Karen Quinn

News and Reviews

The Good News and the Bad News for Sarah Jessica Parker

The Good News comes From NY Post Page 6

NOW that Heidi Klum and “Project Runway” are out at Bravo, Sarah Jessica Parker is moving in. According to Hollywood Reporter, Parker’s “art competition reality show has found a home” at the network, which will announce the deal Sunday.

Parker’s creation, which is being co-developed by the creators of “Runway,” is said to be an hourlong show featuring aspiring artists who will compete in front of a panel of judges for a top title of “American Artist” – the show’s working title.

The Bad News is that according to The Los Angeles Times, her clothing line BITTEN has bitten the dust

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post, reports that Sarah Jessica Parker could soon have her first project after “Sex.”

The actress is in talks with Warner Bros. to star in “The Ivy Chronicles,” a story of class and the single woman in contemporary New York.

Based on Karen Quinn’s novel of the same name, the project is described as following in the vein of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Nanny Diaries” as well as Gigi Levangie Grazer’s “The Starter Wife,” which became a successful limited series on USA.

It centers on Ivy Ames, an Upper East Side woman who, after losing her high-powered job and getting divorced, starts over again in a less ritzy downtown apartment. After pulling her children from private school, Ames starts a business to help upper-middle-class women get their children into elite kindergartens.

From Bookshelf to Big Screen
Denver Magazine

In a lavish loft, 13 floors above the streets of New York City, an inviting study is tucked away, ceiling-high oak bookshelves lining cream-colored walls. Amid the paperbacks and picture frames, author Karen Quinn — famous for her debut novel The Ivy Chronicles — radiates, creates her bestselling books.

Quinn’s stories are an addictive hybrid of The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries, blended with a fair dose of Sex in the City. However, growing up in Denver, she says she never dreamed of becoming a writer. After completing her law degree at the University of Denver, Quinn made the cross-continental move to the Big Apple with her husband and worked for American Express. The mommy of two eventually abandoned her corporate vice presidency to become an entrepreneur. Prompted by the experience of applying her first daughter to preschool, she created Smart City Kids to help parents craft appropriate essays and strategize ways for kids to compete for those much-coveted pre-kindergarten spots that presumably start children on their path to an Ivy League college. “I totally freaked out,” she says of her initial experience. “I overheard a mom saying that the children would be tested on their ability to draw circles, squares, triangles and ovals. There was no reference book, no crash course in building a resume for your toddler. Had I known that my kids would be tested on that, I could have prepared them.”

While the profitable enterprise was garnering favor from the media, Quinn was nurturing a desire to write. With her experiences with crazy parents, she had a full spectrum of characters (one man hired an acting coach because his four-year-old was “boring.”), and The Ivy Chronicles was born.

Once finished writing, Quinn began the dreaded search for representation. A serendipitous tie with her babysitter connected her with an agent. She then met editor Stacy Creamer at Random House, of Devil Wears Prada fame, whose interest in the book prompted an aggressive bidding war for the title. Viking eventually bought the manuscript, and four years later, Warner Brothers optioned the movie rights. Two months ago, Sarah Jessica Parker signed on to play Ivy, the novel’s protagonist, who is let go
from a prominent career, cheated on by her husband and who creates a company to help kids get into private schools. Quinn says, “Writing was cathartic. [Ivy’s] company was, in a way, autobiographical, but my husband and I have a great relationship. He would never cheat on me.” Quinn’s characters are savvy, successful Manhattan women, and the book does flirt with R-rated material: steamy sex scenes, heartbreak over illicit affairs and wicked altercations.

Quinn attributes many of her complex characters to her experiences with Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. Mama Gena is Regena Thomashauer, a teacher and author whose writings and workshops are devoted to giving women a context in which to maximize their power, passion, enthusiasm and creativity. “If I had to rely on my own life, it’d be pretty boring,” Quinn says. “So it’s fun for me to imagine what it might be like to live in another way. The Mama Gena stuff is so incredible
because it’s allowed me to meet so many fabulous women going through different experiences.”

In addition to her novels (her third book, Holly Would Dream, came out this past summer), Quinn responds to every reader letter she receives and blogs about her exciting life with personal photographs and comical anecdotes (like working with The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who penned The Ivy Chronicles film).

