Adena Halpern's debut novel The Ten Best Days of My Life takes a humorous look at the afterlife courtesy of a personal shopper cut down in her prime. She has also published a memoir called Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown. She lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband and her wardrobe of six-inch heels.Interviewee A to Z
How did you come up with the idea behind The Ten Best Days of My Life?
Coming up with the idea for 10 Best Days was (hopefully not) a once-in-a-lifetime thing where it came to me very quickly. I was trying to think of a new idea for a book and my husband turned to me and said, 'What were the 10 best days of your life?' I thought about that for a moment and then thought, wait, what if someone had to tell his or her 10 best days after death? From there it was just smooth sailing.
Describe your character Alex.
Alex is a bright bubbly 29-year-old woman who was just finding her place in life when a Mini Cooper struck her down. Though she's a bit materialistic, she's got more love for her family and friends than she even knows. It's only when she is forced to look at the mistakes she's made in her life that she is inspired to make things right.
Was it fun creating your version of seventh heaven?
It was an absolute blast. As I found out when I was writing the book, it's a great dinner party topic.
How would your seventh heaven compare to Alex's?
My 7th heaven would not be far off from Alex's. To be able to see my grandparents again would be a dream come true. I would definitely have that closet with all the clothes, shoes and bags. I'm petite, 5' and in 7th Heaven I'm 5'6.
What message do you hope readers will take from the book?
I truly hope that people read this book and realize that the most important things in life are the people you love most. Always let them know it, even when you're angry. By the end of the book, I want readers to call the people closest to them and tell them how much they love them.
And your own 10 best days . . . ?
I always say, simply put . . . every day I get to spend with my husband.
7. What inspired you to write Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown?
It had been my dream to be an author for 15 years. I'd written books before and was unable to get them published. Target Underwear and a Vera Wang gown is extended essays from my column in Marie Claire. When the column started to become popular I got an agent and shopped the idea around. I always say that selling Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown was the easiest thing and it only took 15 years.
What do you rate as your worst fashion disaster?
A friend's husband just told me that the first time he met me in 1991, I was wearing a unitard. My friend was positive I never would have worn a unitard. I had to confess that I did . . . with cowboy boots. My hair was also still teased in that 80s way. I'm seriously blushing with embarrassment as I write this.
Which celebrity today do you think best represents a fashion icon?
Though I wouldn't call them fashion icons yet, I think Nicole Richie, Rachel Bilson and Michelle Williams have amazing style. Sienna Miller, however, is the only young actress I can think of who has an individual style all her own.
How did you end up as a Marie Claire columnist?
Great story with a great lesson. Two years before I got the column, I met with a woman at Ladies Home Journal. We spoke, I gave her my sample articles and that was that. I never spoke to her again. Two years later she called me out of the blue saying she was now at Marie Claire and looking for someone who could write about shopping in a funny way. She remembered my articles and was I interested? It just goes to show you, always meet everyone you can because you never know.
What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on a new novel but I'm too superstitious to talk about it.
Memoir, novel . . . What's your next writing goal?
What's the best and worst thing about working from home?
Best thing: working in your pajamas.
Worst thing: you could go for days without leaving your home or seeing anyone.
What do you love about chick lit?
Chick lit is like talking to your best girlfriend. It's an escape. When I can't sleep at night, there's nothing like a little Becky Bloomwood to ease my mind.
Name your favourite: