Q&A with Byron Lane, Author of A Star Is Bored

by Heather Caliendo
bryon lane interview - book club chat
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Byron Lane is an author, playwright, and screenwriter. His debut novel A Star is Bored will publish on July 28. 

Lane is originally from New Orleans and lives in the Los Angeles area with his boyfriend, best-selling author Steven Rowley (who wrote The Editor, one of my favs from last year!), and their rescue dog, Tilda.

A Star is Bored is about a celebrity assistant struggling to manage his eccentric and hilarious movie star boss, inspired in part by Lane’s time as assistant to beloved actress Carrie Fisher.

Here’s the full synopsis: 

Charlie Besson is about to have an insane job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon. THE Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and People magazine’s worst dressed list. She needs an assistant. He needs a hero.

Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, and an award winning actress, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in the iconic blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known for another role: crazy Hollywood royalty. Admittedly so. Famously so. Fabulously so.

Charlie gets the job, and embarks on an odyssey filled with late night shopping sprees, last minute trips to see the aurora borealis, and an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, and as their friendship grows, Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own leading role?

Laugh-out-loud funny, and searingly poignant, Byron Lane’s A Star is Bored is a novel that, like the star at its center, is enchanting and joyous, heartbreaking and hopeful.

It sounds SO good!! Can’t wait to read it.

Let’s get to know Byron as he talks favorite books, inspiration behind the novel, his favorite part to write and much more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

I love Chuck Palahniuk: Invisible Monsters, Survivor, Fight Club–all brilliant and reread multiple times. I loved All the Light We Cannot See, Poisonwood Bible, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Daisy Jones and the Six. Recently loved Darling Rose Gold, Graham Norton’s A Keeper, and Alex North’s The Whisper Man.

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

I still can’t believe I’m going to be a published author! It’s been a lifelong dream. I’ve always been a storyteller. I’ve always been a writer. I studied journalism in college and was a news reporter for many years. I’ve written everything: News, movies, television, webseries, and last but not least–my book! I can’t wait for it to be out in the world and I hope I’m lucky enough to write book two and three and more!

What are some of the differences in writing fiction compared to your screenwriting work? 

Screenwriting is faster and more compressed. At the end of a script, you’ve written about 100 pages versus 300 for a novel. Screenwriting also requires faith in the institution of filmmaking: Actors and directors and studios will determine what your finished product looks like. In film, there are many gatekeepers and variables. With a novel, it’s just me. And then an agent and editor. It’s fewer hands in the pot. With film, there’s also no guarantee your work will ever make it to theaters or TV. With a novel, even if there’s no agent or publisher, you can still publish it yourself. They say theatre is an actor’s medium, television is a TV writer’s medium, film is a director’s medium. A novel is the author’s medium.

A Star is Bored was inspired by your work and friendship with the late Carrie Fisher, how much of the book is true-to-life?

Carrie and I had some wild times together–some of the best times of my life. Although this book is fiction and not about her, I did try to capture the spirit of what it was like to be a celebrity assistant for a larger-than-life movie star. And there are the seeds of some of our adventures–we did go dog sledding in Canada and stayed in an emperor’s hotel in Japan and took a gay cruise to the Bahamas. Some of that is inspired in the book, but many details and much of the plot are not exactly true to life.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

The beginning was my favorite. In fact, the original first chapter was so long I had to cut it way down so we met Kathi Kannon sooner. It was based on when I first met Carrie and that job interview was so magical and surreal that I remember every single detail and it’s hard to not want to over-write about it. I tried to capture the moment and hope you get a sense of that when you read it.

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Currently reading Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore and it’s so, so beautifully written. Excited to read Sad Janet, Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Shadows. My wish list is so long!

Click here to order A Star is Bored on Amazon.

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