Shelf Life

Shelf Life: Sibling rivalry between sisters takes form in local author's new book

2014-02-02T08:00:00Z 2014-02-05T18:32:09Z Shelf Life: Sibling rivalry between sisters takes form in local author's new bookJane Ammeson Times Correspondent
February 02, 2014 8:00 am  • 

Broke and about to be evicted from a crummy apartment, Jen Lancaster, a former executive in Chicago who thought she’d had it all, took to writing. Her first novel "Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office", showcased her “snarky” humor and ability to laugh at just about anything including how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to zilch. It was a chronicle based upon what she was going through and readers loved it.

In her latest novel, "Twisted Sisters" (NAL 2014; $25.95), Lancaster, who doesn’t have a sister tells the story of Reagan Bishop, a licensed psychologist and star of the Wendy Winsberg (think Oprah) cable show "I Need a Push" is able to help others overcome obstacles and change their behaviors for the better. Reagan, despite her overwhelming professional success, never seems to earn her family’s respect, and she vies with her younger sister Geri (“a cosmetologist,” Reagan sniffs while noting her long list of achievements) who she considers her parents’ favorite.

But when the show is bought by a national network and the format is redone, Reagan is desperate to make it work and goes to a New Age healer for advice.

“For 'Here I Go Again', it was about high school mean girls, time travel and Whitesnake,” said Lancaster in summing up her latest book by comparing it to another novel she wrote. “This one is about sister rivalry, body swapping and reality TV.”

In keeping with body swapping, Lancaster’s book tour launches with a Champagne toast and a movie screening of Freaky Friday. She will be signing copies of her book before and after the movie.

“The good one with Jody Foster and not the one with Lindsay Lohan,” she said.

Asked about her ability to make others laugh, Lancaster said she always had the ability to make herself laugh.

“In my 20s, I was really cute and you didn’t have to be funny when you’re in cute in college,” said Lancaster, who lives in Lake Forest. “When I got to my 30s, I realized I had to be interesting as the 'cuteship' had sailed.”

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