For the new tell-all, “Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives From the People Who Lived It,” author Dave Quinn logged more than 500 hours of interviews with over 150 subjects.
It was a daunting task, but Quinn says he had some help from the start.
“When I first started the process, I sent out a tweet on my Twitter account saying, ‘What is the one burning Bravo question you want to know the answer to?’ There were hundreds of responses. I used that thread as my go-to. I would kept coming back to it and saying, ‘OK, this is what people are really curious [about], this is what people really want to know.’”
What fans of the Bravo reality TV franchise wanted to know was what really went down behind-the-scenes of such iconic housewives moments including “Scary Island,” “Puppygate” and, of course, “White House Party Crashers.”
And so Quinn proceeded, speaking with housewives past and present from 10 different franchises to weave together an oral history from each city.
Each women was free to speak candidly (“Not All Diamonds” is published by Andy Cohen Books, and Cohen is the executive producer of the “Real Housewives” series). There were moments of surprising candor, but Quinn found some women were still wary about saying their truth after working in the confines of reality TV (with NDAs and guarded storylines).
“I’m not supposed to be talking about this,” Quinn recalls some housewives telling him about a particularly salacious story from the New Jersey franchise. “But we got it done,” Quinn proudly says.
Getting it done ultimately required a lot of organization.
“I built outlines for every one of the chapters on major topics,” Quinn said of the paring-down process. “If you think about the ‘Real Housewives of Orange County,’ you want to talk about Brooks’s cancer scam, right? You want to talk about the wine toss that Tamra had with Gina. You think about what the main pillars are and then stories that reveal themselves along the way that may be interesting.”
“I didn’t take notes while I interviewed. I should have!” Quinn admits. “What I know now that I wish I knew then … I really looked back once the interviews were done and cut down each transcription from there and then just tried to piece it together. I would start with one woman’s interview and put it into the book and then add in another and add in another and just layer them one by one by one.”
When asked about which housewife’s interview surprised him the most, Quinn replied Carole Radziwill. The former ABC producer turned author appeared on “The Real Housewives of New York” for six seasons.
“We talked for a long time, I think our total time was 12 hours,” Quinn recalls. “Because she’s a journalist as well, she has such an incredible back-out view towards all of this and she was able to really give me incredible perspective on this that I never had before.”
As for the title “Not All Diamonds and Rosé” (which is derived from Lisa Vanderpump’s Season 3 tagline), Quinn reveals others were considered.
“We had a bunch of suggestions!” he said. “I gave ‘Mentioned It All’ as a tagline. I wanted to call it ‘Who Said That? The Oral History of the Housewives.’ I thought that made a lot of sense. We talked about ‘But Now I Said It.’ Some of these have become the podcast titles for ‘Housewives’ fans out there. But I think that ‘Not All Diamonds and Rosé’ is such a great tagline because it’s so memorable in the ‘Housewives’ pantheon to begin with. And it really shows that fans look at this as like, ‘Oh, y’all are so fancy.’ And it’s like not all of it is as glamorous being a television star as you think it is. It’s really difficult. And I’m very hopeful that viewers walk away seeing these women as people because that’s what they are at the end of the day. They are real people.”
To find out which housewife Dave considers the “definitive housewife,” check out the full interview above.
“Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives From the People Who Lived It” is out now.