Some celebrities are just too darned modest to toss off a memoir. But they yearn to write, so they’ve taken word processor in hand to create fictional characters who–hey, wait a sec!–look an awful lot like themselves. Witness a new genre in show-business fiction: the self-promoting fable.
The protagonist of last year’s Ethan Hawke debut novel, “The Hottest State,” is an angst-ridden New York actor who, like Hawke, dropped out of college after only one semester. In LeAnn Rimes’ new Christmas fable, “Holiday in Your Heart,” a teenage country singer (named “Anna Lee”) performs for adoring fans and has appeared on “Star Search”… eerily, just like Rimes! What’s more, in Michael Bolton’s recent children’s book “The Secret of the Lost Kingdom,” the illustrations of heroic knight Prince Marlon highlight his long, flowing blonde locks. (Perhaps Bolton will give the Prince’s mane an about-time trim in the second edition.)
You can’t pin this penchant for self-reference solely on Hollywood egos, however. “It’s known that many first novels are really about their author,” says psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman, who specializes in studying the media. “It’s more obvious in stars’ fictions because we already know a lot about these celebrities.” Hmm… maybe someone should check to see if Stephen King once blew up his senior prom with his psychic powers.