08/09/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
Featuring a foldout nude photo of the author herself, Anderson's first novel, Star
, follows the fortunes of a smalltown girl turned sex symbol.
ON BECOMING A MOVELIST [Publishers] Simon & Schuster came up with the idea, actually. They said, "Do you know what a roman a clef is?" I go, "Who's that?" They said, "Something inspired by your life." So I started writing.
HER SECRET PASSION When I was young, I wrote. My parents always thought I would be a writer or a photographer, not an actress or a model. [Years later] I started writing columns [on lifestyle and body image] for Jane
and Marie Claire
. I can sit down in the hair-and-make-up chair and a topic will come up and I'll write it out on a legal pad. Poor grammar and everything's bad, but I send it in and they fix it.
HELP FROM HER FRIENDS? Obviously a book is a whole different animal. [My publishers] said, "We're going to set you up with someone to help you with the structure." I think people will understand it's my voice.
ON WRITING HER LIFE It was fun to relive, coming to L.A. from a small Canadian town, stepping into a Playboy
studio. Like [the protagonist] Star, I had never been on a plane before I came to L.A., and I was always curious what "LAX" meant.
FAST LANE How long did it take me to write the book? To tell you the truth, a month.
WHAT SHE LEARNED FROM LOOKING BACK I saw that I was pretty naive in the beginning. And I survived it.
ON FACING THE CRITICS Hopefully it's just an enjoyable summer read. It's not F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I'm really proud of it. I'm really excited about it because it's fun and it's very me.