Riley Weston's Before I Go is an incredibly moving tale of the relationship between a mother and daughter, a young adult and her first love, and the act of letting go in the face of tragedy. Literature Chick cried for the entire final 40 pages! This is a book in the spirit of The Notebook, one that you will remember for along time after you finish the final line. The book recently won accolades at the New York Book Festival. Riley took some time out to talk to us.
LC: Your new book, Before I Go, deals with the love between a mother and daughter. Does this come from your own personal history?
RW: My relationship with my mom is wonderful, and we’re extremely close. Probably too close! She is my biggest support and my best friend. However, I will be the first to admit I was not the easiest kid! So the trouble between Annie and Madison in before i go did come from a little of our history.
LC: What influenced the plot of the book and why?
RW: The entire plot, start to finish, happened in a dream. Two in the morning until just after five in the morning. I saw every moment, every scene, and heard every line of dialogue. It was written as a script first, and then later a book.
LC: You are also an actress - which is your first love?
RW: This is the most difficult question!! If I absolutely had to pick, I would lean towards acting, as that’s how I started out. I do think one of the reasons why I not only love to write, but why my works comes out the way it does, is due to my acting. I love disappearing into characters. Thankfully, I’ve found a good balance to be able to do both…and throw in another hyphen or two with my singing and television and script writing! Whoops. Maybe that’s three hyphens!
LC: Who are some of the writers that influence you?
RW: I really am not influenced by writers. For me, it’s more…I’m a fan of their work. I love to read Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, Nicholas Sparks, Wally Lamb and some classics.
LC: I have to ask it so here goes...way back when you were embroiled in a tricky situation when it was discovered that you were not the age you portrayed yourself as. Do you think Hollywood discriminates based on age? What has that experience taught you?
RW: I do think some people in Hollywood do discriminate against age. I also think they discriminate against people when it comes to a chosen sexuality, hair or eye color, height, weight…you name it! Being in the entertainment industry has taught me a few things. You have to not listen to the negative people and press, because in the end, talent and inevitably, success, will always win. And that feeling, for me, is definitely worth all the other stuff! I also realized I am far stronger and more determined than I thought I was. And lastly, the experience taught me to always remember…we’re in the business of entertaining! There are much greater worries out there in the world than how old a certain actress is, or what sexuality a certain director is, or are they or aren’t they real on a certain singer!
LC: What is your favorite book and why?
RW: This is a hard one, as I don’t really have a favorite. I love the works of the authors I mentioned above. If I had to pick one and only one, I would before i go! Even if i hadn’t written it, I love the meaning in it. It encompasses everything I think we, at any age and every age, think about and want: the unconditional love of a family member, and finding that one true love of a lifetime.
LC: Future plans?
RW: There are a few!! I’m acting whenever I can. I have a television movie I wrote that is currently shooting. It’s called “The Black Widow” and will be airing on Lifetime. GoTV Networks just filmed a television pilot presentation I wrote and produced called “Being Bailey.” That is going to be airing on the internet, cell phones and now, potentially on television! I also have a feature film called “Stay” that is heading into pre-production soon. And lastly, my personal favorite project! “Before I Go” just won it’s second award, so that’s incredibly exciting. I am now talking to production companies about making it into a feature film…and I would play Madison.