Readers have not only come to love Quinn’s triumphant novels; they have come to love the author behind them.

Devil Wears Prada Screenwriter to Adapt The Ivy Chronicles

The Sex and the City star will play a high-powered New York executive in the comedy, who begins anew after she loses her Wall Street job, divorces her cheating husband and moves out of her Park Avenue flat. To provide for her two daughters, she sets up a business helping Manhattan’s elite how to get their offspring in premier kindergartens.

Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna has just been hired to adapt the bestselling novel by Karen Quinn. Brosh McKenna is a specialist in the comedy genre as she has penned the screenplays for The Devil Wears Prada, this year’s 27 Dresses, and the 2004 comedy Laws of Attraction, starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore.

Parker could make The Ivy Chronicles her first film since Sex and the City the Movie hit cinemas earlier this summer. The adaptation of the hit TV series has been a hit with audiences and has so far cashed more than £185m around the world.

Parker is also attached to star in another comedy, A Family Affair, in which she would play an engaged woman who realises a former one-night stand of her is her future father-in-law.

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Friday August 01 2008.

Author elicits inner Audreys of Port City

Published: Friday, July 25, 2008 at 8:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 at 8:20 a.m.

Despite the ominous sky, growl of thunder and my dog Buster’s mounting anxiety, I stepped out for the evening in the antithesis of rain gear: a black sheath, black patent pumps, three strands of pearls, opera length black gloves and a sparkling tiara. Instead of attending a glamorous cocktail party, my friend Rachel and I pulled into the Barnes & Noble parking lot at Mayfaire.

Author Karen Quinn reads from her latest book, ‘Holly Would Dream,’ at the Barnes & Noble store in Mayfaire Town Center.

Local Audrey Hepburn dress-a-likes appear at Barnes & Noble to hear author Karen Quinn read from her work. Photo | Jess James
Opening the front door of the bookstore, we looked for the signature signs – any pearls over there? Black dresses? No. As we weaved through the bookshelves, we entered a clearing and then heard an exuberant voice exclaim, “Look! Two new Audreys have arrived!”

New York author Karen Quinn and local hostess-with-the-mostest Charlene Dupray, co-owner of South-n-France bon bons, both channeling style icon Audrey Hepburn, welcomed us to join the other “Audreys” for Karen’s reading from her latest novel, Holly Would Dream. The Audrey connection? The book’s title character Holly Ross, not unlike the author herself, is an Audrey devotee, who “can’t help but fall in love with her and the glamour and innocence of a 1950s Hollywood movie.”

Speaking of the silver screen, Karen’s first novel, The Ivy Chronicles, is being made into a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

Like her first foray into film, Karen’s career as an author has had its own touch of Hollywood dreams.

Starting as a lawyer and then becoming an executive at American Express, Karen took a new direction after a corporate layoff. After her own stressful experience, she and a friend started a business offering counsel to parents enrolling children in Manhattan private schools.

Although their business filled a niche and was written up in both Forbes and The New York Times, it did not generate enough income for both of them. Inspired by her experience and motivated by her desire not to get a “real” job, Karen wrote her first novel.

“Did I know anything about writing a novel? No. But everyone said my annual Christmas letter was really funny,” Karen said.

From her babysitter’s connection to a literary agent to her husband’s chance encounter with the editor of The Devil Wears Prada, Karen’s foray into publishing consisted of one serendipitous connection after another, reinforcing her psychic’s prediction that Karen’s life change would be “like hitting a brick wall at 100 mph.”

Karen admits that her first book was very easy to write because it was so autobiographical.

“It just poured out of me,” she said.

With her second book, Wife in the Fast Lane, she felt a lot of pressure and found it much more difficult to “make everything up.” With Holly Would Dream, Karen says, she was “just having fun. I really just focused on topics that interest me: travel, fashion and old films. I wrote this book as if it was a 1950s Hollywood movie.”

When asked who she could envision as Holly on the big screen, she responded without hesitation, “Heather Graham,” who’s a friend of Karen’s. “She’s so funny!”

