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Long before "What If They Lived?", I began writing movie reviews when I was 14 and that went all the way to a few years ago when I decided that I didn't want to feel like I was constantly on a hamster wheel, which is what movie reviewing can feel like at times, especially when you aren't enjoying it anymore. But when I did, I wrote for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Teentime pages, which were found in the back of the weekend Showtime section (That lasted from the end of middle school until after I graduated high school), then for Film Threat, Screen It!, and a two-year stint at The Signal, the exclusive newspaper of the Santa Clarita Valley, north of Los Angeles, in which I wrote movie reviews and was interim editor of their weekend Escape section for five weeks. Way too stressful, mostly gnawing worry about getting your copy in on time, but it was a lot of fun to choose what I wanted to put in the newspaper.
After writing "What If They Lived?", I discovered that the books I want to write next are all nonfiction, including three presidential history books. I have an idea for a novel that's still dusty because I haven't moved on that as fast as my nonfiction books. I'll probably move faster on the plays I want to write than that novel.
I'm currently doing research for my next book, about the making of a movie series I was obsessed with in my teens.
This book has a simple focus, write about the morbid ideas everyone has thought of once or twice. What If They Lived reads more like an unofficial who's who of Hollywood stars and starlets whose lives ended too soon. The chapters are very formulaic, pick a celebrity, give a biography and then a quick couple pages of speculation on what life would be like if they had lived. The book covers generations with people like "Fatty" Arbuckle, to Bruce Lee, and to Heath Ledger. That is only three out of fifty or so in the book.
While the book is really detailed on the actors lives, there isn't much of the "what if" scenarios. A good portion of the book is the person's real life. The overall writing is solid, and is paced well. The book has a morbid curiosity charm to it and is the main point for reading it. There is unquestionably a market for a book like this, especially to those Hollywood obsessed crowds. The kind of people the scan the grocery checkout lanes for the new Bradgelina news. And let's be honest, we are those kind of people.
*Originally published for San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review*
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