"If The Bridges of Madison County had a dark, erotic side, this book would be it. A stunning debut!"

"Intense...erotic...compelling...genuine electricity...the characters are magnetic."

"Erotically charged. LUNCH will put you in the mood. A titillating, tasty morsel. Bon appetit!"

LUNCH was inspired by - what else? - a lunchtime meeting with a friend at Joe Allen's restaurant in London. While she and I were engrossed in conversation, I became aware that someone was staring at me. Not just staring - literally devouring me with his eyes. It was creepy and unnerving to feel as if I were being stalked in such a public place, until my friend told me the man was a fellow actor, and she invited him over for a coffee. He turned out to be a nice guy who'd been a professional boxer, with a very specific physicality in an extremely coiled package.

But the unease I'd felt that day struck me as an ideal way to begin a novel, one I'd been thinking about writing while I was working flat-out as an entertainment journalist. I was traveling constantly on assignment, profiling the rich and infamous (and being kicked around by their publicists), and lots of people didn't believe me when I told them that many of these celebrities may have had undeniable talent but very little coherent or interesting things to say about it (yes, I am being circumspect). But one thing those famous faces did have in common was that they got what they wanted, when they wanted it, and they knew they would get it. Being thwarted in their desires-of-the-moment was not an option. Knowing this, I wanted to explore what would happen when a woman who was emotionally centered was chased by a sexually driven superstar to whom no one ever said no anymore. Creating the characters in LUNCH helped me ignore the egomaniacal stars I was interviewing; I was able to fuel my frustration into a productive outlet that resonated with readers around the world. What could be more universal that Sex + Hollywood + More Sex?


LUNCH received a tremendous amount of press, particularly in the UK, when it was published in the spring of 1994. Some of the journalists who interviewed me loved it; others hated it; still others misquoted me badly which I found infuriating–as a journalist, I was perfectly aware of what I said and how to make my points clear (did they think I wouldn't remember?). But as the author of a provocative book, what you hope for are intense, polarizing reactions that are illuminating about the reader's passions, prejudices, and prudery (or lack thereof). I certainly got them!

(click on covers to read articles – you can enlarge pdfs for readability)

Book Display
When I was shown a mock-up of this cover, I had to look at it twice before I realized what it was. Then I got it and it and was thrilled, because the designers used the right colors and the right weirdness of deliberate distortion to draw your eye in so you'd think What the heck is that?!
Time Out London – 6/8 - 15/94
Subtle cover, right? I was thrilled when they chose such an in-your-face extract.
Tatler UK – Summer/94
The cover of this issue has disappeared but my gratitude to the wondrous journalist and novelist Maggie Alderson for this amazing profile has not. Full disclosure: She is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and was a champion during the writing of Lunch when I often didn't have a clue. We also had a blast taking the photos on the Brooklyn Bridge (all the heckling passersby were airbrushed out) and in the kitchen of my much-missed funky East Village brownstone apartment. Love that she included the Sean Penn + butter story.
Daily Telegraph UK – 7/9/94
Long and thoughtful piece exploring the charged relationship between erotica and feminism.
Today UK – 6/30/95
Best quote from this piece: "... dubbed the most erotic novel of 1994."
New York Times, Hamptons Sunday – 9/94
Before there was the Style section, the Times had special Sunday sections for Westchester County and the Hamptons. Because this was done for the Hampton section, I talked about all the houses I'd stayed in out there while I was trying to finish the book. (You can see how much I love writing in other people's houses here.)
Vanity Fair US – 9/94
I love this photo, as it makes my nose look a lot smaller than it really is. The description, on the other hand.... At least I'm right above John Irving.
Daily Mirror – 7/8/94
The first and hopefully last journalist to call me "polite and slightly neurotic," whatever that means. But at least she got the drool factor right. And the photo shoot was a hoot.
Avenue US – 9/94
As I was a sometime contributor to Avenue, they asked me to write a piece to coincide with the US publication (they rarely review books). Thanks to the genius of photographer Deborah Feingold, I look better than okay.
The Times UK – 7/18/94
This is one of the best reviews of Lunch. See if you agree.
Sunday Express – 6/19/94
I had a hilarious lunch with this writer and she went on and on about how much she loved the book... then she zoomed in for the slaughter. I don't mind if you hate my writing, but kindly refrain from poking fun at my "rather loud American voice" and accent.
The Guardian – 7/19/94
Sorry this is so hard to read but I only have a fax copy. At least she said Lunch was "well-paced and well-crafted" before going in for the "deeply unpleasant" kill.
Cosmopolitan – Summer/94
This ad was in Cosmo (not sure of the month). It looks great opposite a recipe for Pilau Rice.
The Observer UK – 6/19/94
Not the kind of Lunch she'd choose to eat.
Sunday Age – Summer 94
"Plump and steamy read" – now you're talking!
Woroni – 5/94
One of my favorite lines: "Lunch is a Jackie Collins style Hollywood-sex-obsession novel for people who don't want to read total crap."
dB Magazine – Summer/94
The last paragraph is a knockout – thank you, Alex, for getting it so brilliantly!
Australia Review
One of the loveliest reviews in Australia. I'm not sure of the publication as some of the clips were sent to me without any ID (or, um, I lost them).
Australian Profile
This was a terrific profile in an Australian publication that, again, is now unknown.

