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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


A recent item in Soap Opera Digest regarding Oakdale Confidential stated:

(It) may be a best-seller (which is refreshing to see for a book inspired by a soap), but call us old-fashioned: We think ATWT’s 50th deserved something more than a tawdry mystery – like, say, The Complete Family Scrapbook (released in 1996) updated for the last decade.

The fact is, updating The Complete Family Scrapbook was discussed in-house prior to deciding to go forth with Oakdale Confidential. But, in the end, P&G decided to go with the mystery over the history for a simple reason.

They believed that the one thing the long-running soap opera deserved for its 50th Anniversary over all else was the chance to keep running for another fifty years. Which meant the chance to attract more viewers.

An updated Family Scrapbook would undoubtedly have sold well to the fans. But there was nothing in that option which would have inspired a non-fan to pick the tome up.

By telling the story of Oakdale through the genre of women’s mystery fiction – one of the best-selling genres in the literary field – the hope was to not only give the fans an original adventure they could enjoy featuring their favorite characters during “off hours”, but also to introduce non-viewers to all the fun As the World Turns has to offer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Paul Leyden, who played Katie's first husband, Simon Frasier, is coming back to As The World Turns in June.

This is thrilling for me for a number of reasons:

1) I happen to be a Simon and Katie fan. When negotiations for Paul Leyden's return were going on, I kept asking ATWT's Executive Producer Christopher Goutman, "Is Simon coming back? This isn't a professional inquiry, I just want to know."

2) I've read the scripts now for exactly how Simon is coming back to the show, and it's really, really going to be fun. Vintage Simon and Katie, featuring a wink toward their past history -- with a twist that I totally didn't see coming.

3) While I was writing "Oakdale Confidential," I couldn't quite keep my Simon and Katie preference stuffed like a genie in a bottle and, all along, I've been nervous that my own ambivalence transferred to Katie. I personally always felt that she was doth-protesting-too-much in the way she went on and on about being totally over Simon and madly in love with Mike in the book. Of course, at the time that the book was published in Oakdale, that wasn't the case. This Spring, Katie was totally into Mike. They even got married this May. But now with Simon coming back... who knows? Perhaps my personal ambiguity will end up as a sign of things to come for Katie in the future...

Monday, May 22, 2006


Just a fun As The World Turns note from a name geek.

On the show, Jennifer named her baby Johnny after the baby her own mother lost over a decade ago. That baby was named after his father, Dr. John Dixon.

Dr. John Dixon was also the legal guardian who raised Dusty Donovan after his adoptive dad, Burke, died.

Now, Dusty is marrying Jen and adopting little Johnny. So even though it didn't turn out that way, the baby is going to end up being named after his adoptive grandfather. It's kind of cute.

Or incestuous. Which on soaps is often the same thing.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Check out this video news story about "Oakdale Confidential's" success!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I am loving how the writers of ATWT continue to work "Oakdale Confidential" into the current story.

Instead of taking actual plot points from the book, they are instead taking the beats of my story, and using it in theirs.

This way, anyone who only tuned into the show because of reading "Oakdale Confidential" can easily follow what's happening because they already know all of the character's relationships and motivations, but not precisely what will happen next.

Conversely, fans who have also read the book can have fun guessing what the next beat of the on-air story might be based on the incidents in the book, without feeling that they've "read it all before." There are spoilers in the book, but they're not blatant.

Katie, obviously, agrees....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The literary world continues to twist in a tizzy over Kaavya Viswanathan's novel, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life," asking questions like:

What exactly did she plagiarize? Who helped her do it? Where does the Harvard student go from here?

Me? I only have one query: Why steal when making stuff up off the top of your head is so much easier?

Think about it -- in order to plagiarize from authors as diverse as Megan McCafferty and Salman Rushdie (with a stop into The Princess Diaries along the way), Kaavya first had to read all those books. Then she had to identify passages that could work with the outline of the story she'd created. Then she had to copy them. Then she had to make them fit one into the other.

Oy. It reminds of the (probably apocryphal) story about Dustin Hoffman staying up for days to play the torture scene in Marathon Man, and Laurence Olivier telling him, "Dustin, dear boy, did you ever consider just acting?"

Writing Oakdale Confidential was particularly difficult for me because I couldn't just make up anything I wanted. I had to stay consistent to the character's voice, looks, history and abilities. For instance, Katie couldn't suddenly be (say) of Polish descent merely for storyline purposes. I had to stick to Oakdale's geographic limitations (no oceans or volcanoes in the middle of Illinois), too. These are parameters I don't have while writing my original novels with wholly made up characters and sometimes equally fictional locations.

So why in the world did Kaavya go through the extra work of stealing (and from multiple sources, at that!) when the real slacker's shortcut would have been to just make stuff up?

Monday, May 01, 2006


What I learned at the Daytime Emmys by Anonymous

1) The Kodak Theater is in a mall. Thus, the Oscars are given out in a mall. While people in pretty clothes are walking in to get their awards, people in casual clothes are a few feet away from them, buying soft pretzels and snow-cones.

2) Many hundreds of people packed into a very narrow red-carpet trying to speak to print and electronic press while getting their picture taken does not make for a comfortable red carpet.

3) Wearing a dress with a train on said red carpet is probably not a good idea. I personally, did not. But I did step on many. Sorry, Emma Samms (Holly; GH). And Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren; Y&R).

4) The actors of Guiding Light were sincerely rooting for each other. Gina Tognoni (Dinah) was in the press-room after her win, and came running out of an interview when she heard Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan) had won; later, they posed together for the photographers with their Emmys. Tom took time out from doing the interview rounds to jump up and yell in delight when Kim Zimmer (Reva) won, and Kim and Jordan Clarke (Billy) refused to budge from a monitor until they’d gotten to watch Robert Newman (Josh) and Ron Raines (Alan) category called.

5) The highlight of ATWT’s Maura West’s (Carly) Emmy night was getting her picture taken backstage with Sesame Street's Elmo and Oscar.

6) Jennifer Landon (Gwen; ATWT) described her dress as part-vintage/part-vampire. She looked gorgeous and had half the auditorium crying with her speech.

7) Procter & Gamble Productions won five of six acting awards. CBS won six of the nine Daytime awards handed out. It was a very happy after-party.