How about a modern-day Audrey? “Audrey was so beautiful and almost … otherworldly. Yet she has a simplicity to her, an approachability that makes other women relate to her as a friend. And she has such an impenetrable signature style. No other woman has surpassed her. Her look is timeless – the pearls, the little black dress – and is still relevant 50 years later.”

Our local LBD brigade was awarded with Charlene’s delectable bon bons, which Karen first tasted at a networking group in Manhattan.

“They were amazing and immediately left an impression,” Karen said. “Charlene and I spent time together the next time she came to New York, and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Before Charlene shuttled Karen to her next interview, I asked her if she preferred life as a brunette as opposed to a redhead (as she is pictured on her Web site, www.karenquinn.net). “I am always changing my hair color. It’s just a fun thing to do and a way to change the way you feel.” A little a la Audrey, n’est-ce pas?


Ivy Grows on Sarah Jessica Parker
Wed., Jun. 25, 2008 8:15 PM PDT by NATALIE FINN, E! Online

Now that Sarah Jessica Parker’s Big moment is behind her, it’s time to start thinking about her post-Sex life.

The actress who never met a funny hat she didn’t like is in talks to star in The Ivy Chronicles, based on the novel by Karen Quinn, about a single gal making her way in New York.

If that sounds a little too familiar, this time around Parker would play newly divorced mom Ivy Ames, who loses her high-powered job and has to give up her uptown digs for an apartment more suited to…well, someone like Carrie Bradshaw.

Eventually, she totally rocks her new life in ways meant to both dazzle and inspire the largely female audience this film will be seeking.

If the deal goes forward, this would most likely mark Parker’s next return to the big screen after her massive success with the still-playing cinematic version of Sex and the City.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the 43-year-old mother of one had signed on to the romantic comedy The Late Bloomer’s Revolution (which, interestingly, sounds as if it could be about the same exact thing as The Ivy Chronicles) for New Line Cinema and HBO Films’ Picturehouse, but now that New Line has folded into Warner Bros., the future of the project is uncertain.

Sarah Jessica Parker lines up ‘Ivy’
In talks to star in her first project after ‘Sex and the City’
By Steven Zeitchik and Borys Kit
June 25, 2008, 11:00 PM ET, The Hollywood Reporter

Sarah Jessica Parker could soon have her first project after “Sex.”

The actress is in talks with Warner Bros. to star in “The Ivy Chronicles,” a story of class and the single woman in contemporary New York. It centers on Ivy Ames, an Upper East Side woman who, after losing her high-powered job and getting divorced, starts over again in a less ritzy downtown apartment. After pulling her children from private school, Ames starts a business to help upper-middle-class women get their children into elite kindergartens.

The project, based on Karen Quinn’s eponymous novel, is described as following in the vein of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Nanny Diaries” as well as Gigi Levangie Grazer’s “The Starter Wife,” which became a successful limited series on USA. Jerry Weintraub is set to produce.

Warners is keen to cast Parker in another project after “Sex and the City” became one of the blowout hits of the summer, earning more than $300 million worldwide. Several projects were presented to the actress, who sparked to the single-mother tale.

About eight months before “Sex” became a summer smash, Parker had signed on to a romantic comedy titled “The Late Bloomer’s Revolution,” which HBO Films was to have produced for Picturehouse; with the dissolution of the unit, that project’s status is uncertain.

Parker has had mixed big-screen results outside of “Sex.” Recent academia dramedy “Smart People” earned only $10 million at the boxoffice, though “Failure to Launch,” a film in which Parker had a leading role opposite Matthew McConaughey, wound up earning nearly $90 million domestically for Paramount in 2006.

The Carrie Chronicles

Denver native Karen Quinn is riding high.

She’s the daughter of the late Sonny Nedler of Sonny’s jewelry on Fillmore. Brother Michael Nedler still runs the shop.

Quinn was recently back in town with her new book “Holly Would Dream.” But she has bigger news.
Her first book, “The Ivy Chronicles” was bought a couple of years ago by Catherine Zeta-Jones, who wanted to play the heroine, a woman who helps rich kids get in the right New York City schools.
Seems the project stalled with Jones — and it’s been snatched up by Sarah Jessica Parker.

