Spin Doctor

9.1.2009

By Gregory Miller

Can you just describe the notion of "spin?"
I like to say that there are three sides to the truth -- your side, their side, and the truth. And I think spin lies somewhere in between. Spin is often what publicists put out there to put a positive light on their clients or the company that they're working for. [It's] how you generate buzz. So "spin" for me was that catch all phrase -- that's why I titled the book as such.

What is your absolute worst memory of working in PR?
I don't have really awful ones. I have embarrassing faux pas -- I've called actors by their character names. I once worked the door for one of our launch events and I didn't recognize celebrities and I turned them away. I mean, those kinds of things were really embarrassing. But nothing like catastrophic, thank God. But I also got out of PR after a certain amount of years, so who knows. If I had stayed in longer maybe I would have embarrassed myself even more. Fortunately I got into writing.

So your exit from public relations was more about wanting to write and less about needing to get out of the business?
I had been writing short stories for years and I was an English major in college. I wanted to write, but moving from the Midwest and wanting to write wasn't exactly a cash windfall. It wasn't a way for me to pay rent. So I kind of just took a job in PR and then I kept falling into different PR jobs. But all the while, I was missing writing. Finally, it was one of those moments where I just woke up and I was like, 'Why am I publicizing or pushing everybody else's passions when I'm not even remotely focusing on my own passion?' It just became kind of empty for me. So then I finally made the leap and decided to write. And I have to say, it was very scary because obviously when you give up any kind of financial security, you know it's a big like, oh God, what am I doing? But in a personal sense, it was much more rewarding because you're doing something you actually love and you feel more authentic about yourself.

Without giving away too much, the end of the novel felt highly familiar to Lizzie Grubman's own undoing. Is this a nod to her or are you planning a sequel?
[Laughs] No, it was not a nod. I really wanted Taylor to get his comeuppance, so to speak. And I wanted it to be this really big, over-the-top moment for him because I think by the end he's definitely not the same person that we meet at the beginning of the novel. The last paragraph, you kind of really don't know what happens. I left it open for a sequel. Not everything is so neat and tidy in life, so I didn't want to end it with a bow on top, as much as we love to see those. I didn't want it to be that way because I wanted to keep it a little messy -- like life sometimes is.

Is Lizzie Grubman furious with you?
I really don't know. I have no contact with her. No one in my life does either. And I think we're in such different points in our lives. From what I've heard, she's not. She released a statement to USWeekly.com or something, saying she wished me luck with the book. I haven't heard of any backlash.

What are your plans for the future?
I have a second book out with St. Martin's that I believe is being released next summer. It's called Waxed. I'm really excited about that. In Waxed, I also included gay and lesbian characters, which to me was really important because that's the landscape of New York. And the stories I like to tell are based in New York. I have a transgender child in the book, a gay man, a closeted gay man -- a lot of different things are happening in that book.

Are you working on a sequel to Spin?
Actually I'm writing a book proposal now for a third book. So I'm deciding if I want the sequel to be the third book or if I want to wait a little bit. I love these characters, I'm kind of debating if I just want to give it a minute before I go back to them. So we'll see.

Spin is available in bookstores now.

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