Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome Lennie Ross

Blow Me
Find out more here: Blow Me

I want to extend a warm welcome to Lennie Ross, the author of Blow Me.  She was kind enough to write a guest post for my blog today.  I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about this talented author!

When asked to describe me, people often say I’m independent. I never know whether to take that as a compliment or a criticism. In some ways, I see it as a flaw. Looking back on life, it seems that my path would have been easier had I been more dependent, a little less focused, a little less driven. Independence for me is a survival mechanism. Without it, I would have likely wound up in a ditch overdosed on crack. No, I am not a drug addict. In fact, I have never touched the stuff, but I am addicted to my independence—stemming from the fear of not being able to support myself. The only way I know to squelch that fear is to bury it under work and ambition.

In writing “Blow Me” I wanted to portray the mentality and emotional state of women in Los Angeles; they are consumed by fear, anxiety, insecurity and competition. While they may look beautiful and serene on the outside (thanks to regular Botox injections), on the inside they are riddled with anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. Women of today cannot handle the pressure society places on them, but they are too afraid to admit it to anyone. We are expected to be Wonder Woman. We are supposed to have it all—the job, the career, the baby, the beautiful home, the amazing body—all with a smile on our face, and at the end of the day have swing-from-the-chandelier sex with our man. Most of us don’t have any of these things and as a result we feel like we failed at our lives.

I refer to my book as a Los Angeles version of Sex and the City, and here’s why:

In Sex and the City, Carrie and her entourage are glamorous and successful. Carrie is a well-paid columnist (oxymoron) who can afford Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection, Samantha Jones owns her own Public Relations company, Miranda Hobbes is a hot-shit Harvard grad attorney, and Charlotte York had a Connecticut blue-blooded upbringing and manages an art gallery. In the book and over the course of the 6-years television show, none of these women struggle in their lives, except when it comes to relationships. They never lose their job and they can always pay their rent, afford to eat at all the cool restaurants, and manage to get away for summer weekends in the Hamptons. Of course, there is one episode where Carrie doesn’t have enough money to buy back her apartment when Aidan moves out and she realizes she’s spent 40,000 in shoes!

When I look around my environment in Los Angeles, I see nothing but struggling women suffering from what I call the “Miss Small Town, USA Syndrome” whereby the prettiest girls from small towns all over America flock to Hollywood with aspirations of becoming the next Farrah Fawcett, Pamela Anderson or Megan Fox. For most, it never happens and they wind up hanging on to this dream for decades while working a myriad of part time jobs from waitress to dog walker to personal assistant. Because of this desperation to be something—to be famous—Los Angeles women are competitive and insecure, and tend not to look out for each other. They would rather pull the chair out from under a friend than lend her a shoulder to lean on. There is a personal, emotional struggle with women in Los Angeles. They are fighting so hard to survive and are competing like world-class athletes for a man which causes all sorts of cognitive dissonance when they try to be a good friend to another woman.

The characters in my novel are riddled with contradictions. They are fiercely jealous of their friends and talk about each other behind their backs. They want the best for their friends, and yet they want better than the best for themselves. They have credit card debt, don’t own their homes, have jobs rather than careers, and their biological clocks are ticking loudly and the batteries are running out. Their only hope for an emotionally and financially secure life is to be swept off their feet by a Prince Charming or to be rescued by a Hairy Godfather.

In SATC, the women were okay with being single, and they always had their girlfriends to return to when their relationships failed them. In my story, the characters cannot rely on their friends and they aren’t necessarily okay on their own. My novel dares to look past the Wonder Woman expectation society has inflicted on women—even if it’s not politically or socially correct to do so. Here are three women who do need a man in their lives to feel complete. That is something we’re no longer allowed to say or feel. We are taught to be independent even if we don’t want to be. In some ways, my characters are a reflection of me. I don’t want to be independent, but society has made me that way. I want my fairytale ending and so do my characters—and I think that’s okay.

Don't forget to check out Blow Me by Lennie Ross! 
You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Website!

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