People.com, the Hollywood Reporter and other showbiz outlets are spreading the news that Parker is attached to “Ivy” as her first post-”Sex and the City” project, which brought in more than $300 million.
Jerry Weintraub, the guy behind the “Ocean’s Eleven” series, is set to produce at Warner Bros.

“It is very exciting,” says Quinn from her home in Tribeca. “I always loved Catherine Zeta-Jones, but I’m even more excited about Sarah Jessica Parker. She’s a great person to play this role.”

Go to karenquinn.net for all “Ivy” news.

Sarah Jessica Parker Caught Reading The Ivy Chronicles

We adore New York street photography. The list of the greats include Henri Cartier Bresson, Walker Evans, our favorite Helen Levitt, Frank Paulin and Christopher Peterson. They all have a couple of things in common and that is a passion for their craft and talent.

Look at this iconic photograph that Christopher did of Sarah Jessica Parker in lower Manhattan yesterday. She was heading home after a trip to Dean and Deluca carrying a copy of “The Ivy Chronicles’ by Karen Quinn.

Watch the sales of that book soar now that Sarah Jess is photographed carrying it. The publisher will be delighted.


Star Magazine Hot Sheet – weekend of June 6 2008

From Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts Newsletter, May 9, 2008

Mama Gena Club: Holly Would Dream,
by Karen Quinn
Review by Sheila Hay

Remember those days when you could lie back and lose yourself in a delicious novel? When you could hardly bring yourself to separate from a book and its characters? I’ve often wondered what happened. Are novels not what they used to be? Have I become a jaded reader? Have the three little munchkins that rule my days truly whisked away all of my attention span?

When Karen Quinn gave me a copy of her new book, Holly Would Dream, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I hadn’t finished a novel in years. I threw it into the suitcase at the last minute as we were packing for our family vacation extravaganza, with a faint “maybe . . . ”

Not only did I read the novel–start to finish!–but I loved and savored every last delicious drop. This book is AMAZING! It is pure pleasure packed into 400 or so pages! Inspired by Audrey Hepburn movies, Holly Would Dream is a modern-day fairy tale–a romantic comedy that sparkles, not only with the easy glamour of Hepburn and the 1950s, but also with the sass and spirit of Mama Gena and the School of Womanly Arts.

In pursuit of her pleasure, Karen left her corporate job several years ago to write full-time. And I am so grateful. Following the gorgeous and goofy Holly on her hilarious quest to lure in a big donation for her fashion museum, retrieve stolen museum gowns, and beguile the unsuspecting guy was the perfect antidote to my novel ennui!

Holly Would Dream reconnected this ex-voracious reader with her pleasure. It is an incredible, laugh-out-loud book. (Seriously, when was the last time you laughed out loud while reading?) This novel screams bestseller/ blockbuster movie. I’m happy to know that writers like Karen Quinn are out there pursuing their pleasure to give us ours as readers.

For more information on the School of Womanly Arts, visit www.Mamagenas.com.

New Karen Quinn Novel, Holly Would Go Immortalizes Me & Benny

Grab your suntan lotion, your beach blanket, your enormous sunglasses, and your lipstick because “a girl can’t read that sort of thing without her lipstick.” But whatever you do, read Holly Would Dream, Karen Quinn’s delightful new novel. (Yes, It’s chicklit, but the good kind.)

Holly Would Dream is big fun, and I’m not just saying that because Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle Puppy and I are immortalized in it. We both play ourselves, except I have my dream job of running a doggie boarding place. Benny can play himself, and I think maybe Kate Winslet or Bette Midler should play me in the movie. This would fulfill another dream of mine, where Benny works and I don’t. Who do you think should play me in the movie?

Holly Would Dream is about a woman who wishes her life could be like an Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy and it feels a lot like a classic Hollywood movie that would star Cary Grant and, maybe, Grace Kelly.

When Quinn’s second novel, Wife in the Fast Lane, was published, I created an online contest for her. Among the many fabulous prizes was the chance to become a character in then-unnamed next novel. There was intrigue and fun, cheating, and silliness, but the rightful winners were finally chosen from among more than 750 entries. They were:

Nichole Cannon who wrote the winning essay, and who becomes senior curator of the Costume Institute at the Met in the book.

