Take a trip to Hollywood with Jen Calonita and her heroine, Kaitlin Burke, reading “Secrets of my Hollywood Life” and… this interview !
Hi Jen! Nice to meet you there! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everyone! My name is Jen Calonita and I’m the author of Secrets of My Hollywood Life, which is the story of hot celeb teen Kaitlin Burke. Tired of the fame game, she decides to disguise herself as a regular teen and hide out in high school. The story is a lot of fun, filled with juicy celeb secrets and a really quick read. I hope you all enjoy it!
Sagittarius are usually optimistic, honest and good-humored. Are you a typical Sagittarius?
Hmm….I’m guess you could say I’m a typical Sag, although the downside would be that I can’t sit still for more than ten seconds, I’m always working on a new project and I have a tendency to be a bit of a perfectionist.
If you could describe yourself with three words…
Dedicated, fun and a true go-getter ( I know, I couldn’t do three words!)
Tell us more about Secrets of my Hollywood Life…
We all read the celeb magazines and think about how cool it would be to live the Hollywood fairytale. But for some stars, living life under a microscope is too much. That’s how it is for my main character, Kaitlin Burke. She’s been on TV practically since birth and never has a moment to herself. That’s why she decides to ditch Hollywood for a normal life. The problem is, when you’re as famous as Kaitlin is, you can’t disappear without someone noticing…
How would you define your book?
I would say it’s a sweet, fun, romantic comedy. Definitely a good beach read.
It’s not the perfect way to choose a book, but quite often, I pick one because I fall in love with the cover. How did you choose yours?
I was fortunate to work with an amazing designer by the name of Tracy Shaw. She really got Kaitlin’s fabulous world and came up with a book jacket that truly described Kaitlin. I can so see Kaitlin running around with a Louis Vuitton-style journal! Wait till you guys see the cover for the sequel. It’s equally, if not more, adorable.
Would you like Secrets to be turned into a movie?
I think it would be fun to see Kaitlin’s story come to life in that way and I certainly have fun thinking about all the people who could be Kaitlin, but there are no plans for a movie right now.
Before being a writer, you were a journalist. It certainly helped you… how did you start writing?
I worked at Teen People magazine for five years and my job as an entertainment editor was to interview and write about celebrities. I always say write what you know. The words will flow much quicker if you’re writing about a topic that is familiar to you. For me, that world was celebrity life and that’s how Kaitlin’s story was born.
Can you tell us a funny anecdote about it?
I remember my first red carpet experience was for the MTV Video Music Awards. I got the assignment late and was running to get there before it started. When I arrived, there were reporters ten-deep lined up. There was no way I was going to get my tape recorder anywhere near a star. Then the sky opened up and it started to pour. Everyone went running to avoid getting wet except for me. I stood write up against the velvet rope and stayed there for the length of the storm. When it ended, I had a perfect place to stand and I wound up interviewing a bunch of stars that night, like J.Lo and Donald Trump. I looked like a drowned rat so they probably stopped to answer my questions because they felt sorry for me!
Can you tell us a bit more about the sequel to Secrets?
Kaitlin’s spending her summer break working on a big blockbuster movie. Unfortunately, the director is insane, her costar is her clingy ex-boyfriend and Sky somehow wiggles her way onto the set to cause more problems for her. All this, and she’s trying to balance a new romantic relationship. It’s almost more than a star can take!
How do you work? What do you do when comes the “writer’s block”?
I always write with an outline. I have an easier time going from point A to point B if I know where I’m headed. But even so, some days I’ll stare at the screen and not know what to write. When that happens, I shut off the computer and do something else. Sometimes you have to walk away to get your creative juice flowing again.
What’s the most difficult when writing a novel?
For me, time is my biggest obstacle. I have a 20-month old son at home and I usually write around his nap schedule or when I have babysitters. It’s tough to have to stop writing when I’m in a groove and the sitter has to leave.
Do you already have another project, an after-Kaitlin?
Yes, after Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location and yes, Secrets 3, I’ll be starting a new series called Sleepaway Girls. It’s about a shy girl named Samantha whose mom ships her off to sleepaway camp to make friends.
Could you describe a book “Tour” (signings, meetings…)?
I have library appearances set up for fall, but the store ones aren’t done yet.
For you, is Hollywood the dream or not?
I definitely wouldn’t survive in Hollywood, but it sure would be a nice place to visit for a while.
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
OOOOH…I would love for that to happen! Okay, I’d do one of three things:
1. Buy scrapbook supplies, since I’m obsessed with scrapbooking and it gets pretty pricey.
OR: 2. Head to my favorite home store and get fun trinkets for my house (I love decorating).
OR: 3. Buy cute shoes. A girl can never have enough, you know.
“Tea or Coffee?”
Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book? Going out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains? Pool. I’m a float on a raft and read a book in the pool kind of girl.
Country or City? Somewhere in-between
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else)? Depends on my mood. I like both.
Shy or Easy-going? Easy-going
Serious or Funny? Funny
Leader or Follower? I’m part of the crowd, but will lead when needed.
TV show: All my favorites are being cancelled! 😦 I guess Gilmore Girls.
Movie : Pirates of the Caribbean (the original)
Book : Currently Frogs and French Kisses by Sarah Mlynowski
Music : A little John Mayer and Norah Jones never hurt anybody
City to visit : I adore Boston, where I went to college (Boston College)
Favourite place to write: My home office
Motto: “Home is where your story begins.”
Thank you, Jen!
You can pay a visit to Jen at http://www.jencalonitaonline.com