Children of L.A. royalty (actor Dennis Hopper and producer Leonard Goldberg) put their pedigree to good use in Celebutantes a collaborative first novel.

What inspired you to take up your pens against your hometown?

Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper: We met several years ago at the annual Oscar Party at Mr. Chow’s. We were both quiet observers in the corner, and we slowly gravitated toward each other. We came together to write this book having two lifetimes of material from growing up in Hollywood families.

Amanda Goldberg: We also felt that we had something that hadn’t been covered before, that the time was right to do for L.A. what books like The Devil Wears Prada and Bergdorf Blondes had done so well for New York.

Neither of you had written a novel before, but you did have movie experience. Why not just write a treatment?

RKH: The works that had inspired us were novels first, and The Devil Wears Prada was Lauren Weisberger’s first book. So we thought “We’ve read and loved all of these books—maybe we can do this.”

With the jobs waiting tables—that must’ve been exhausting!


AG: It was a lot of weekends. And we both had jobs that were somewhat flexible.

RKH: We had to hurry. We were intrigued that these new forms of celebrity, Internet sextape celebrity and the rest, didn’t really have much to do with talent, and we hadn’t really seen it yet in books.

AG: We like to think of ourselves as cultural anthropologists, studying an emerging new breed.

Will you ever be invited to Mr. Chow’s again after this?

RKH: What we focused on in the book—the compilation of characters, the entertainment world as a machine—is not about any one person in particular. I think that we’re safe. We hope.

The characters do assume that everybody knows who’s directing what, and how difficult it is to get onto this or that set.

RKH: The young woman protagonist, Lola Santisi, has grown up in Hollywood, and her whole POV has been formed by movies and fashion. And things change so quickly. We’d be researching who was where, who was with whom, etc., and couples would be breaking up and restaurants would be shutting down on a daily basis—which is, I guess, part of what keeps the tabloids in business.

So your people were on the phone screaming at them to crash the book!


AG: Exactly! It’s been a real challenge to stay current.