White knows the behind-the-scenes magazine world. Besides being an author, she's the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine.
She visits The Early Show to talk about the book, as well as people's fascination with gossip and celebrities.
This is White's fourth novel. Click here to read an excerpt.
White says, "We live in such a rapid-paced world, and the one thing we know is that most of us want to be 'in the know.' One thing we know our reader (at Cosmo) hates is to be the last to know something. We want to be able to get our information fast."
So why do we love celebrity gossip?
White says, "You might not get all you want about your friends. You might feel uncomfortable dishing and trashing people you know. With gossip about celebrities, you can let your evil twin come out without hurting anyone. Gossiping about friends or co-workers might make you feel bad about who you are. Gossiping about people who are already famous is pretty harmless."
She says, "When a rumor originates in an organized grapevine (as in an office), people work together to find out the truth. A rumor usually contains a grain of truth. There's a deep desire to figure out what the truth is. 'Did you hear about so-and-so? What do you think will happen?' That kind of questioning is everyone working together for the good of the group."
In her book, the editor-in-chief of Buzz, hated by almost everyone, is murdered. Although the character is not modeled on anyone she's encountered in the magazine world, White says, "There are difficult people out there, people who other people wouldn't mind seeing dead."
But she's quick to add that all magazines aren't run the way Buzz was. "There are editors who are divas and are difficult, and they bring out the worst in people, and they attract others like that to them. The person at the top sets the tone and reflects the workplace over time."
As for journalist Bailey Weggins, White says there might be parts of her in the central character. But she notes, "Bailey is much more fearless than me. I would never go into an unknown house or a dark alley. But it's important to try and find the fear your character is feeling. You want the reader to feel as scared as you would feel if you did those things. I love Bailey. I love her sense of humor and her irreverence."
White says she did do a lot of research on celebrity magazines for her book and also took a visit to the basement of the building at Cosmo headquarters. She wanted to see what it was like down there and in some ways feel the fear that Bailey feels when she visits the basement in the book.
Describing her writing process, White says she has an outline, but with a book like this, she starts backwards. "The idea for this one came from seeing someone reading a celebrity magazine one day," says White. "That was the beginning of the idea and then the process was, 'Who's going to die? Who killed her? And how do I bury the evidence?'"
Sometime, when she is writing, the character takes over, and White says that feeling is thrilling.
As editor-in-chief of Cosmo, White has to stay on top of the quick changes in our culture, and she says, "To understand people not of your generation is energizing and exciting."
As for the secret of her success, she says, "It's my kids. My kids are totally into the culture, and they're into it in a totally intuitive way, not in the way layers of information will interfere with your judgment. When I'm thinking of someone for the cover, I might be influenced by other covers that person has done for other magazines, or do I like their publicist?, or was their last movie a hit?"
The kids don't have that baggage. White says, "When the kids were little, they used to come to the office, and I'd let them pretend to be interns and help me select covers. My son was always right."