ICYMI Staci Greason Interview – Soap Opera Digest

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Soap Opera Digest: When did you start writing this book?

Staci Greason: The day before confinement [in March 2020], I had come down from a karaoke stage with my friends and blown the last of my ACL. I couldn’t walk. My son-in-law had just moved out of college and my daughter-in-law was in high school, so I turned our spare bedroom into an office. I had this book deal and I was like, “I’m just going to write another book because I have to do something.” I wanted to write about the unhealed trauma after a bad relationship and how it affects someone’s daily life.

Digest: How would you describe the book?

Greason: Three smart and sexy slightly messed up women join forces to get revenge on the rock star who hurt them all. It’s a love letter to women. We’re fascinating and interesting and different, and I started writing about this woman named Dani, and then all of a sudden she’s writing a blog where she murders her ex-husband Peter and she loves it. And then I start thinking, “Who’s reading the blog?” and that’s where the other characters, Red and Sasha, come from. Red is Peter’s recurring lover, and Sasha is his current wife and the backup singer he left Dani for. So I started writing about all these women and the effect of dating a bad guy – smart women who didn’t make a good choice. I’ve made bad choices in love, and the women I love who are smart and fantastic make those interesting, unhealthy choices. So I was exploring that and then I knew that was exactly where I wanted to go. I wanted these women to sue this guy, sue Peter, and get equality and justice. Very often we don’t get that in the real world. I wanted to write a book where women believe and believe themselves and together they have a positive outcome and they can move forward in their lives. They are not stuck in this trauma.

Digest: How was the process of writing the book for you?

Greason: Because I had moved in with [husband] Larry and the kids, it gave me a reason to get away every day. I am a very disciplined person. I have my Buddhist practice and I have a disciplined writing practice. A long time ago someone told me, “Writing is like a day job”, so I write every day. I went to my home office every day, locked the door, and wrote from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Digest: How do you feel now that the book is out?

Greason: I’ve always had stage fright, even when I was an actress. But once you’ve released it to the world, it’s the reader’s book; it is no longer your book. I hope readers will have a very good experience with the book. I want them to be encouraged and I want to remind women how amazing they are. After signing my book deal a few years ago, I got really nervous. That typical “I’m not a writer, this is going to stink.” Nobody’s gonna like that,” and I went through that. I had intermittent anxiety, and it’s very vulnerable to broadcast something like that. I’m glad to see how it’s going. I promised myself not to read the reviews so I probably won’t read the reviews because if you believe the good ones you have to believe the bad ones. When I was an actress, I received all kinds of mean and terrible comments as well as loving comments.

Digest: After reading the book, which I think is great, it looks like it could easily be turned into a limited series. Did you even think about that when you wrote it?

Greason: Thanks very much. It means a lot to me. When I write I just let the characters tell me where they want to go and then I try to shape some sort of plot around that, but this book pretty much wrote itself. They just picked it up and I had a blast writing it. I found the music they all liked and just went to town to let them tell the story. But after I finished I thought this would be a really great Netflix or HBO Max limited series, but the odds of it happening? We never know. It would be a wonderful vehicle for three actresses.

Digest: Well, what does it mean to you that you changed careers years ago and it was successful?

Greason: Well, I’d say I’ve been prolific at it but haven’t succeeded [laughs]. It’s more, “What does it mean that you decided to quit a safe job on DAYS OF OUR LIVES to never make a living as a writer?” That’s pretty much what happened. When I was leaving DAYS, I remember so many voices of authority warning me, like, “It’s a really, really bad idea to quit this secure job. You can’t make a living writing poetry. But I had just discovered that I had a voice and I was so excited and just wanted to write. So I’m a writer. Thirty years of novels and short stories and essays and screenplays and television pilots. I wrote a really fun TV pilot with my friend, Joey Gironda, called [BOBBI & OLIVIA] which won Best TV Sitcom Pilot at the Studio City Film Festival and it was fun. For a while, I pitched a pilot about a personal assistant to a soap opera star, and I really wish it had taken off. I even wrote a screenplay with Shannon Sturges [ex-Molly, DAYS]. We are still very good friends. She now has a huge theater studio in Los Angeles and is very successful, but we wrote a script called Scenes from my parents basement about a soap opera star who loses everything and has to move into her parents’ basement, loosely based on my experience being 40 in my parents’ basement, which was fun. So the life of a writer for me certainly didn’t look like I expected. It’s been a roller coaster ride, so I’m so grateful that I didn’t give up and still write and have this book, which is so delicious after so many decades of hard work. This book is not political, but it comes out at a very interesting time for women and it evokes a lot of emotion in me. So I’m really happy that the women in my book are winning.

