Friday, September 24, 2010

The Famous One

by Nicole Petrino-Salter

Pleasant Word
364 pages

A Search for Meaning in the Seemingly Perfect Life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Tom Cruise became a born-again Christian? What about Steven Spielberg? Angelina Jolie? Can you imagine the witness they would have? The stories they could tell through movies? Personally, I’ve always wanted to see what Spielberg could do with This Present Darkness.

And don't you ever wonder why there is so much dissatisfaction in Hollywood when the stars have everything? Why do so many actors try to anesthetize their seemingly perfect lives by abusing drugs and alcohol?

With a concept similar to that of Creston Mapes’ Rock Star Chronicles (Dark Star and Full Tilt--about a Mick Jagger-like rock star who is pursued by God), I wonder if Nicole Petrino-Salter had those questions in mind when she penned The Famous One.

Joey Parr, Jr.’s life begins in turmoil. His parents continuously fight and eventually divorce. All too often, the quiet, deep-thinking, emotive child is left alone. Loneliness becomes his familiar companion. It follows him through his teen years, and he chases it with drugs, booze, and sex, but the emptiness refuses to leave him alone.

Then he’s discovered by a Hollywood bigwig and Joey is propelled into stardom. Still, fame and wealth do little to alleviate the loneliness. Even when he starts a family, something is missing. But what? He’s got everything anyone could ever dream of having. Shouldn’t he be fulfilled?

In The Famous One, Nicole Petrino-Salter digs into the heart of a man who’s continuously searching for meaning in his life. Even when he has everything, there’s a hole, a sense of worthlessness. Salter deftly takes us through Joey’s entire life. We see him grow and change, but it’s so subtle the reader is unaware that it’s happening. And on this journey, we learn to love this passionate man and root for him even when he’s making terrible choices.

Now that’s excellent storytelling.

A Conversation with Nicole

You told me this is a book of your heart. Could you elaborate further on that? What compelled you to tell Joey Parr's story?

The character of "Sarah" makes this small portion of the story somewhat autobiographical, but, no, I didn't write a screenplay and get to present it to an actor. I did in fact watch a film with an actor I'd heard of but had never seen his work. Immediately following the movie the Lord planted the burden for his soul into my heart. The intensity of the prayer for this man lasted two full years before the Lord eased it away. During the initial prayer for this actor The Famous One came to be.

As I was reading this I kept imagining who "Joey Parr" would be in real life. Did you have someone in mind for Joey? Errol? Colleen?

Joey Parr is based on a real actor. When I researched the information for the making of a film in the Hollywood environs, I also read a book about the particular actor just to get a feel for him and understand who he was as a person. Joey is purely fictional, but I tried to capture the essence of the heart of the man without imitating his life. Beyond him the characters aren't based on specific people. It would be great fun to cast them, though.


Nicole Petrino-Salter was born and raised a city girl in Seattle, Washington. She loved horses from the time she could talk which is probably why the Lord allowed her to work in the Thoroughbred racing industry for over 30 years. Prior to that she attended the University of Washington for a year taking primarily literature classes. After watching a film starring a British actor, she worked for a year and dashed off to Europe to find him. On her final day in London, she saw him and he said good morning to her. She returned to the U but realized it was too much like school and finally found her home with horses at the racetrack.

Nicole loves the Lord Jesus Christ who rescued her and set her free. She's married to the handsomest man in the world, has two adult sons, and three grandchildren.

Nicole's blog:


  1. So honored by your review, Brenda. Thanks for reading Joey's story.

  2. Wow -- sounds interesting and compelling. It's on my TBR list.

  3. Nicole - You're welcome. It's such an intriguing concept & it really made me think. I love it when books do that. :)

  4. Kav - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I love that it's so different from what's out there in the CBA market.