''It's not like I had to wait for Jane Austen's muse or anything,'' says Tilly Bagshawe of her debut novel, Adored, which Warner Books will publish on July 1. This guiltiest of pleasures is a racy, scandalous, tryst-filled romp that chronicles a highly dysfunctional Hollywood family. A modern-day take on Danielle Steel's and Jackie Collins' page-turning sexfests, Bagshawe's tale is unapologetically glamorous and about as far removed as you can get from the Bridget Jones-y fiction currently cramming bookstore shelves.
''There's so much chick lit out there slightly funny, very formulaic, not particularly sexy,'' says Bagshawe, 31, a transplanted Brit who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. After graduating from Cambridge, Bagshawe spent years toiling as a corporate headhunter before switching to journalism. She landed a job at London's Sunday Times, where she wrote features on everything from fashion to relationships to the L.A. movie scene. But she longed for something more.
''I love trashy novels. My favorite is Scruples.... What I hope Adored does is have the same kind of excitement and fantasy level with the characters without making them '80s throwbacks...less overtly shoulder pads and Dynasty.'' She didn't have to look far for inspiration. ''A lot of the L.A. stuff was based on what I saw living in West Hollywood. My husband's American and he's the one that wanted us to move [to L.A.]. And I just felt like I landed on Planet Crazy.'' Which we all know is great fodder for Planet Best-Seller.