Marissa Thomas: 'I was very intimidated about getting my book published' @marissat20

Marissa Thomas left her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to pursue her dream of acting in Hollywood. Without industry contacts, she had to educate herself about the business. In How Not to Succeed in Hollywood, Marissa shares her experiences, both good and bad.
In addition to writing, Marissa is a licensed hair stylist. She also enjoys painting and produced the artwork for the cover of How Not to Succeed in Hollywood.



Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I’ve been a licensed hair stylist since I was 23 years old.  I got my cosmetology license, so that I could have a side job, other than serving or bartending, while pursuing auditions.  After moving back to Minnesota, I started doing hair again.  And, as all clients do, mine would ask me questions about how long I’ve been doing hair, and what salons I worked at.  When I explained that I took a break from hair when I lived in LA, they would ask me if I had any fun Hollywood stories to tell them.  After sharing all the colorful stories I could remember, my regulars all started to tell me that I should write a book.  I laughed at them, asking if I should also name it How Not to Succeed in Hollywood.  After a year or two of hearing the same suggestion, I figured I had nothing to lose, and started writing.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Once I started writing, I noticed that it was obviously much more difficult than the book reports I had to write in high school, and that I wouldn’t be able to fake the content.  I kept a notebook with chapters and page numbers, and a few notes about what was happening.  I never set to be a writer, and was relying on my general English classes between high school and college.  Luckily, I was writing about my own life and experiences, so I just had to tell myself to take time, open my laptop, and see what could happen.  Some days, the words would flow.  And other days, I would end up more focused on my favorite reruns on the television in the background.  Creative productivity happens when it happens.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published through Createspace on Amazon.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was very intimidated about getting my book published.  I had no idea where to start.  But, I knew I didn’t want to waste time wondering.  So, I started looking up different publishers and methods of publishing.  I was surprised at how much easier the process was then I thought.

Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m definitely writing, more.  You never know what can happen!

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

The book is a comedic accumulation of my real-life experiences.  I had the title before I even thought about the content.  I’m used to scripts, so as I was writing it, I was picturing a movie.  I do a lot of painting, and once the book was written, I wanted to paint a summary of the content.  So, I painted the picture I used for the cover.

Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

No one can give a person a sure-fire method of achieving her goals.  But, if you want something, you have to go after it.  I had no idea what I was doing when I packed up and moved across the country.  But, I knew I had to do it.  I haven’t finished trying to achieve all my acting goals, but I also haven’t failed or given up.  If I can inspire readers, great.  But if all they get from my writing is a good laugh, that’s even better.  Do your best, but if you can’t take a step back and have a good laugh, you’ll go crazy.
About the Book:

Author: Marissa Thompson
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 436
Genre: Humor/Fiction

In HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD, Marissa Thomas offers readers an inside view of one young woman’s journey to fulfill her dream of becoming an actor. The personal and humorous story of Lisa reveals the often difficult and inspiring process of navigating the entertainment industry.
The acting bug bit Lisa during her first elementary school talent show. After receiving positive reviews for her performance from her fellow students and impressed parents alike, Lisa basked in the high she felt from being on stage. She ventured further into the acting world as a teenager when she enrolled in a twelve-week acting program. Although plagued with some doubt about her potential to become an actor, the experience reignited the spark that had originally lead her down the road of performance.

HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD follows the staggered path that Lisa took on her journey to achieve her acting dream. Her love for acting expanded when Lisa entered college and began auditioning for plays produced by the theater department. Reassured by the exhilaration she felt while acting, Lisa made the decision to leave her home and move to Hollywood to pursue her passion, but first she had to tie up a few loose ends. After a whirlwind romance with a fellow student, Lisa found herself moving into her own apartment while juggling school and work, as well as taking the steps to fill out her acting resume. A car accident that resulted in serious physical injuries led to a slowdown in her momentum. However, Lisa’s best friend, Mike, who already had a solid plan to move to Hollywood, gave her the encouragement she needed to overcome multiple obstacles so that she could move forward with her goal.
Marissa wrote HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD to give “anyone curious about Hollywood culture another point of view from someone coming from a completely different world, aka the Midwest, taking the plunge, and immersing herself in a new life.” Marissa says the book is “the story of my life. I can’t tell anyone any surefire methods of getting cast for your dream project. I’m just sharing my life experience. Anyone with a relentless dream has to find sanity in the limbo between a self-motivated fantasy career and the harshness of having to survive real life in the process. We’re all human, and sometimes all you can do is laugh. Set a goal, and break a leg.”


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