The Cast

By: Danielle Steel

Dear Friends,

Many series that are on TV these days are so much fun to watch and have so many fans, who become addicted to their favorites, that I became intrigued by the idea of writing about one. There are so many people involved in the production and some terrific actors.

And as always, there are underlying themes and subplots in the book as well—one of them being a challenge that many parents face more and more often, the empty nest, with our children taking jobs they love in other cities and moving far away. Often, if your children “do well” now, it means they got a job they love, somewhere else. It can be very lonely once your kids move away and you can’t do things together spontaneously. You wish you lived closer to your adult children but no longer do, and visits are too rare. And for a single parent, it can be a real heartbreak to have children who live far away. We wish them well, but miss them fiercely. It would be wrong to hold them back, so we don’t. But then we, as parents, have to face the challenge of filling our time and keeping our own lives satisfying and interesting, in a city where we once lived with our children and saw them every day, and don’t anymore. It’s an art form for parents to make the best of it, and it can be very challenging.

In some ways, this book is about reinventing yourself, at any age. The heroine of the novel has a successful career writing for a magazine. And after a chance dinner party she attends, an opportunity presents itself to write a TV series, which opens new doors, and gives her fabulous new experiences she never dreamed of before. Suddenly the void left by her children moving away to their own lives and careers (to San Francisco, Dallas, and London, while she lives in New York) is not so devastating, as she explores a whole new career and all it entails. She meets fascinating people, makes new friends, discovers her own talent in a different field, and builds a whole new life for herself.

It’s an opportunity many of us wish we had, and as The Cast unfolds, we discover all the exciting elements of writing and filming a hit TV series, and all the people who are part of it. It sounds like a lot of fun to me!

The doors to a whole new world open for the people in the book, and for us. I hope you thoroughly enjoy The Cast, and all the interesting characters portrayed. Have a great time reading it—I loved writing it!



Chapter 1

The sounds of the office Christmas party drifted into Kait Whittier’s office through the partially open door. She paid no attention to it as she sat bent over her computer, trying to finish the last of her work before the Christmas break. It was Friday afternoon, Christmas was on Monday, and the offices of Woman’s Life magazine would be closed until after New Year’s. She wanted to get her column in before she left, and she had lots to do before two of her children came home on Sunday morning to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with her.

But for now, her entire focus was on what she was writing. It was for the March issue of the magazine, but the time of year didn’t matter. She tried to keep her subjects of general interest to women, about the difficult issues they dealt with, at home, in their relationships and marriages, with their kids, or in the workplace. The column she wrote was called “Tell Kait,” and it was hard for her to believe she had been writing it for nineteen years. She responded to some letters directly, on particularly sensitive personal subjects, and included others in the column that were of broader scope.

 She was often cited as an expert, and invited to be on panels about women’s issues, or to appear on TV shows on all the major networks. She had majored in journalism in college and went on to get a master’s in journalism at Columbia. And a few years after she started writing the column, in order to gain greater credibility and insight, she had gotten a master’s in psychology at NYU, and it had served her well. The column was at the front of the magazine now, and many people bought Woman’s Life primarily to read her. What had originally been referred to as her “agony column” in editorial meetings was now a huge success and treated with dignity and seriousness, as she was. And best of all, she loved what she did and found it rewarding.

In recent years, she had added a blog to her repertoire that included excerpts from her column. She had thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, and had contemplated writing an advice book, but hadn’t done it so far. She was mindful of walking the fine line of not overtly giving delicate advice that would leave the magazine open to lawsuits or herself to being charged with practicing medicine without a license. Her responses were intelligent, carefully thought out, sensible, wise, and full of common sense, the kind of advice one would hope to get from a smart, concerned mother, which she was in her private life with her three children, now grown up. They had been very young when she began writing at Woman’s Life, as an entry path into the world of women’s magazines.

She had really wanted to work at Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue, and agreed to write the women’s advice column as a stopgap while she waited for a more glamorous position to open up elsewhere. Instead she had discovered her niche and her own strengths, and had fallen in love with what she was doing. It was perfect because she could do the work from home when she needed to and went into the office for editorial meetings and to deliver her finished columns. When her children were young, it was a schedule that allowed her a lot of leeway to spend time with them. And now she was free to be in the office more, although she did much of her work by email. She had faced many of the problems herself that her readers wrote to her about. Her fans were legion and the magazine had been quick to realize that they had a gold mine on their hands. Kait could do whatever she wanted at Woman’s Life, and they trusted her gut instincts, which had been infallible so far.