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Bedtime stories with Rosie Perez and ‘Real Housewife’ Carole Radziwill

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The Academy Award-nominated actress, Rosie Perez and “voice of reason” Carole Radziwill of the Bravo TV reality series “The Real Housewives of New York City” kicked off “Bedtime Stories at the Savoir” hosted by the famed Savoir Beds SoHo, 28 Wooster Street at Grand.

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Hundreds of fans and members of the press gathered for cocktails, a meet and greet, the reading itself and a book signing afterwards. The authors read excerpts from their new books while guests lounged on exquisitely handcrafted beds in the elegant showroom.

Rosie Perez read from her memoir “Handbook for an Unpredictable Life” and wowed the audience with the opening pages of her family history. The humor and pathos with which Ms. Perez writes about the struggles she experienced is extraordinary. Her book is a must read for fans of the talented actress and activist and for anyone looking for an inspiring true story.

In our interview, I asked about the process of writing this very personal story. Ms. Perez said, “At first it was pretty sporadic. Then, I wrote three weeks straight, 100 pages, and… it was very sporadic. Then my friend, playwright George C. Wolfe told me ‘You can’t do that, this is your job now, you gotta go to work every day, you need to put aside a time and that’s it, even if you’re gonna work on a project, in between takes, in between breaks, you have to write, you have to honor the process,’ that’s when things started coming. Even honoring writer’s block is part of the process.”

When asked about readers’ response to the book, Ms. Perez said, “The biggest surprise I’ve had on this journey is people coming to me in mobs and I really didn’t expect that at all saying I went through it just like you and that’s really what I want if anything for people to say I’m not alone, my story is valid, I have a right to it, I can tell it… and I don’t have to be a victim anymore.”

Asked about where she found the time in her busy schedule to write her novel, Ms. Radziwill mentioned there were weeks here and there when she could sit down and really write though mostly in her L.A. home and not as much when in New York.

Having already written the nonfiction “What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love” about the untimely death of her husband and how she coped with the loss, Ms. Radziwill found fiction harder to write. “The level of detail is so much greater in a novel. One false note will pull the reader out of the story,” she said.

Partly inspired by the author’s own life experience, “The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating” also features inspiration from a classic literary short story. According to Ms. Radziwill, the scene in which the main character’s husband is killed by a falling statue was inspired by Graham Greene’s “A Shocking Accident” about a man killed by a falling pig.

Rosie Perez’s “Handbook for an Unpredictable Life” and Carole Radziwill’s “The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating” are available online and in bookstores. “The Real Housewives of New York City” airs on Bravo, Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.

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