The Write StuffBy Tom Stacy Posted: Feb 1, 2008
As you'll see in the 2/12 issue of Digest, on sale 2/5, GENERAL HOSPITAL's Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) nabbed our Performer Of The Week honors along with on-screen cohort Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis). Here, the actress addresses what went into that hit pairing — and reveals her "novel" new gig.
Soap Opera Digest: Congratulations on your first Performer Of The Week.
Carolyn Hennesy: How fun! Yes, we saw some new things about Alexis, who the audience has known for years, and it was a really new facet of Diane. So little has been revealed about her until now. It was a nice splash to hear about some of Diane's past.
Digest: How would you describe this popular pairing?
Hennesy: I was telling everyone it was "Lucy and Ethel meet Thelma and Louise and they head to Daytime [laughs]." We had so much fun. I so looked forward to shooting all those scenes. Nancy is so generous as an actress.
Digest: Was there much ad-libbing?
Hennesy: There were a few things we took the reins on. We did come up with suggestions and run them by the producers and directors. That freedom gave way to such joy, which I think you saw on the screen. Serial killers. Baby paternities. Slaps. Every once in a while, you need a diversion from the Sturm und Drang and these gals were it.
Digest: What's next for these two?
Hennesy: I have no idea, but it should be a mission of some sort, something involving black cat suits and masks. Now we go from Lucy and Ethel to Thelma and Louise to Batman and Robin!
Digest: As if you aren't busy enough, you also have a children's book that's available in bookstores now called Pandora Gets Jealous.
Hennesy: I do! Can you believe it?
Digest: How did that happen?
Hennesy: I was in a writing workshop, working on a series of short stories regarding misunderstood women in fiction — giving their perspective. Women who got a bad rap, basically. I tackled the Bride of Frankenstein, Circe, the witch in The Odyssey, and one of them was Pandora. In the standard myth, Pandora was a full-grown woman who was given all these attributes, along with an insatiable curiosity and a box of evil and she took it upon herself to ignore all the warnings and open it. But I thought, "What if Pandora was just a hapless teenager, like every other normal, average teenager?" And chapter five in the book was the short story. Her father comes home, knows what she did and takes her to task. It happened that an Irish author was in the room when I read this short story and he took me aside and said, "That is not a short story; it is a novel for young adults. He then laid out three points to follow, said, "Write 1,000 words a day and in six weeks, you'll have your first novel." I did, and he came back to me months later and said, "Of anyone I've ever said that to, you're the only one who picked it up and ran with it."
Digest: How would you sum up the theme of the story?
Hennesy: It boils down to taking responsibility for your actions. I feel like young people are being taught the opposite today — pass the buck and get away with as much as you possibly can. That's not how I was raised. It's not how my mind works and I see it as one of the things that will destroy this civilization. So, I thought this was a great opportunity to appeal to young people to say, "When you take responsibility for what you do, sometimes you get to go on the greatest adventure of your life."
Digest: Describe your Pandora.
Hennesy: She's your every-girl teen who happens to live in ancient Greece, who suffers the same insecurities as kids in the present: angst, joy, insecurity, crushes, friendship battles, parental battles. These are universal issues that just transcend time.
Digest: And this is only the first of seven, correct?
Hennesy: Correct. As we speak, I'm going over the final edit for Pandora Gets Vain. Then I have to start research on the city of Troy for Pandora Gets A Heart. Book Two takes her to Egypt. Book Three has her find laziness, where her Uncle Atlas has been infected with laziness and he stops and sets down the heavens. It's all great fun.
Digest: How would you rate being a published author?
Hennesy: It's been a mix of, "This is so easy. Why isn't everyone doing this?" to "Why are they punishing me?!?" There has been rejection and heartache along the way, but it didn't languish on my shelf for years and years and that's pretty damn good for a first-time author."
To learn more about Pandora Gets Jealous, check out the actress's official Web site, www.carolynhennesy.com.