Digest: Do you miss acting? Would you ever come back?

Greason: I would love to go back if it was for, say, an indie movie or something where I could just be Natural. But I never want to have to go back and try to be pretty ever again. I am 58 years old. My husband thinks I’m pretty and that’s enough. And because I’m too chicken to do anything. I’m just too scared. I had spinal fusion surgery and I had knee surgery and it really hurts to have surgery! The recovery time is quite intense. I have no judgment on a little here, a little there; It looks good. And then I think, “Oh, I want to raise my neck.” But I’m just going to do a Nora Ephron and Diane Keaton and wear turtlenecks in the summer. But that’s the trick of acting. I really, really loved expressing myself that way; it’s so wholesome and feels good to give viewers a cathartic experience. I loved working with so many creative people on set. This family situation is simply the best. It really is the best. Writing is very lonely, but I love writing, and being in front of the cameras makes me really neurotic.

Digest: Has being an actor influenced your writing?

Greason: I feel like acting has influenced my writing style and I love talking about it. I have the impression that the literary world is not so open to this. In fact, for a while after leaving DAYS OF OUR LIVES, people were like, “Don’t tell people you were on a soap opera. The literary world does not respect this. And I thought, ‘Does anyone know how hard it is to be an actor on a soap opera? Or how hard it is to write on a soap opera or direct, do your hair, do your makeup, or stay there with a boom for all those hours? I mean, it’s a job, man! The dialogue comes so easily because you have been an actor. You can feel it. I loved being an actor but I don’t really miss it.

Digest: When you think back on your DAYS experience, what strikes you now?

Greason: What a fun and amazing time for a lifetime. I had so much fun. All I have is warmth and good feelings and I feel like it happened to another person. I had such a good time. Duck [Hogestyn, John] really took me under his wing. I made so many good friends that I am still connected with today. Shannon and Rob Mailhouse [ex-Brian]. It’s so many good memories of being able to do what I loved.

Digest: So if DAYS called and said, “Hey, we need Isabella,” how would you feel?

Greason: No, I think she’s finished. She’s been dead for so long.

Digest: Nobody ever died during DAYS.

Greason: It’s true, but everyone is so beautiful and Isabella is 58 in heaven.

Digest: Looking at you today, compared to the woman who left DAYS, what do you think of the choices you made and where are you today?

Greason: I feel good today, but there was a very long time when I didn’t feel good. It was very difficult to have so much success so young. It’s like touching the sun. And then I left and I had this memory of what it felt like, making a living doing what I love with people I love, and I really struggled for a long time when writing didn’t s didn’t go as I thought it should happen. And I felt embarrassed about being broke and working on time. I had a day job, a part-time job, a personal assistant job, you can imagine, just scrambling to pay the rent. I felt bad about it for a long time, even though I was writing all the time. I don’t feel so bad about it anymore. This was my life and these are the choices I made. So I feel good today. I had a very real experience of illness, poverty, and heartache, and I hope it all made me a better writer, a better artist, but also a better person. I am living proof that, as they say in Buddhism, “winter always turns into spring”. I did not give up. Turning 40 was the hardest decade of my life, but I’m here and turning 50 was amazing. So I really feel like, if anything, the most important thing is that I learned to stop expecting her to look like a specific picture and really live your fucking life. So that’s the most important thing because we’re not getting it back. I can savor a quality of life that I have built for myself. When I was 28, John Aniston [Victor, DAYS] was like, “Don’t go. Buy a house, build a guesthouse out back to pay your rent in lean years. What do you do with your money?” And I was like, “I have a savings account and I’m going to be a writer.” And John was just like, “Oh, my God.” I was all New Age , like “I’m going to jump and the net will find me. Well, there was no net. I fell flat on my stomach and what I realized was that you are the net, you build the net, that’s all. So I built a good solid net. And here I am.

All the girls in town is available now at online retailers and bookstores.


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