy has her suddenly chasing a huge lead. And Jamie is right by her side--in all the right ways. Can she bag the bad guy in an exclusive expose, put her family back together again, and win Jamie's heart? Stay tuned...it's the story of a lifetime.
Review rating: 4.5 LIGHTNING BOLTS
Review: Maddy is ready for the world, but is the world ready for her?
Love at 11 is a great glimpse into Maddy's life. She's a dreamer, she's ambitious, a go getter, but what happens when life doesn't turn out the way she planned? Fast forward to years later, the same ol, same ol life and not a change happening. But that's just the beginning. Even when something happens, Maddy isn't sure how it will affect her, but slowly, things change....
I really enjoyed this story! I can relate to Maddy- the big dreams and then they kind of fall off as life intervenes. She's got a lot of spark and spunk, and I admire how much she keeps going even when sometimes, she doesn't want to. I love the humor of the book- very light hearted, but with real life elements, too. Love at 11 is a story I think any dreamer would enjoy. Don't miss out!
Mari Mancusi is a multiple Emmy award-winning television producer and author of novels for adults and teens. She’s worked at television stations in New York, Boston, San Diego, and Orlando and is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications. When not writing or producing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, 80s music, and her favorite guilty pleasure—videogames. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob and their daughter Avalon.
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