Molly Ringwald Starts a New Chapter: The Actress Trades in Breakfast Clubs for Something Decidedly Darker

Ms. Ringwald. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Expectations were high for An Evening with Molly Ringwald, which featured the actress-turned-novelist in conversation with Vanity Fair’s Elissa Schappell, as part of the East Village Lit Crawl. This was either due to some deferred Molly-mania, the kind that melted the hearts of many a Reagan-era adolescent male, (and quite a lot of women), or in sincere anticipation of Ms. Ringwald’s new novel, When It Happens to You.

The minute Ms. Ringwald walked in the room, everyone fell silent as camera phones were raised in a sort of luminous shrine. The audience was mainly female, aside from her husband, the writer Panio Gianopoulos, and a handful of middle-aged men gawking at the back of the room. Unlike Ms. Ringwald’s autobiographical book, 2010’s Getting the Pretty Back, this fictional “novel in stories,” comprising eight intertwined vignettes, is really quite serious. The collection portrays less of the Ringwald sassiness familiar to fans of the Brat Pack, and is more a dark depiction of betrayal in its many forms.

“We’re all betrayers, we’re all betrayed, we betray ourselves,” Ms. Ringwald explained to Ms. Schappell. “My characters are all flawed. To be flawed is to be human.”

After the talk, Ms. Ringwald told The Observer her years as an actor helped her create convincing fictional characters. But why, then, only begin writing fiction now?

“Writing is something that I’ve always done,” she said, “but, until now, I’ve never written something I’ve felt ready to release.”

Ms. Schappell agreed that being fully satisfied with your work is crucial. “Writing is like sending out pictures of yourself bent over cleaning the bathtub,” She said.

It’s a good point.

When asked about the future of her writing career, Ms. Ringwald said she is already in the process of researching material for her next novel.

As for the various other career paths she pursues–aside from writing and acting, she’s recorded two jazz albums (the first one even predates her career as a teen idol; it was released when she was six)—Ms. Ringwald said, “They’re all a part of me.” Molly Ringwald Starts a New Chapter: The Actress Trades in Breakfast Clubs for Something Decidedly Darker