“So, I hear Haley’s a jumper.” Pete’s lips curved into a sarcastic smile.
“In case you didn’t hear, she did not jump.”
“Kate, it was all over the news, you’re a hero.”
Fuck you, Pete, Kate thought as she walked into her office and slammed the door. Unfortunately Pete was right. It was all over the news. “The publicist who saved the crazy, suicidal author”—that’s how Entertainment Tonight had headlined the story the night before. Both Leno and Letterman had devoted most of their monologue to it and Haley had even made the high-brow NPR.
Kate slumped in her chair, not sure what to do next. In her ten years of being a book publicist, she’d saved a number of books from ruin, but Haley’s might just be too far gone. Sure, they’d sell a few thousand from people wanting to read a book written by the “crazy, suicidal author,” but after that it would be over and unless she did something fast, Haley would be nothing more than a cocktail party joke. “Hey did you hear the one about the author who jumped off a building?”
Kate’s phone buzzed but she didn’t answer; she knew without checking the caller ID that it was Haley’s agent calling to see what her brilliant plan was. “Brilliant” Kate said to a still ringing phone, “I have no idea how I can rescue this one.” Kate spun around and faced her floor-to-ceiling window. A view that overlooked Central Park was one she normally enjoyed, but today it was nothing more than a bunch of green and people buzzing about. Kate was certain if she didn’t get Haley a gig on a reputable show, Haley’s career as a writer would be over. By reputation, Kate knew that The View was off the list—they’d pull Haley limb from limb. Though Katie Couric’s new talk show might be a possibility. Though the ratings were still underwhelming, Katie was climbing in popularity.
Suddenly, Kate reached for her phone and punched in a number.
“Tom,” a stern voice answered.
Kate took a deep breath, “Tom, Kate here, how are you?” She tried on her best Mary Poppins’ cheer. Tom wasn’t falling for it.
“Kate, if you’re calling to see if I’ll put your jumper on Piers Morgan, you can call someone else. Piers isn’t interested.”
“She’s not a jumper, Tom and it’s a good story. I mean think about it: Piers could focus on the pressure of the business, the dark side of publishing. We could have James Frey on there, I’m sure after Oprah went off on him, he could say a thing or two about this topic, he would probably tell Haley on live TV to stay as far away from Ms. O as she can, wouldn’t that make for great TV?”
Kate could almost hear the wheels in Tom’s head turning. She knew she’d hit a chord. Tom had been with the show for five years, which was considered long for any producer. Media folk tended to job jump faster than most of us change our underwear.
“Tom?” Kate began tentatively, “what do you think?”
“Actually Katie, it’s not a bad idea.”
Her heart almost jumped out onto her desk. If she could persuade Tom to put Haley on, she might be able to salvage the entire project.
“Kate, listen, I need to run this by a few folks and I suspect it would be contingent on getting Frey on the show and getting him to talk about this. He’s not very fond of this topic as you can imagine.”
“Tom, why not leave that to me? I’m good friends with Frey’s publicist and editor; I might be able to persuade them.”
“Good. He’s got another book coming out so the timing could work out. Listen Katie, if I do this for you, you owe me and you owe me big.”
“Tom, you’ll get my first born.”
She could hear Tom smile through the phone, “It’s not your first born I’m after.”
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