"A sharp, canny, highly engaging tour through a Hollywood of cunning characters and colorful intrigues, guided by the clever voice of Russel Middlebrook as an eager young screenwriter trying to bust in. I was charmed by every sly, sexy page."
“With his trademark wit, warmth, and economy, Brent Hartinger brilliantly captures what it’s like to move to L.A. and try and make it Hollywood: the highs and the lows, the friends and the phonies, the fun and the frustration. And by the way, is it too late for me to be Russel Middlebrook when I grow up?”
Brent Hartinger's twelfth novel, Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams, tells the story of a 24-year-old gay guy moving to Los Angeles to try to make it as a screenwriter. The book, a companion to last year's The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know, will be released August 14th, 2015.
"It's my most autobiographical book ever," Hartinger says. "When I was in my twenties, my boyfriend and I moved to Los Angeles. The book is fiction, but it's the closest thing I've ever written to something that really happened to me. It's basically the story of all the crazy, wonderful, horrible, sexy, screwed up things that happened to me in Hollywood."
In 2003, Hartinger made a big splash documenting the lives of gay teens with his humorous young adult novel Geography Club, starring the character of Russel Middlebook. Geography Club spawned four sequels, one of which won the Lambda Award. The first book was eventually adapted into a successful feature film, released in 2013, co-starring Scott Bakula.
Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams sees the return of Russel Middlebrook, but as a twentysomething adult.
In the book, Russel is at first overwhelmed by Los Angeles: the sun is too hot, and the people are too cold. Like the city itself, Russel is lost in a haze.
Then in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets Isaac Brander, a once-famous film producer who is convinced he can turn Russel’s screenplay into a movie.
Russel knows that success can’t possibly come this easy. In all the movies about Hollywood, there’s always at least a “hard at work” montage. So what’s the catch?
Sure enough, everyone else Russel meets is struggling to make it in Hollywood. His ex-boyfriend, Otto, is desperate to be an actor, and his sexy neighbor doesn't even need a casting couch to get naked. At one point, Russel even starts imagining that he’s hearing from the ghost of a screenwriter who killed himself in his apartment more than sixty years before!
Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is a fast-paced, funny story about the price of fame in Hollywood: the hilarious lengths people will go to achieve it, and the touching secret to survival when things don’t work out exactly as planned.
Brent Hartinger is available for podcast, blog, newspaper, and other media interviews.
BAREFOOT IN THE CITY OF BROKEN DREAMS
By Brent Hartinger
Paperback, $13.99: 978-1514382417
E-book, $5.99: 978-1311709646
August 14, 2015