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Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva: A Novel Paperback – May 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


“An impressive leap into fiction with her instantly likable heroine Calysta Jeffries.” (Essence.com)

“A true must-read for anyone who has ever devoted any of their time to watching "the stories." (SoapCentral.com)

"Juicy, gossipy, and entirely fit for the beach." (Library Journal)

About the Author

Victoria Rowell, best known as Drucilla Winters on The Young and the Restless, is the author of Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, The Women Who Raised Me, received The African American Literary Award and two NAACP Image Award nominations. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439164428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439164426
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,418,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Victoria Rowell

An actress, advocate, mother, a former foster child and now a New York Times Bestselling author, Victoria Rowell is currently on a national whistle-stop book tour for the release of her new memoir, "The Women Who Raised Me," published by William Morrow/An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The memoir received The African American Literary Award and two NAACP Image Award nominations in the literary category, and she walked away with a statuette for Outstanding Literary Work/Debut Author.

"The Women Who Raised Me," is a New York Times Bestseller. It also landed on the best sellers list of the Boston Globe and Essence magazine. Also, Amazon.com gives "The Women Who Raised Me"  (five stars).

The memoir is a tribute not only to the amazing women who cared for Rowell when her birth mother could not, but also to the foster care system that brought them into her life. "I was never meant to be raised by one mother, but my many," says Rowell.

In conjunction with the release of her memoir, Rowell also highlights these amazing women in her new documentary, "The Mentor," which has been making its rounds in the film festival circuit. "The Mentor" was chosen as official selections in the Pan African Film Festival, the Roxbury Film Festival, the Turks and Caicos Film Festival. It can be seen in March at The Miami International Film Festival and The Miami International Women's Film Festival where Rowell is The Distinguished Guest of 2008.

A versatile actress of theatre, primetime, daytime and feature films, Rowell is known around the world for her various roles. She is an icon in daytime television as the feisty Drucilla Winters on CBS's highly-rated daytime series, "The Young and the Restless." She has been nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy and awarded 12 NAACP Image Awards. She also co-starred in the CBS hit primetime television series "Diagnosis Murder" with Dick Van Dyke for eight seasons while simultaneously continuing her role in daytime.

"FAME: I Want to Live Forever"
Born in Portland, Maine, Rowell was raised in foster care for 18 years. At the age of eight, Rowell received the Ford Foundation scholarship to the Cambridge School of Ballet under the auspices of the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. After eight years of training, she flourished as a dancer, garnering scholarships to both the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theater by the age of 16.

After dancing professionally with various companies - that is, the American Ballet Theater II Company, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Contemporary Ballet, Twyla Tharp Workshop and the Julliard School of Music Dance Extension Program with Anthony Tudor - Rowell accepted guest-artist teaching posts in New England.

While teaching, the opportunity presented itself for her to pursue a career in modeling. Soon, she began gracing the pages of various magazines, including Seventeen and Mademoiselle before auditioning for her first television role.

Rowell's Big Break
Rowell auditioned and landed a role on the highly-rated NBC sitcom, "The Cosby Show." In fact, Bill Cosby was so impressed by the young actress's poise and talent that he cast her as his daughter in the feature film "Leonard 6." He also gave her a recurring role on "The Cosby Show" as the character of Paula, the biological mother of Olivia Kendall, portrayed by Raven-Simone.

Once the acting bug bit her, she decided to pack up and move to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of acting. She began working with some of Hollywood's award-winning leading men, including Beau Bridges, Jim Carrey, Dick Van Dyke, Mario Van Peebles, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and Samuel L. Jackson

Finally, fate lent a helping hand and Rowell landed the role of Drucilla Winters on CBS's highest-rated daytime drama, "The Young and the Restless." At Rowell's suggestion, Sony Television supported a foster care and adoption storyline on the number one daytime drama, which reaches an audience of millions weekly - that is, domestically and internationally. In addition, the storyline has been praised for its portrayal of the foster care system, receiving local and national honors, including congressional recognition.

Primetime and the Big Screen Calls
On the big screen, Rowell has worked with some of Hollywood's award-winning leading men, including Beau Bridges, Jim Carrey, Dick Van Dyke, Mario Van Peoples, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and Samuel L. Jackson.

