Pamela Anderson has retired. Well, sorta. "No movies. No TV. I'm not doing those anymore," she says. "That's too much work. I'd rather be an author." Yes, that's right. The 37-year-old Playboy cover girl best known for her

Baywatch body of work (and tumultuous marriage to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee) has put her stilettoed heel on literary ground. Her first novel, Star, follows a curvy young blond who goes from beer babe to laddie-mag cover girl to rock-star girlfriend and TV star. Sound familiar?

TV Guide Online: Your novel, Star, is in bookstores now. Congratulations.
Pamela Anderson:
Thank you. I can't believe it. I got a copy the other day, and I had to drive off the road and sit there in front of the ocean and go, "OK, this is really weird. I have a book."

TVGO: Did you have help writing it?
Anderson:
In theory, you're not supposed to tell people you have a ghostwriter. But give me a break. Eric Shaw Quinn is my ghostwriter.

TVGO: What was the process like?
Anderson:
First, we took a whole week to sit down and hammer out an outline. Then, I would sit with my yellow legal pads and write and write and write — just stream-of-consciousness things. Then, Eric would come over to my house every Friday and we'd sit on my couch, [review my notes] and laugh, like hyperventilating, screaming laughing. Once we got started, it took four months to write this book. And I've already finished the outline for the second book. We're going to write it while we're on our book tour.

TVGO: The novel's title character sounds a lot like you. You even pose as Star on the cover. Is there anything she does that you wouldn't?
Anderson:
No. [Laughs] It's inspired by my life. And if people read between the lines, it's actually even more revealing than any autobiography could ever be. It's just like when you go to someone's house and look in their refrigerator. You can find out a lot more about that person that way than you'd ever find out by having a conversation with them.

TVGO: You've been sponsoring Team USA gymnast Mohini Bhardwaj. What made you decide to back her?
Anderson:
She is so focused, articulate and determined. I wrote her a check right there [at the gym]. I gave her $20,000 first and later I gave her $25,000 to start a foundation for other Olympic hopefuls in her situation. How do you train 42 hours a week and hold down a job if you come from a poor family? So it was one of those random acts of kindness. You know, like when some homeless guy's knocking at your door and you think you shouldn't answer it. Then they walk away and you think, "Oh, my God. What if that was Jesus?" So you run after him and give him 100 bucks.

TVGO: You took gymnastics lessons as a kid. What can you still do?
Anderson:
Back flips. The only thing is, since I had [my son] Dylan, there's something in my back that's just not as flexible. I'm getting old or something.

TVGO:Speaking of children, is it true that you named your sons Brandon, 8, and Dylan, 6, after characters on Beverly Hills, 90210?
Anderson:
Absolutely not. And when Tommy heard that, he wanted to change their names. I was doing a charity event recently, and [90210 star] Jason Priestley came up to me laughing. He said, "I heard your sons' names... Isn't that a coincidence?" I said, "You know what, I've never watched your show!"

TVGO: Never ever?
Anderson:
No. Just so we clear that up: I named Brandon after Marlon Brando and Dylan like Bob Dylan. It had nothing to do with 90210!

TVGO: Consider it cleared. Do you plan on having any more children?
Anderson:
Physically, I don't think I'd have another child. But if I met someone with children or if I adopted... I don't know. I mean, I love children. And once you have two, you might as well have 20. In my case, that's about how many kids I feel like I have. I'm the community center on my little street. Everyone comes over for spaghetti and I have 10 kids in my backyard at all times.