After Learning That Channing Tatum Is Working On A Romance Novel, I Did A Deep Dive To Find What Other Celebs Have Written Fiction, And The Results Were Pretty Dang Surprising
By Madison McGee,2023-01-30
In Channing Tatum's recent Vanity Fair cover story, he revealed that he and author Roxane Gay have been in talks about collaborating on a romance novel.
"She has almost a roughed-out outline of a story that we both love," the actor, who has written a series of children's books , told the magazine. "We just got to find time to do it. She’s the busiest, she’s way busier than I am."
After learning this delightful piece of information, I got pretty curious about what other celebrities have written novels. Surprisingly, there are a ton, from teen icons like Hilary Duff or Kendall and Kylie Jenner hopping on the dystopian novel craze back in the early 2010s, to big names like Tom Hanks and Steve Martin penning their own spins on literary fiction.
Before we get started, I feel like I must add that it's likely that many of these books were written with the help of a ghostwriter . Some celebs are pretty open about it, while others prefer to keep it on the down low!
Here are 19 celebs who have written novels, from 50 Cent to Snooki:
1. In 2001, Britney Spears and her mother, Lynne, collaborated on a YA novel that was heavily based on Britney's origin story. A Mother's Gift follows Holly Faye Lovell, an aspiring singer who lives with her mother, Wanda, in a small Mississippi town. Holly's life changes when her boyfriend secures her an audition at a prestigious performing arts school. A review of the book from Publisher's Weekly said that much of the novel focused on the mother, and added Britney fans "will be disappointed that the fictional Holly begs comparison with, but is far less memorable than, the real navel-baring singer."
2. Tom Hanks released a short story collection in 2017, and has a new novel set to debut in May. Uncommon Type contains 17 short stories, from the tale of an avid bowler who becomes a sports celebrity to an immigrant who moves his entire family to New York. In a fun twist, Hanks, who said he owns over 150 typewriters, included a typewriter in every story as an Easter egg. He told Time that he was inspired to write after working with Nora Ephron on the movie Sleepless In Seattle . "She had always given me these writing props and bonafides," he said. "Everything we worked on together we approached from a writing perspective." His latest novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece , follows the production of a movie based on a beloved comic book.
3. In 2011, Tyra Banks released Modelland , a 570-page novel following Tookie De La Crème, a girl with mismatched eyes who is sent to the top of a mountain known as Modelland, where young women compete to become Intoxibellas, a combination of supermodel and goddess. Tookie must endure obstacles like the Catwalk Corridor and Thigh-High Boot Camp in order to earn the coveted role of Intoxibella. The book inspired an entire challenge on America's Next Top Model and was even used as fodder for a Modelland attraction in Los Angeles.
4. While Carrie Fisher was best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars , she was also an accomplished writer. Fisher's 1987 novel, Postcards From The Edge, followed an actress who ends up in rehab after an accidental overdose. From there, Fisher released three more novels about life in Hollywood before turning to memoirs. Her fiction notably took cues from her own life. Fisher revealed that she was approached to write a memoir after her time in rehab, which evolved into a novel. ''It was an extreme situation I made funny to myself while going through it,'' she said. ''That's when I need humor: when there's nothing funny."
5. Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz penned a semi-autobiographical novel called Gray in 2013. The book follows a musician named Pete (told you this was semi-autobiographical) who drops out of college to pursue a music career. As Pete's career begins to ramp up, he faces several personal struggles, ranging from addiction to an up-and-down relationship with his girlfriend, who is only referred to as "Her" throughout the novel. The novel got mixed reviews, with AV Club writing that "the book reads a bit like the discarded notebooks of an emo teenager."
6. I cannot tell a lie: back in middle school, Lauren Conrad's novels had me in a chokehold. From 2009 to 2013, The Hills star kept busy by releasing six books. I was partial to the LA Candy trilogy, in which a character (who closely resembles Lauren) finds her life turned upside down when she's offered the lead in a new reality series. After that series wrapped, Lauren's literary career continued with the Fame Game series, which focused on Madison, a frenemy from the LA Candy books who earns her own TV series. From what I can recall, the books were actually pretty fun and were even dubbed a " guilty pleasure " by the New Yorker.
7. The Kardashians have published several books, from Kris's cookbook to Kim's coffee table tome full of selfies. But perhaps one of the most intriguing is Dollhouse , a 2011 novel by Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé. The book's premise is entirely drawn from the family's history and follows a trio of sisters (who, in a hilarious twist, are named Kamille, Kassidy, and Kyle) who find themselves thrust into the spotlight after Kamille is discovered by a modeling agency. Other key plot points include a massive wedding filmed for TV, Kassidy's surprise pregnancy, and a twist where Kyle starts to fall for her stepbrother. Honestly, sounds worth it just to find all of the parallels between Kardashian fact and fiction.
8. Speaking of the Kardashians, Kendall and Kylie Jenner also added novelists to their resumes after releasing two dystopian novels titled Rebels: City of Indra and Time of the Twins . The series , which made its debut in 2014, follows two girls: Lex, who lives in a place known as Rock Bottom, and Livia, who lives on a private floating island. To be honest, the plot seems pretty unclear, even after reading the synopsis, which says the novel is about "two super-powered girls who embark on a journey together." Kendall and Kylie were also pretty open about using a ghostwriter for their books. "We obviously can't write a sci-fi novel on our own," Kendall said on Good Morning America .
9. Although Steve Martin has released several humor collections, his fiction career is certainly not to be missed. He's penned a novel, An Object of Beauty , and two novellas — Shopgirl , which was turned into a movie, and The Pleasure of My Company . All of his work has received critical acclaim, with An Object of Beauty being called "an artfully told tale." Martin said he started writing fiction in the 1990s, after decades spent writing screenplays and comedy routines, and added that his love of poetry inspired him to try fiction. "I really enjoy finding the right word, creating a good, flowing sentence," he said. "I enjoy the rhythm of the words."
