CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Katie Lee might not be an uptown girl anymore -- at least she's not Billy Joel's uptown girl -- but her life in the spotlight, which isn't exactly over, has led her to some unexpected places.
That includes surfing and a new novel, "Groundswell," which sounds awfully familiar.
The 28-year-old Milton native laughed it off.
"Like any writer," she said, "I draw from my own life, but this is fiction."
"Groundswell" is about Emma, the rags-to-riches wife of a celebrity who divorces her famous husband after she discovers him cheating.
From the book jacket, it reads, "Devastated by her husband's infidelity and hounded mercilessly by the paparazzi, Emma must flee New York to get away from it all and clear her head."
Away from all the glamour, she regroups, discovers surfing and love again.
Lee, of course, was married to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and pop music icon Billy Joel. When the two met, she was a food writer living in the Hamptons of Long Island. During their five years together, her career in television blossomed. She hosted the first season of "Top Chef" on Bravo, appeared as a guest on several programs and wrote two cookbooks.
Joel and Lee separated in 2009 in a swirl of tabloid accusations.
Both have moved on with their lives, though Lee says they still talk and are great friends. For a time, Joel was working on his autobiography. He eventually canceled the project, but Lee wrote a novel, which draws heavily on her experiences and observations on the red carpet.
Lee has been to her share of celebrity-studded parties and exclusive events. She still goes to them and she says even now she still gets star-struck.
"Everybody does," Lee said. "Everyone is looking around and whispering, 'Did you see who that was?' I don't think it ever wears off."
The novel is something new, even if writing isn't. Lee cut her teeth in publishing with her cookbooks, but she's been writing since she was just a kid growing up in Milton.
"During the summer, my mother would sign me up for creative writing classes," she said. "She was really good at looking out for them, then getting me in them. I loved writing and reading."
She laughed, and added, "I guess I was kind of a dork. I'm still kind of a dork."
Writing about food in some ways wasn't that different than how she wrote her novel. She drew from what was around her -- her family -- and Lee's family loved food.