Candice Broom another top dog at the Met, who did the winning contest video.

Elizabeth Blair, who wrote the winning one-liner and is portrayed as a hottie who tries to join the Mile High Club with Pops. Says Quinn, “I asked Beth’s permission before assigning her to such a floozy character.”

Last but not least, Holly called her character an “unconscionable trout,” which is what someone called us when we created a funny blog ad maligning Anna Nicole Smith’s death.

Holly Would Dream
By Bianca McCullough, Special to the Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, June 5, 2008

* Fiction. By Karen Quinn. Touchstone, $14.

Plot in a nutshell: Quinn, who grew up in Denver, struck it big several years ago with her best-selling novel, The Ivy Chronicles, a Nanny Diaries-type story about a consultant priming preschoolers to get into Manhattan’s best kindergartens. The movie rights to the book were promptly snapped up by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Warner Bros., and last year, Quinn followed the effort with the amusing chick-lit novel, Wife in the Fast Lane.

Holly Ross (named after Hepburn’s Holly Golightly) is a young woman who wishes her life were a Hepburn movie, yet is thriving in New York – until her fiance is caught cheating with a minor, she’s passed over for a promotion at a fashion museum and accidentally calls Denis King, one of the museum’s most generous benefactors, a part of the male anatomy in front of the press.

Holly takes each humiliation in stride and decides it’s time to take back her life. She works a deal with her Devil Wears Prada-inspired boss to snatch the senior curator position away from the rich and dim-witted Sammie, if she secures a million-dollar donation while on board the luxurious Tiffany Star cruiser – the same cruise Denis King is on.

Holly’s misfortunes follow her to Greece when the trunk full of Hepburn costume “replicas” she borrows from the museum for her voyage goes missing, causing several unfortunate events to transpire as love and lust saturate the Mediterranean air.

Sample of prose: “Why had I borrowed those dresses? Here I was on the ship doing just fine without them. What made me think I’d magically inherit Audrey’s grace or luck by wearing knock-offs of her gowns? They were fabric and buttons and beads, nothing more.”

Pros: The many Hepburn movie references scattered throughout the book will delight Hepburn fans. And readers of romance will appreciate the romantic novel elements – smart, beautiful heroine falls for wealthy, handsome hero, but complications arise on the path to happily-ever-after.

Cons: Hepburn references aside, Holly features cliche characters and plots, at times trite dialogue (Denis calls Holly a “breath of fresh air”).

Blog: A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore…

“When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.” –Erasmus
Book reviews
Friday, June 13, 2008
Review: Holly Would Dream, by Karen Quinn

Holly Ross is an assistant at the National Museum of Fashion in New York City. A holder of a Master’s degree in fashion, Holly knows pretty much everything there is to know about the subject. In addition, she has an obsession with Audrey Hepburn films. Holly’s also engaged to her heart’s desire, and she’s about to receive a promotion at work.

But everything changes when the promotion is given to Sammie Kittenblatt, a New York society darling who got her job through a generous donation made by her parents. Then Holly’s fiancee cheats on her, and eventually finds herself fiancee-less, job-less, and living with her father in the basement of a pet hospital.

Things change for the better when Holly is given the chance of a lifetime: to lecture on a cruise ship traveling the Mediterranean, and to bring home a seven-figure donation to the museum that will get her her job back. Soon, however, things turn bad as Holly finds herself the subject of an Interpol investigation looking into the case of a mysteriously vanished trunk full of Audrey Hepburn designer gowns. Added on top of all this is Holly’s growing attraction to Denis, a wealthy entrepreneur.

Holly Would Dream is pure escapist chick lit at its best. The Audrey Hepburn mini-storyline is heaven, and the story is told with wit and humor. There were some passages in this book that I just could not stop laughing at! In addition, I learned quite a bit about the fashion world, which Karen Quinn manages to make even more exciting and sexy than it already is. The characters are well-developed–I loved the description of Denis’s fiancee and her five-pound dumbbells. Holly’s father is a hoot, as are some of the ladies on the cruise. This book is a must-read for any Audrey Hepburn fan. It makes me want to go back and re-watch some of her movies.
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