Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Starlet's Series Blog Tour

Romancing the Steamy Scene
I love a little romance in the stories I read and in the movies I see. As explicit scenes have become formulaic, they have also lost some of the romantic sweetness I appreciate. When transferred to the big screen, the steamy scene feels uncomfortably absurd.
When I lived in Santa Monica, California my kids played with the kids of celebrities. We all wanted our kids to grow up happy and feel loved. The business of Hollywood knows that it is creating fiction, fantasy, and illusion. There, the violence and sex in entertainment was part of “show business” and shrugged off as an influence on teens. The insiders put the responsibility of the content of the story on the people who watch it: “If a story sells with steamy scenes, that’s what people want to see.”
As I read the Twilight series, I was inspired to write the Starlet Series, taking on the realities of first experiences and challenging Hollywood’s idea of love and beauty. The teen characters in Starlet’s Man and Starlet’s Web are part of the Hollywood culture that creates stories. But they are just as confused about their identities as teens in the suburbs, especially when celebrity parents take them to church or enroll them in religious schools.
What if friends talked about their feelings and then fumbled through their failed first romantic scene? What if the pressure that our entertainment puts on our teens to have their own unrealistic steamy scene makes them not know what to do when it is real for them?

Q. When did the ideas for the series come from?
A. When I lived in Santa Monica, I wondered what life would be like for my kids if they attended Santa Monica High School as teens. The series is an exploration of how teens would deal with the inherent contradictions from family values and Hollywood messages.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing a book series?
A. I had trouble making the scenes real enough for teen readers. Hollywood people talk in scripts and cuss constantly. