13 Celebrities You Didn't Realize Wrote Novels
These novels written by celebrities might be sitting on a bookshelf near you.
Celebrities these days are rarely just one thing. You have actors-turned-musicians and musicians-turned-actors. You have stars releasing everything from cookware to homeware, and adding talents on top of their already lengthy résumés. But did you know that there are also plenty of celebrities who double as writers? And we're not talking the standard celebrity memoir. Here are some of the A-listers who have turned into celebrity authors, delving into the world of fiction with fully original (or sometimes semi-autobiographical) stories.
Steve Martin, Shopgirl
Steve Martin is best known for his comedic acting, but many people don't realize that he's also an accomplished writer. He wrote his first full length play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, in 1993. After that, he wrote pieces for newspapers, adapted plays, and co-wrote films. In 2000, he released his first book, Shopgirl, which follows a lonely, depressed woman from Vermont after she moves to Beverly Hills. The New York Times called it an "elegant, bleak, and desolatingly sad first novella," in the most positive way possible. It was so well-received that Martin ended up adapting his novel into a screenplay for the 2005 rom-com of the same name starring Martin and Claire Danes.
Tyra Banks, Modelland
It seems Tyra Banks wasn't keen on keeping the modeling onscreen with America's Next Top Model. In 2011, she decided to bring her talents to the world of fiction by writing the young adult novel Modelland. The book tells the story of Tookie De La Crème, a young girl invited to attend a famous boarding school for models called Modelland—and yes, the character has drawn comparisons to Banks herself. As HuffPost reports, during an episode of VH1's Big Morning Buzz, Banks revealed that the writing process took her five years, where she was "on the verge of tears constantly" because of the stress and deadlines.
Hilary Duff, Elixir
From growing up on the beloved teen show Lizzie McGuire to starring on Younger as a book editor, Hilary Duff's venture into young adult fiction doesn't seem that off-track. Her debut novel Elixir was released in 2010 and co-written by Elise Allen, a veteran author and television writer. The paranormal romance novel even ended up on The New York Times' best seller list for Children's Chapter Books, and spawned two more sequels by Duff: Devoted and True.
"I have been playing with the idea for a few years now," Duff told Seventeen magazine in 2010. "It's a lot of fun and at the same time, very challenging. Humans are very complex; I definitely have a new respect for authors that are able to write books nonstop, it's an incredible talent."
50 Cent, Playground
Rapper Curtis Jackson—better known as 50 Cent—wrote his own young adult novel in 2011 called Playground, a story that is said to be "loosely inspired" by his own adolescence. The young adult novel follows 13-year-old Butterball, a former outcast who works to understand his past and why he has become a bully. 50 Cent told the Today show in 2011 that he hoped his book would "connect with a population of teen bullies that are hard to crack," HuffPost reports.
Lauren Graham, Someday, Someday, Maybe
Lauren Graham, best known for her role as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, released her debut novel in 2013. Like many novels by celebrity authors, the story was described as a fictionalization of her own experiences—in this case, trying to become an actress in New York City in the '90s. The Washington Post praised Graham's venture into book writing, calling Someday, Someday, Maybe "heartfelt, hilarious, and hopefully, just the first example of what she can do with the written word." And Graham took the success of her first book to publish two more: 2016's Talking as Fast as I Can, a collection of personal essays, and 2018's In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It, an advice book for recent graduates.
Chris Harrison, The Perfect Letter
Host of the Bachelor franchise Chris Harrison tried to make romance another way in 2015 with his debut novel, The Perfect Letter. The young adult novel follows the story of a book editor who faces the hardships of a love triangle when she travels back to her Texas hometown from New York City.
"You know, writing a book, I've had the utmost respect for authors and what these successful authors do, because it's one thing to say, 'Oh, I have a great story, and I want to write pen to paper, yay, here's my essay,' turn it in like you're in school—it's so far from that. Writing is almost just half the project," Harrison told NPR in 2015.
Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Rebels: City of Indra
From reality shows to fashion to Kim Kardashian's latest venture into becoming a lawyer, it seems there isn't anything the Kardashian family hasn't tried. What about writing fiction? Nope! Sisters Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner released a dystopian sci-fi novel in 2014, Rebels: City of Indra. Unfortunately for the duo (and named ghostwriter Maya Sloan), the novel wasn't well-received. Refinery29 said the two should "stick to their day jobs." That didn't stop the sister duo from releasing a sequel, Time of the Twins, in 2016, however.
Naomi Campbell, Swan
Banks isn't the only model-turned-author. A decade before, Naomi Campbell released her own model-based novel, Swan. The book, published in 1994, follows six girls and their adventures in the world of fashion and modeling. According to The Independent, Campbell told the Sunday Times magazine that she wrote the novel to "get back at journalists who had misrepresented her life."
Hugh Laurie, The Gun Seller
Famous (at least to American audiences) for his title role on House, Hugh Laurie actually made his debut as a novelist in 1996, years before the show's premiere. His spy novel deals with CIA agents, terrorists, and arms dealers—everything you would want in a book called The Gun Seller. The Independent notes that Laurie was worried about being a "celebrity author," so he originally sent his manuscript to publishers under a pseudonym, only revealing himself as the author after it had been accepted.
Sharon Osbourne, Revenge
Sharon Osbourne released her debut novel, Revenge, in 2010. The story centers around two fame-hungry sisters fighting to get to the top. The book got decent reviews, despite the low expectations that came from a television personality pursuing writing. The review in The Guardian said there wasn't much to complain about when it came to Osbourne's debut, as it was "glorious, fast-moving, and unashamedly commercial fun."
Carrie Fisher, Postcards From the Edge
Postcards From the Edge is Carrie Fisher's 1987 debut novel that was loosely based on her own life. The semi-autobiographical story centers on Suzanne Vale, an actress trying to get her life back on track after a drug overdose. Time magazine said the book changed the way people talk about addiction. And it also became a critically acclaimed film in 1990, with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine starring. Fisher wrote the screenplay.
Molly Ringwald, When It Happens to You
Iconic '80s actress Molly Ringwald released her debut novel, When It Happens to You, in 2012. The book is actually a collection of stories, which deal with infertility, infidelity, fame, and family disputes. But Ringwald's leap into writing wasn't a spur of the moment decision. She told NPR in 2012 that acting was a huge influence on her desire to write, since she has a "lot of interest in character and what makes [people] tick." She recalled that her mentor John Hughes had always encouraged her to write from a young age.
Macaulay Culkin, Junior
Child star Macaulay Culkin is another celebrity who took the leap into fiction. He released his novel, Junior, in 2006. And as he expresses in the first paragraph, it's not your standard book. In fact, Junior starts with the line, "I want to make one thing clear before we begin: I am not a writer." Inside, it's a book of snippets, in no particular order, that follow a child star who abandoned Hollywood at the height of his career while dealing with a strained father-son relationship—similar to Culkin himself.