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Oh, The Scandal!

Brooklyn-based novelist Amy Sohn turns to Hollywood for a juicy summer read about an up-and-coming actress and her possibly closeted A-list hubby

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Fun, funny, steamy, and unputdownable — Amy Sohn’s novel The Actress follows aspiring NYC thespian Maddy Freed from her breakout at a film festival to her high- profile romance with older A-lister Steven Weller. The catch? Weller’s sexuality has always been the subject of speculation. We caught up with the writer, 40, to find her sources of inspiration.

Where did the idea for The Actress come from?
Amy Sohn I was intrigued by marriage, particularly an extraordinary, high-profile marriage, and wanted to write about it in a way where people in an ordinary marriage could relate. We all feel occasionally as though the person we’re in a relationship with is a stranger. Even in matrimony, you can feel lonely and estranged.

Many of these characters resemble certain real-life famous people, so there’s a great temptation to guess whom they might be based on.
I love the guessing game! But when you write a novel — and this one took between a year and a half and two years — you have to invent the characters. One of the reasons movie stars are so compelling is that we don’t really know them. The tabloids trade on this idea that we think we know who these people are even though they are utter strangers. It was really important to me to not base them on specific celebrities because I don’t actually know any real celebrities! [Laughs]

The Actress has some pretty involved sex scenes — are they fun to write?
I don’t like books that deal with dating and relationships that skimp on the sex. I wouldn’t say I enjoy writing these scenes — sometimes it’s more stressful than writing other scenes. But it can also be — no pun intended — very gratifying.