Rowell burst onto the silver screen, appearing in feature films such as THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMEN with Eddie Murphy, DUMB AND DUMBER with Jim Carrey and EVE'S BAYOU, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Diahann Carroll.

Recently, she returned to the big screen, opposite Samuel L. Jackson and rapper 50 Cent in the war drama, HOME OF THE BRAVE. The film is directed by Academy-award ® winning producer Irwin Winkler (ROCKY BALBOA, DE-LOVELY, THE SHIPPING NEWS, and the ROCKY series). Because of her strong performance, MGM, submitted Rowell for Oscar, Golden Globes, and SAG consideration.

Rowell landed a part in OF BOYS & MEN, directed by Carl Seaton (COLUMBIA COLLEGE and ONE WEEK), co-starring writer/director/actor Robert Townsend and Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett. The film is produced by Pemon Rami. Rowell portrays the sister, comforting her brother who's wife is killed in a senseless auto accident. The film had its world premiere at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival this February.

On the small screen, Rowell portrayed matriarch Josette Metoyer, opposite Forest Whitaker in Showtime's acclaimed mini-series, "Feast of All Saints." The series is based on the novel by author Anne Rice. Directed by the incomparable Peter Medak, "Feast of All Saints" featured an all-star cast and allowed Rowell to explore the depths of her acting ability as an elderly Haitian plantation owner.

In her role as pathologist and county medical examiner Dr. Amanda Bentley on the Viacom/CBS series "Diagnosis Murder," Rowell co-starred with the legendary Dick Van Dyke for eight seasons while simultaneously continuing her role on the "Young and the Restless." She was also invited to write for the series, and was recognized by the Los Angeles Times for her literary contribution to the show. Also, while on "Diagnosis Murder," Rowell opened the doors for Los Angeles foster youth to be employed by Viacom as production assistants.

Giving Back
Having spent eighteen years in foster care, Rowell became a passionate voice for children like herself. In 1990, she founded the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan (RFCPP), which enriches foster children through artistic and athletic expression. In addition to facilitating job opportunities with Viacom television productions, she assisted youths in getting jobs with other companies, including BMG and Oxygen. For more information about her charity, visit www.rowellfosterchildren.org.

RFCPP partners with many other philanthropists, charities, foundations and businesses, including Sony, CBS Television, the "Dr. Phil Show," the Magic Johnson Foundation, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Cedric The Entertainer, Lorna Kyles, Sharon Stone, Camp to Belong, the California Endowment, and many others.

Rowell is an active contributor and or supporter of Americans for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, the Urban League, the NAACP, the Administration of Children's Services, NYC, New Yorkers for Children, the Alliance for Children's Rights, the Children's Defense Fund, Hope WorldWide and the Department of Children and Family Services in various states.

For years, Rowell has been the national spokesperson for Casey Family Services -- an arm of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In part, United Parcel Service visionary, Jim Casey, founded the foundation.

Rowell has been recognized for her contributions in educating and supporting foster children. She has received the Harvard Mentoring Project Certificate from the Center for Health/Harvard School of Public Health, the first National Arts Award from the National Association of Counties and the United Nations Association Award for her continuous efforts with foster care and adoption as well as her work on human rights and world peace. Recently, Rowell received honorary doctorate's degrees from the University of Southern Maine and Wheelock College in Boston. In addition, Rowell has been honored as a National Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

She uses her celebrity status to bring a heightened awareness and understanding about foster care to a national audience. She has been featured on various news programs and talk television shows, including CNN, CBN and BET as well as guest appearances on "The View," the "Today Show," the "CBS Morning Show," the "Dr. Phil Show" and the "Montel Williams Show" for her work on foster care. She has also shared her story with millions of readers of People, Glamour, Essence, Jet, and Black Enterprise magazines - just to name a few.

Final Notes
Very few actors embody the talent, determination and perseverance it takes to flourish in the entertainment world while understanding the importance of sharing it with the world. Victoria Rowell is that special persona. A true Renaissance woman.

Rowell's sizzling novel "Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva" to be released by Simon & Schuster/Atria, May 4, 2010

Visit additional information please visit www.victoriarowell.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What I liked about this book was that it was a fun read, in that it had a lot of juicy scandals and plots. But what I really did not like, and what ultimately makes me want to stop reading the book, is the writing style, the lack of creativity, and how silly some parts were. The writing style is so amateur it makes the Shopaholic series look like it was written by Upton Sinclair. Perhaps it's just because I don't like to hear slang words or swear words every 5 sentences. There was a lack of creativity. For example, this book is definitely the secrets of a soap opera diva because it is just that melodramatic and cliche.

