"Chick lit" has traditionally been written by women for women, but Robert Rave's new book, Spin, proves that you don't need to be one to write for one. Rave was a celebrity, restaurant, and event publicist in New York in his early 20s, and though he had many different bosses, it was his two-year stint with tabloid fodder party girl Lizzie Grubman, and his subsequent book about a tabloid fodder party girl publicist named Jenny Weinstein, that has proved impossible to shake.
Spin is about a Midwestern boy named Taylor who moves to New York bright-eyed and ends up taking a job for the most horrible woman in public relations. When not fetching her drugs or covering up her sex scandals, he is manipulating his way to the top, and eventually finds he has become that which he most hates.
Rave originally wrote the story as a concept for a TV show for Sony Television, but when the show never got made, he turned it around into a novel and sold it to St. Martin's Press. The publishing house has given the book a Devil Wears Prada packaging and marketing campaign and is sending it out to bookstores this August for the fashionistas to read while tanning in the Hamptons. While the book is a work of fiction -- with a straight protagonist no less --one can't help but wonder if Rave intended it to be a thinly veiled tell-all.
Rave sat down with me at Hugo's restaurant in West Hollywood, where he now resides, to try and convince me that it is not.
You sort of fell into public relations?I did. I did this program in college called New York City semester and I interned at Good Morning America. It was the only position that was available, so I ended up getting a job with them and I really enjoyed it. When I graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, I knew I wanted to move to New York. I was from a [small town] and I was closeted in college, so I thought I had to move to the big city to be gay. I got an internship at a PR firm that eventually turned into a working gig. Then I started jumping around to a bunch of different firms.
So then did you start working with Lizzie Grubman?No, I had several other jobs before I worked for her.
In your book the protagonist gets a job with his boss when she fires someone near him and wants to prove the point that that person was replaceable with anyone. Was that how you got your job?No, I met Lizzie through a mutual friend. I worked for Anne Klein at the time and a friend of mine introduced me to her. He told her she should hire me.
Did you start as her assistant?No. I mean, I shadowed her for the first month I was there, but I wasn't her assistant. I would say I learned about her accounts for the first month or so, then I started getting my own accounts.
Did you like working there?I liked it at first. I think by the time I started working there I knew I was going to start transitioning out of PR at some point.
How old were you?Twenty-four. I knew I wasn't cut out for it because I knew I wanted to write. I was writing short stories a lot at that time, but at the same time I needed to pay my bills. I stayed because it was easy and it was a paycheck and sometimes you just do those things. I knew I couldn't just go start working at a bank.