Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Temptation Tuesday: Celebrity Magazines

What is more tempting than a dishy hero in a lush setting? Presents author Sharon Kendrick is here at The Pink Heart Society to talk about one of the few things that can compete!

What's the similarity between these two light English scones which are sandwiched together with a wodge of thick, double cream and a generous helping of juicy strawberry jam.......

And this array of some of publishing's finest - brightly-coloured glossy magazines with their in-your-face typesetting and titles such as Reveal, Heat, Closer and OK!?

It's pleasure, of course - but in this case a very guilty pleasure. Something you might not want to admit to......

And while you might just get away with eating the scones by spending a work-out morning in the gym - you'll be hard-pressed to mount a good defence about why you happen to enjoy celebrity magazines.

Because people love to trash them. Some of the criticism they attract happens to be the same as that which is sometimes leveled at romantic fiction: They are mindless pap. They are an insult to the intelligence. They focus the attention on a superficial world where Z-list fame and trashy image dominate instead of real issues which concern women. Oh, dear. What a shallow person I must be - because I absolutely love them!

For me they provide endless amusement and genuine opportunities for research. I like to study faces and expressions - trying to gauge the true emotions revealed when the celebrity mask slips. I analyse body language - and discovered long ago that feigned affection is as easy to decipher as genuine tenderness. I'm fascinated by relationship between fame and publicity and how the weapon of PR can occasionally backfire. All of these elements give me ideas for my own protagonists and the glamorous worlds they inhabit.

I also like fashion watching - to see what the Hollywood glitterati are wearing. It's interesting (and occasionally appalling!) to see how much someone is prepared to spend on an outfit and it must be particularly galling to see that same outfit on one of your peers. This Cinderella element is vital to my stories - sometimes I make up my own dresses, shirts and shoes - but it's a dream to be able to incorporate some of the great designers. A kind of dressing-up by proxy! But I never name designers and that way I never date my books (because fashion designers go in and out of fashion, just as much as music does).

It's true that celebrity mags sometimes include features which are not for the faint-hearted - the sweaty underarm-double-page-spread springs to mind, as does the "Stars' Bunions!" section. But the whole point is that our idols are real. Sometimes they sweat and their feet hurt. They are "just like us" and that is why we are drawn to them.

So if you'll excuse me. I've just put my trainers away and so a large cream cake awaits me, but first - there is something I MUST read......

Sharon would love Pink Heart readers to visit her blogspot: http://sharonkendrick.blogspot.com/

She plans to post more regularly and would be spurred on by your comments!

North American readers can look for THE ITALIAN BILLIONAIRE'S SECRETARY MISTRESS in January, 2010


  1. Sharon - what a fantastic post. Just the antidote I needed after a very long day of writing.

    Am currently reading a backlist of yours and liking it very much. :-)

    Thanks for the wit. You're a gem.

  2. Okay, I admit it I'm a snob, I can't bring myself to pay good money for mags like Heat... But I have been known to snoop a few when I'm waiting at the hairdressers. What always astonishes me though is I never know who half these people are...

    I'm all for seeing Gerard Butler in the buff on his latest holiday in the Med, but Gary from EastEnders or Tracy from X-Factor doesn't do it for me somehow! And Jordan and Pete (whoever the heck they are) seem to have turned their lives into a neverending magazine spread, what's that about anyway..?

    Not that I read them of course, but enquiring minds want to know, right!

    Great post Sharon...

  3. Fantastic post Sharon.

    I do read them at the dentist and the doctor's...as they can be great fun.

    I once met the former editor of Heat who is now a woman's fiction writer. She seemed very nice.

  4. Yes, I agree Heidi - but in a way, society always searches for figures to poke fun at. And if it wasn't Jordan and Pete, it would be someone else. Do North American readers know about this preposterous pair, I wonder?

    Have you noticed how - unlike most humans - food looks so GOOD in photos when it's magnified?
    Click on the scone.....
    See the jam glisten. The dusting of sugar on the surface.
    Yum! Feel very proud of this photo.

  5. Oh! Jordan and Peter had a reality show here on E!, so we've heard of them. No clue why they are famous, other than that they had a reality show.

  6. I had heard of Jordan and Peter before the E! show simply because I love to read Hello! and OK! at Barnes & Noble here in the States. We have our own version called Spencer & Heidi from The Hills. I admit to a fascination with celebrity magazines. I buy US Weekly and sometimes People. I adore looking at the celebrity fashion particularly the "What were they thinking?" I'm always amazed by the headlines, and how each magazine will contradict the other one.

  7. After enjoying this piece I had a look at Sharon's blog. She's hilarious - added to my favorites now and feel I'll be able to follow her life in Winchester, England. It looks and sounds beautiful - wish I had inspiration like that all around me everyday. Anyone else know other good Harlequin writer blogs?


  8. Elizabeth - I adore those "What were they thinking?" pieces, too. Though it must be dreadful if cameras loom at you from all directions and you don't even have the chance to suck in your stomach!

    Hello, Anonymous - thanks for the compliments and glad you like the blog.