10. I'll admit that I'm feeling a little exposed right now because I, in fact, have read both of Snooki's novels (luckily, my reading taste has since evolved). Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame, first hit the literary scene with A Shore Thing , a novel that follows Gia and Bella, sisters who like to party in Seaside Heights. "I didn’t want to do what everybody expected me to do, like an autobiography or how to be a guidette," she told Reuters . "I wanted to surprise everybody, so I did a novel." Snooki followed up her first novel with a sequel called Gorilla Beach , in which Gia and Bella get involved in a Ponzi scheme in Atlantic City.
11. Actor Ethan Hawke has written four novels. His most recent, A Bright Ray Of Light, which follows a man preparing for his Broadway debut after being exposed for cheating on his wife, is partially inspired by Hawke's own life and early career. "I thought if I could use my experiences and weave them together to create a fictional version of reality, I could tell a story that might have a larger point in my own life," Hawke told USA Today . He also said that he's not sure he wants his children to read the book because it covers such deeply personal topics.
12. Before Hilary Duff played a book editor in Younger , she penned several novels of her own in the Elixir trilogy . The series focuses on Clea, a teen photographer who is searching for answers about what happened to her father, who mysteriously disappeared after funding an expedition to find vials of the elixir for life in Brazil. When Clea finds that the same stranger keeps appearing in the back of all of her photos, she sets out on a quest to find him, believing that he could be linked to her father. Publishers' Weekly called the first novel "largely predictable." In 2011, Duff revealed that she intended to turn the books into movies.
13. While Chris Colfer might have gained notoriety for his role on Glee , he should get waaaay more credit for being a bestselling author! Colfer made his fiction debut 10 years ago with The Land of Stories series, which has now sold over 10 million copies. The books, which are geared towards children ages eight–12, follow Alex and Connor, twins who travel to a magical world by using a magical book of fairy tales as a portal. Colfer said he began writing the series for himself, without intending it to be published. "I just did it for my own mental health to just get the story out of my mind," he told KTLA.
14. Bella Thorne has written four books, including a YA book series and a poetry collection that she claims she completed in just two weeks. The Autumn Falls trilogy centers around a teen who finds that the wishes that she writes in her late father's journal begin coming true. Thorne opened up to Teen Vogue about the similarities between her and her main character, Autumn, who, like Thorne, is Cuban and has dyslexia. "My life, much like Autumn's, hasn't been easy," she said. "We're both fighters and we continue on and make the best of it." In 2019, Thorne released The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray, a collection of poems inspired by her "personal struggles, relationships, and wild-child lifestyle."
15. B.J. Novak, who notably wrote many episodes of The Office , released One More Thing , a collection of 64 short stories in 2014. The book was pretty well received, with the New York Times calling the collection "hugely pleasurable" and writing "beneath the hilarious, high-concept set pieces and satires here beats a surprisingly tender heart." Novak told the Chicago Tribune that he thought of many of the stories in the collection during his tenure on The Office. "After that was over, I looked at all the ideas that had never gotten a chance to breathe and thought of all the other ideas that would probably come if I'd let them," he said. "And so I thought, why not write a book?"
16. In 2015, Shay Mitchell teamed up with her best friend, Michaela Blaney, to write Bliss , a novel that chronicles the adventures of a group of twenty-somethings coming of age in Hollywood. Mitchell said that several of the novel's scandalous moments were inspired by her real life, adding that she set out to write a novel that was relatable to her own age demographic, and not for the younger crowd who watched her on Pretty Little Liars . "I’m talking about my life here; there is a lot of shit that happened at 21, both good and bad, and I wanted to put it out there," she said . "I wanted to have fun with it, and I wanted it to be for my age demo. I’m not a little girl anymore."
17. 50 Cent has written several novels, trying his hand at both YA and adult fiction. In 2007, he released the first novella in the G-Unit series, which featured members of his G-Unit rap group as characters and promised to "tell the truth about The Life; the sex, guns and cash; the brutal highs and short lives of the players on the streets." In 2011, 50 Cent's Playground , a YA novel told from the perspective of a bully attempting to redeem himself, made its debut. He told CNN he was inspired to write the novel after talking to his teenage son. "I found myself explaining it to him from this perspective because I was previously the aggressor, and I went through a time period when I was dealing with my feelings in the wrong way," he said.
18. I'm actually not ashamed to admit that I've read this one, because it's a pretty good read! Krysten Ritter's 2017 thriller , Bonfire , follows an environmental lawyer who returns to her hometown to investigate a case against a plastics company, that is integral to the community, but is connected to several mysterious occurrences. The novel was well-reviewed, with Publishers' Weekly calling it a "triumphant fiction debut." Ritter told the New York Times that the novel's premise actually originated as a TV series and that she decided to spend a few months fleshing it out as a novel after being uncomfortable with the acting roles she was being offered.
19. And finally, Godfather actor Marlon Brando's Fan-Tan , a pirate novel, was posthumously published in 2005. The novel actually originated from a movie idea Brando proposed to director Donald Cammell in 1979. The pair collaborated on ideas, and eventually developed a 165-page film treatment. In 1982, Cammell turned it into a draft of a novel. After Brando's death in 2004, Cammell's widow decided to revive the project, which was published in 2005. The book follows Anatole Doultry, a sea captain serving a prison sentence in 1920s Hong Kong. After he saves a fellow prisoner's life, he learns that the prisoner's boss wants him to join her on a mission to rob a British boat.
Have you read any of these novels written by celebrities? Do any other fiction-writing celebs come to mind?
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