Log In   ·   Become A Member

INTERVIEW: Author Holly Peterson Dishes On "It Happens in the Hamptons" And More

Nicole Barylski

Author Holly Peterson. (Photo: Eric Striffler Photography)

If you haven't devoured Holly Peterson's It Happens in the Hamptons yet, head to the closest bookstore immediately and pick up a copy. The juicy-page turner, which is set in the Hamptons, is the perfect beach read. We caught up with Peterson about life in the Hamptons and more.

"Even though it's satire and humorous and fast paced and it's fun, I think it's about some very serious things that are going on in this country, which is different people not getting along and separating from each other and just enormously unfair inequality in income disparities," Peterson told Hamptons.com. "I think it's a serious look at it."

It Happens in the Hamptons.

Why did you decide to set your book in the Hamptons?

HP: I have been going to the Hamptons for about 30 years. I have a summer home out there, and I spend a lot of time surfing and writing in the Hamptons. I'm there with my family a lot. Especially in the past 10 years or so, since the big downturn, I've paid more attention to the class conflict out there because I think in summer communities the differences between those with means and those not with means is kind of shown in technicolor, especially in the Hamptons with these gargantuan estates and Uber helicopters, and everything. It was something that I thought was actually very current about what's going on in America and it was the perfect backdrop from which to paint the narrative of a novel.

Your lead character Katie is not from the area. Why did you decide to primarily show this disparity through an outsider's perspective?

HP: I think that the Hamptons is some kind of crazy financial Land of Oz with money that is so stratospheric that even wealthy people can't relate to a $40 million second home. So, you have to take an outsider and land them on the planet, otherwise it's just going to be too hard to get into it. I just think it's corny and tacky and way too aspirational if you write about rich people in their heels and their parties. It's facile. And you think, oh women want that. Women don't want that. Women want to know what people are wearing and see the heels and the parties, but they also want to know that the valet parker is not treated well, the waiter isn't treated well and completely normal guys who have education degrees or are contractors trying to earn an honest living are being treated like here's my toothpick stabbed into your palm. Go serve me. I think that's as interesting, if not more interesting. The rich people are not all evil and the middle class town people are not all saving the day. There's some twists and turns coming your way.

Do you have a favorite moment from the book?

HP: My favorite scene is Jake and his Defender getting caught in the sand, where he's trying to be down with the local guys but there's too much income disparity for him to expect them to relate to him, but then he gets stuck in the sand and he's like, "How long does it take you to dig me out of here, buddy?" And the next line, I think, was: "It didn't even occur to him that it wasn't their job to dig it out."

"I spend a lot of time surfing and writing in the Hamptons," she noted. (Photo: Courtesy of Holly Peterson)

What are some of your favorite places in the Hamptons and did they make it into the book?

HP: I didn't want to use actual places in the Hamptons because I wasn't sure the local establishments wanted to be in my book or not, because there's good and bad in my book. I did put the Exhale classes in because I'm friendly with Fred and Elizabeth, who run them. I showed it to them and they thought that scene was very funny - where the moms can't park their Maseratis. I think in fiction you got to keep it fiction.

Is there anything you hope the reader takes away?

HP: I hope they take away a love of reading, I hope they consider the Hamptons to be almost a character in the book - the beauty and the nature of the Hamptons, and that corn and tomatoes and lobsters and the feel of the sand in your toes and the baptismal rush that one gets when one dunks oneself in the Atlantic. I really worked hard to describe the produce, and the fish, and the oysters, and the wine, and the cheese, and the feel of the sand, and the sound of the cicadas, and the way the light turns in the afternoon through your windows. I hope that I did some justice to the natural beauty of the Hamptons, because I do believe it's paradise out there, and I do believe a lot of people deserve to be happy out there and treated well.

"I have been going to the Hamptons for about 30 years," Peterson shared. (Photo: Courtesy of Holly Peterson)

If you happen to be in the Hamptons on Saturday, August 12, you can meet Holly Peterson and have her sign a copy of It Happens in the Hamptons during East Hampton Library's Authors Night (authorsnight.org).

For more information about Holly Peterson, visit www.hollypeterson.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is the sky?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Gary R. DePersia, Corcoran Real Estate
With over $2 billion in transactions on the East End and since 1995, Gary DePersia is consistently ranked among the top producers in the Hamptons. A year-on-year member of The Corcoran Group President’s Council, he has qualified as a national list maker since 2007. In 2008 he was Corcoran's top broker on the East End by sales volume and rental units; and ranked as the nation’s 4th top broker. In the 2017 REAL Trends & The Wall Street Journal list of America’s top real estate professionals, he was designated #26 nationally, #4 in the Hamptons and #3 at Corcoran overall by volume with nearly $200 million of transactions for the past year. His office operates with four licensed assistants allowing him to build a business stretching from Southampton to Montauk and Sagaponack to Shelter Island. gdp@corcoran.com

East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Advertise on Hamptons.com - Have your business be seen by over 2 million viewers including NEW searches
Hamptons.com- Our exclusive online magazine has 2.6 million Page Views YTD for 2015. Contact us to join our elite group of clients that benefit from having a presence on the Hamptons award winning publication www.Hamptons.com

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.

CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.

D+J Concepts is known for a high-end cutting edge approach to design.
D+J Concepts is known for a high-end cutting edge approach to design with a balance between functionality and imagination. We skillfully and tastefully transform ordinary spaces into classic modern styles, which are understated, and luxe. We’re known for our modern transitional style incorporating antiques and modern elements for an unexpected edge.