Born in Long Island, NY; Education: Attended Washington University and King's College, London.
Home—New York, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Red Dress Ink, P.O. Box 5190, Buffalo, NY 14240-5190.
Writer and freelance copy editor for various magazines, including In Style, Metropolitan, and Weight Watchers. Has worked as an editorial assistant at the Museum of Television and Radio, New York, NY, and as a full-time copy editor for a publisher of TV guides.
Fashionistas, Red Dress Ink (Buffalo, NY), 2003.
Tallulahland, Red Dress Ink (Buffalo, NY), 2004.
Freelance copy editor Lynn Messina worked for a time at In Style magazine, and the experience was the inspiration for her first novel, Fashionistas. The novel's protagonist, Vig Morgan, is an associate editor at a celebrity magazine that is all style and no substance. Disheartened by her job in creating a magazine with stories based solely on the intertwining of celebrity, fashion, and beauty, Morgan ends up becoming part of an office coup to overthrow her nasty managing editor-in-chief, Jane. One of the plots to get rid of Jane involves getting the magazine to print a story complete with photos about an art show that has Jesus statues in designer clothes. To do this, Vig must convince the elusive Alex Keller, who is the magazine's events editor, to cover the show. In the process, Vig learns that Keller is more interested in his architecture studies at a university than parties and that his column is really written by his secretary. As the novel progresses, Vig falls for Keller and Jane must fight off a full frontal assault on her position by a potential replacement, the sophisticated Marguerite.
Some reviewers noted that the book relies less on plot than on the humorous observations and encounters made by the book's various characters. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Fashionistas the "standard chick lit fare" but added that the "prose is witty and assured … and her novel is an irresistible frolic." Writing in Kirkus Reviews, a contributor noted, "A few funny lines, but the dispirited tone sinks it fast." Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley, however, found the book to be "a hip and funny parody of trendy magazines and the people who toil at them."
The protagonist of Messina's second book, Tallulahland, is Tallulah West, the daughter of a famous industrial designer, Joseph West, whose work appears regularly in museums. Tallulah is also a talented designer but refuses to work with her father, whom she believes got over the death of her mother too easily. Instead she works for a hack designer until one day she sets about trying to straighten out her life. While organizing her apartment, she discovers the deed to property her mother owned in North Carolina. Tallulah quits her job and heads south to sell the land and eventually start her own design business called Tallulahland. In the process she begins falling in love with her trusted best friend, Nick. Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer did not think that Tallulahland was as well written as Messina's first novel and commented that the author's "self-consciously clever and distancing language … detracts from what might otherwise be a sweetly comic story of love and healing." Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley, however, found Tallulah to be a "loveable heroine" and called Tallulahland "a funny, engaging novel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of Fashionistas, p. 1284; January 1, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Talluahland, p. 837.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of Fashionistas, p. 170.
Publishers Weekly, January 27, 2003, review of Fashionistas, p. 233; November 17, 2003, review of Talluahland, p. 43.
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/review10591 (March 3, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of Fashionistas.
Red Dress Ink,http://www.reddressink.com/ (March 3, 2004), interview with Lynn Messina.*