Best known for her roles on NBC as Sami Brady on the daytime drama "Days of our Lives" and host of "The Biggest Loser," Alison Sweeney recently added fiction author to her resume. Her first novel, "The Star Attraction" (Hyperion; $14.99), was published this month.
The Emmy Award-winning actress is also a mom to 8-year-old son Ben and 4-year-old daughter Megan. She was recently in Manhattan at a Mamarazzi event, hosted by The Moms -- the media duo of Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein, to promote her new book. I caught up with her about writing her first novel, raising her kids and how she balances it all. Here's what she has to say:
Q. What inspired you to write your first novel?
"My best friend is a publicist, that was certainly the inspiration for writing about that perspective on the industry. I have lots of personal stories that contributed to the 'red carpet' stories etc., but ultimately, I think that, mostly, being on daytime television for more than 20 years gave me the basis to want to write my own story."
Q. You juggle roles quite a bit -- on TV shows, as author, mother and wife -- how do you balance it all?
"Many moms are juggling these days and I certainly can relate. I've found that the best way to transition is to just look at what I have to do in each moment and make sure I give every role 100 percent before I move on to the next thing on my schedule."
Q. Many working women feel "mommy guilt." How do handle it?
"When I'm with my kids, I put work aside and give them my full attention -- as best as I can. I made a commitment to my career and to my family, and I do my best to honor both every day. Rather than feeling guilty for any choices, I just work the next week to do a better job and learn from my mistakes."
Q. What have you learned since becoming a mom? What have your kids taught you?
"My kids teach me to laugh and appreciate my life every day. We have a great time as a family -- being active and spending time together. Every day they make me appreciate all I have and how lucky I am."
Q. What family activities do you like to do together when you're not working?
"We love being active. My family and I go for hikes, long walks, skiing and swimming -- we do it all. We love being outdoors and together."
Q. What advice do you have for new moms?
"The best advice that I got was to pretend like you already have your first child so you're less fearful of making mistakes. Also, know it's not selfish to take care of yourself while still taking good care of your baby. Good luck and congrats!"
Q. What's up next for you?
"I'm working on my second novel, going back into production on "The Biggest Loser," I'm in my 20th year on "Days of our Lives," I'm directing more episodes of "Days" and have a Hallmark movie premiering in July."