The characters were so stock. The reader only has the option of loving or hating them. The villains were people who had NO good traits at all, unless you count the ability to willingly overdose on Viagra (Randall). The heroes were people who were built up to be great, awesome, and perfect. And it's just ridiculous. There were some parts of the book that made me think "Really, Victoria Rowell, really? Did you really just write that?"

It's a FUN book. Don't get me wrong.

But it is just a little too trashy. But at least it doesn't get boring... right?

I ordered this book after reading a few pages from it at Borders. But I wish I had looked over the book more carefully, because then I could've spent my money on something better.
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I tried this book, but it was so confusing I could only get to chapter ten, and had to put it down. I didn't like the arrogance of the characters,the blind items and all the other messiness. You have to be a Young and Restless fan to appreciate this book. It also was a book I couldn't learn anything from. I read to learn and to be entertained. Any book I have struggle to read, is a waste. If I hadn't brought on Kindle I could have given to others to pass around and share, now I may have to delete it, or wait until I am desperate and have nothing else to read. As they say in soaps, to be continued, maybe or maybe not. Either way it is at the bottom of my reading list.
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By Danielle on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I get the fact that this book mimics soap operas and their grandiose plots, characters, etc but it was just too much. I didn't care about Calysta or what happened to her, any character for that matter. I brought this book in May when it first came out. It is now September and I have yet to finish this book. I am the type of person who finishes what I start no matter how painful. I have even read and finished several other books besides this one. I think Ms. Rowel had good ideas but had difficulties executing them. I wanted to like this book. I'll agree with another reviewer, read the first few chapters before you buy this book. We all have different taste. Ms. Rowel has started a petition to get her old job back at Y&R. I wonder how much of this book is really fiction or.........
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This book was a page turner from beginning to end. If you love drama in your books then this is the book for you. Who knew that Victoria Rowell could give such excitment not only on screen but in black and white? The way she wrote this book its like you were watching on tv, you could visualize everything that was going on. I finished this book in a weekend because I couldn't put it down. This book deserves more than five stars! Just wonderful.
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Format: Paperback
"Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva" is the perfect summer read and will be a delight not only for those who enjoyed Victoria Rowell playing Drucilla on Young and the Restless, but for anyone who loves their "stories". :-)

I liked Victoria's writing style as it came across in the characters, specifically Calysta. The novel reads like a soap opera with the suspense, scandal, and dramatic flair that one would expect. Victoria gives you the story in first person through Calysta but she also gives you breaking celebrity news a la US Weekly-type reveals. I also liked how the novel deals with Calysta's life before she became a soap star and by placing her grandmother as a strong supporting character you never forget her background. I will admit that the plot moves around a lot and it can be hard to keep up with the numerous colorful characters, but the book is based on a soap opera which has many characters. Some characters you care about and never miss their scenes and some you don't care as much so you don't invest as much in their plot line.

If I may address some of the previous reviewers' opinions that the racism dealt with in this book is unnecessary, I ask them to take a look at the programming that comes on their television sets. Please tally the percentage of African-Americans in starring roles or on shows where they are not the minority and then apply that same tally to White actors. Are the numbers just a tad different? That's what I thought. Until those numbers change, addressing racism will remain relevant in a book that is focusing on television characters. It would be misleading and unrealistic to have an African-American female as the central character in this book and ignore that fact.

I highly recommend this novel if you're looking for an escape. Although I think the storyline with Calysta's real father and deceased mother was spread a little thin, I expect that the sequel will come stronger. I definitely look forward to it.
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I really hated to write this review but I felt I must. I so Often turn to this site for reviews on books and thought it was neccesary to post this one.

I tried and tried to read this book. I was so excited and so anxious to get it. It was an unreadable book much to my surprise.

The synopsis was the best part of the book. I was really on a high for it.

I suggest reading the first two chapters if you can before buying it.

I am so sad, hurt, and disappointed I bought this book.

My bookclub members were also in the same opinnion. No one was able to read much of this book.
So very sorry to post
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