This is the Bello formatted cover, and it fits the theme of the book perfectly.

This US hardcover design was a terrible disappointment. I'd actually gone to a bookstore with the designer, and had told her what I didn't want: pastel, soft, indistinct, etc - because the novel is blunt, X-rated, and, well, in your face. What she ended up doing was precisely the opposite. Not only does it completely miss the feel of the book, but it didn't scan properly when used in newspaper reviews, as the overlay is semi-transparent. Instead, it read as black. And there was nothing I could do about it.

Avon redeemed themselves with this cover, which is not only sensationally dramatic, but perfectly captures the content of the book. One glance and you know what it's about. That the hardcover publisher couldn't have bothered to do something like this was devastating.

This cover was incredibly dynamic and I was extremely happy with it, especially as it came out before the dreadful sanitized pastel US rip-off cover. At first glance it's hard to decipher as the photograph was deliberately distorted, but then the woman's figure becomes clear - sort of what happened to Olivia in the novel itself. It also looked great on bookstore shelves unlike the heinous US cover. I was glad they used this image for the hardcover, trade paperback, and paperback editions.

A lovely naked butt.

I love my new last name!

At first I went, Huh? But then the painting grew on me. The colors work.

Two covers: One lurid pink (which I think is hilarious) for bookstores and one a lower priced edition, complete with a thong that looks mighty uncomfortable. That poor model has all my sympathy.

When I first saw this, I thought the man's torso at the top was a roasted turkey leg. I still can't figure it out!

The cover using the stunning Bill Brandt photo is indescribably beautiful, and now a rare collector's item. Unfortunately for me, Bompiani, the Italian publisher, hadn't gotten the proper permission to use this image pre-publication, and the Brandt estate made their displeasure known (as was well within their rights).

As a result, the books had to be yanked off the shelves and the covers destroyed. That was a heartbreaker, particularly as the replacement cover isn't quite as gorgeously sophisticated (okay, so it's a little cheesy, but the models sure have great hair)...

... and the paperback edition features a sweaty lady with some sort of metal coil around her neck (did they find it lying around the set of Alien?).

Of all the book covers, this one most closely follows the storyline of the book, and is both sexual and violent. I only wish the image had been bigger as that would have made an even more potent statement (sorry, bad pun, couldn't help myself!).

Have zilch idea what this is - but it's as aesthetically gorgeous as the Japanese version of Belladonna, so I'm not complaining.

This eye-grabber would never work in Wal-Mart LOL.

The woman doesn't look at all like Olivia, the heroine, but I guess the guy lurking over her shoulder can pass for a debauched Hollywood superstar.

Clever use of sexually suggestive flowers.