We recently chatted with Amy Poeppel about her new release, Limelight: A Novel, available wherever books are sold.
1. What inspired you to write Limelight: A Novel?
As a mom of three, I wanted to write a book confirming my belief that in raising children, mothers develop a host of skills that are applicable to many other jobs. So much of what we do as moms – organize, schedule, limit, and wrangle – requires the same abilities that a CEO uses to run a corporation. Or that a judge needs to maintain order and make decisions in a courtroom. I wrote a novel in which a woman’s experiences as a mom make her perfectly suited to take on a new professional challenge: managing the life of a mega pop star who is about to make his Broadway debut. For me this was wish-fulfillment at its finest because I’ve long thought that I’d be a great personal assistant to a young celebrity. And as a fan of theater, I relished the chance to take readers behind-the-scenes of a musical production.
2. Why does Allison Brinkley uproot her family from suburban Dallas and move to New York City?
Allison’s husband has been offered a big promotion. The catch? He will need to relocate to New York City. Allison thinks that while the move will likely present some challenges, it will also be good for everyone in the family: her children will become independent and resilient and her husband will be rewarded for his many years of hard work. She is also under the spell that New York casts on many of us who have learned what we know about the city from romantic movies and exciting books. Allison longs to live in Manhattan…but be careful what you wish for! She quickly discovers that the move is going to be a lot harder than she thought. Everything—from the schools, to the subway, to the crowds and noise—makes Allison question her decision. Just when she’s truly missing her life in the suburbs, New York surprises her with opportunities that wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
3. How does a fender-bender in front of her son’s new school change Allison’s life?
As I soon discovered after my own move, driving in Manhattan is rarely a good idea! When Allison attempts it for the first time, she hits a parked car directly in front of her son’s school, causing a scene that is witnessed by all the other parents at pick-up. She’s mortified. When she’s given an address to drop off her insurance information, she goes to the penthouse apartment of one of New York’s swankiest residential buildings. Her life in the city takes an unexpected turn once she learns who the mystery tenant is and sees that she is uniquely suited to take charge of this celebrity’s out-of-control existence.
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4. What is Allison’s first impression of the famous pop star Carter Reid?
Allison sees Carter as a rude, arrogant, difficult young man. When she first meets him, he has a black eye, an injured knee, and absolutely no one looking after him. Allison feels a need to step in. As she says, “Bringing food to Carter was a no-brainer, he was hungry and I was a mother.” He’d gotten himself into a world of trouble and rebuffs Allison’s initial attempts to help him out by yelling at her, being ungrateful, and even breaking a plate. But as a mother and a teacher, she also can see that he’s a kid who needs help, even if he doesn’t know it himself.
5. As moms, what can we learn from Allison’s experiences as she juggles family and work in New York City?
We can learn to be present for our kids when they need us as well as when they don’t, offer unconditional support, and above all, keep a sense of humor!
6. Are you currently at work on your next novel? If so, what can you share with us?
I’m working on a novel about a classical musician, her dilapidated weekend house outside of New York City, her sputtering career, and her grown and flown children who unexpectedly return to the nest. To save her beloved ensemble, she places all of her bets on hosting a spectacular musical event to honor her father, a brilliant conductor, socialite, and musical legend in his own right. Relationships within tight-knit groups, whether a family, a cast, or a musical quartet, are endlessly fascinating to me.
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