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Our favourite celebrities who double as brilliant fiction authors

Stick to your day job? Not on your nelly! We’ve found a bunch of A-listers who, despite their glittering careers, have become fiction-writing success stories

In our recent big book bonanza, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly have rounded up our team’s top reads. However, we were also pleasantly surprised by what our deep dive into celebrity authors dug up.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite A-list celebrities who found time in their no doubt already busy schedules to add ‘Author’ to their resumes for you to enjoy with us.

Tom Hanks

After two Oscars, seven Emmys and five Golden Globes, Tom, 67, decided to write a novel as a “release from the never-ending pressure” of making movies. The result was The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, which was published last year.

The story starts in 1947, ends in the present day, and tells the warts-and-all tale of the making of a star-studded superhero action movie. “Every character in the book does something I’ve experienced while making a movie,” says Tom. Many critics were not impressed with the actor’s literary offering, but the Forrest Gump star says his years in Hollywood have taught him to handle being “torn apart”.

Molly Ringwald

From Sixteen Candles to Pretty in Pink, Molly was the darling of 1980s cinema. While she continued to act, nothing matched the dizzy heights she achieved as a teen star, but Molly is no slouch and in 2012 the now 56-year-old mother-of-three published her first novel, When It Happens to You.

The book was written as a series of intertwined stories and became a bestseller. “I always wrote fiction, even when I was doing The Breakfast Club,” says Molly. “I just never wanted to publish anything unless I was proud of it.”

Isla Fisher

Isla, 48, has been acting since she was 17 – but she also became an author at 19. In 1995, with the help of her romance novelist mum Elspeth, the Wedding Crashers star had her romantic novel for teenagers, Bewitched, published. The following year, her second young adult novel, Seduced by Fame, hit the shelves.

Isla then got rather busy with her acting life, but returned to her love of writing in 2016 with her hilarious kids’ novel Marge in Charge, about an unruly nanny. She’s since written a whole bunch of Marge novels and in 2022 also published her children’s picture book Mazy the Movie Star. “I love acting and writing equally,” says the mum of three.

Dolly Parton

She’s won awards galore for her music. Fans of the beloved country singer have also enjoyed her children’s books and memoirs for years. Then the Jolene singer surprised everyone again by teaming up with best-selling writer James Patterson to pen a novel. Run Rose Run – a thriller about a young singer-songwriter trying to make it in Nashville while also being on the run from her dark past – was published two years ago.

Dolly, 78, says when James, 77, asked if she’d like to collaborate on a novel, “I thought, ‘What in the world does he need me for? He’s doing all right.’” But she agreed and enjoyed the process so much, she also released a 12-song companion album to go with the novel. “I had always thought that I would write novels, but I thought it would be when I was older. Then I realised I am older!”

Steve Martin

Most of us know him as the star of hilarious movies such as The Jerk and Father of the Bride, but comedian Steve, 78, is also a successful scribe. His works include the 1998 collection of comic pieces Pure Drivel, the 2000 novella Shopgirl and the 2010 novel An Object of Beauty.

Musing on how he can write about regular people from the lofty position of a movie star, Steve says, “Well, half my life I’ve been a celebrity and half I wasn’t. I do have a knowledge of what it means to live on a dime.” As for the writing process, he says, “Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.”

Nicole Richie

In the early noughties, Nicole was famous for being the adopted daughter of rock legend Lionel Richie and the bestie of blonde hotel heiress Paris Hilton. The young socialites reached super-fame when they starred in their own reality TV show before descending into a bitter feud. More than a few eyebrows, therefore, were raised when Nicole wrote her novel The Truth About Diamonds in 2005, which followed the fortunes of the adopted daughter of a rock legend and her famous-for-being-famous, rich, blonde friend Simone.

The novel was surprisingly well received, with Nicole maintaining the main character was “loosely based” on herself but all her other characters were made up. The now 42-year-old said she’d simply wanted to write a novel “and my dad told me, ‘You have to write about what you know.’”

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