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Shay Mitchell - Michaela - Bliss book LEAD
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Shay Mitchell has made her mark in Hollywood playing Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars, and now she's expanding her resume with the release of her debut novel, Bliss, out today. Co-written with her best friend Michaela Blaney, Bliss follows three best friends, Sophia, Demi, and Leandra, as they navigate the ups and downs of their early twenties.

Sophia dreams of being an actress but is having a hard time getting her first big break; Demi finds herself at a crossroad after a major break up, and Leandra yearns for a life of adventure after finishing college. As they embark on their individual journeys, you'll find yourself recalling your own angsty post-teen years, as well as the hopeful optimism that is required to find yourself during those tumultuous times. Thankfully, these three have each other as they pursue their dreams because, after all, where would we be without our best girlfriends?

Below, read an excerpt from Bliss, then pick up a copy for yourself ($26; amazon.com).

Shay Mitchell - Bliss book
Credit: Courtesy

Sophia arrived at Casting Central at eight o’clock in the morning. Along with hosting live auditions, the facility had a recording studio for making high-quality audiotapes and videos. A staff of videographers ran the studio, charging for the space and their services. It was booked solid every day, with a waiting list. There was no chance she could talk her way in during regular business hours and convince a professional to do her shoot for $100 in tips, which was all she had to spare. But if she arrived early, she could maybe get in there, line up the equipment, and do it herself or ask a certain someone for help.

Harriet the receptionist always showed up early to open the offices. Sophia knew this because whenever she had a morning audition, Harriet would say, “You think this is early? I’ve already been here for hours.” Sure enough, Harriet was wiping chairs in the waiting room with Windex. “Hi, Harriet,” said Sophia. “I brought you coffee.”

“Now I’m nervous,” she said.

“I need a favor.” She explained the situation. All she needed was for Harriet to open the studio, point the camera, push record, and let her do her thing for five minutes. “I have a flash drive. We can record directly into it. No one will ever find out.”

“I’ve always liked you, Sophia. Most of the actors treat me like a piece of the furniture. I’m not saying ‘no’ right off the bat. But. When actors ask me for a favor, I give them a litmus test. Hope you’re smarter than you look.”

“Okay,” said Sophia. Please let it be trivia about the provinces in Canada. Sophia had that down cold.

“What are the names of my kids?” “Er, you don’t have any kids.”

“Ding, ding, we have a winner. I knew I liked you for a reason. You actually listen. Most actors, they just talk, talk, talk. Makes me sick. Come on, let’s do this before anyone shows up.”

Sophia followed Harriet down the hall to the studio. “I can pay you.”

“Forget it. Just give me your autograph when you’re famous.” “I can give it to you right now.”

They entered the recording studio. “Go stand on the mark in the center of the room,” said Harriet. “Are we doing close up or full body?”

“Full body,” she said.

Harriet set up the camera, already in position on a tripod, and adjusted the boom mike on a swing stand overhead. “I’ll start recording remotely when I get in the control room.”

“Got it,” said Sophia, shaking herself out, running a hand through her hair. She wore light makeup, a dark green Urban Outfitters V-neck, her favorite J Brand jeans, and Converse sneakers, a stripped-down girl, confident enough to show her real face. A few producers in LA said that the heavy makeup in her head shot made her look older. When the photos were taken, she had been eighteen, and purposefully aged herself up. Now she wanted to look exactly like herself.

From the control room, Harriet turned on the overheads and a spotlight. She flicked a few buttons and the red light on the camera started flashing. “You look great,” said Harriet through the control room mike. “Ready?”

Sophia was ready. “Here we go.”

From Bliss by Shay Mitchell and Michaela Blaney. Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.