Although born and raised in New York City, Dana Aynn Levin always considered herself a California girl at heart. So after graduating from Vassar College, where she studied economics and psychology, she headed out to the land of sunshine, oranges and, of course, movie magic. After a brief detour in DC to earn an MBA, Levin headed back to the beach, where she became a film production accountant working on, in her words, “films you’ve never heard of.” She wrote her first novel at the age of six, and then did not attempt it again until five or so decades later. Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough asked Levin to talk about her enduring love for Tinseltown, and how those screen dreams informed the conception and execution of Hollywood Princess.
YZM: What’s behind the fascination Los Angeles has always had for you?
DL: The history of my fascination with Los Angeles sounds so hokey and not at all intellectual. It’s rooted in pop culture. Growing up, so much of the music I enjoyed either came from artists based in Los Angeles, (Beach Boys, Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, etc.) or the songs referenced the city. California Dreaming? I was. And when I was trapped in Malibu for two weeks by mudslides my first winter, I laughed at the absurdity of “It Never Rains in California.” Seriously, Albert Hammond? He had obviously never experienced an El Nino.