Bravo TV starlet Bethenny Frankel can now add fiction writer to her long list of credits. Skinnydipping, her fiction debut, hit shelves yesterday. The story follows Faith Brightstone, an aspiring actress, who packs her bags and moves to L.A. hoping to find fame, fortune, and a handsome boyfriend while she’s at it. But when things don’t go quite as planned, she moves to NYC. Five years later she ends up on a reality TV show for Sybil Hunter, a Martha Stewart-esque personality. (The reality program is clearly a nod to Frankel’s own time spent on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, and it certainly isn’t the only similarity to Frankel’s life.) Here, the three-time best-selling author talks about her inspiration for the novel and explains the title.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: After three best-selling books, what inspired you to go into fiction writing?
Bethenny Frankel: I felt that after eight seasons of reality TV and three books on how to get what you want out of life, an imaginative adventure about a great female character would be a great palate cleanser.
Where did the idea for Skinnydipping come from?
It just evolved. Given my business and history, the name is fitting, especially since the main character dips into so many things on her journey to success.
So is that where the title comes from? I have to admit I was expecting, well, skinny dipping.
The title couldn’t be more perfect. It is sexy, it is about dipping into so many arenas and adventure and it is a nod to the Skinnygirl empire.
Fans of yours will see a lot of similarities between you and the main character, Faith Brightstone. So how much of Faith’s story is really your own story?
I would say there are a lot of similarities between Faith and myself and characters in my life have influenced characters in this book. That said, this is a never-before-told adventure that everyone will love embarking on.
Since you were able to pull from your own life, why not make it a full-on memoir? Is that even something you would consider?
I wouldn’t do a memoir for at least a decade, probably two. This story is about a girl still very much in the thick of her life, entrenched in her journey. She still doesn’t know the answers yet. There is much more to unfold for her.
After this experience, do you think you’ll write more fiction?
Absolutely. This was my single favorite passion project to date. I loved every moment of it and the reader will devour it.
Will there be more books about Faith Brightstone?
For now at least two more. People will want to see what Faith from Skinnydipping is up to next.
What would you say to convince a doubter to pick up Skinnydipping and give it a chance?
Take a dip into Skinnydipping. Once you put your toe in, your whole body will follow.
What projects do you have planned next?
I have a daytime television show this summer on Fox in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Philadelphia, L.A., Dallas, and New York. I can’t wait to start the conversation with my fans. This will be a no holds barred anything goes experience.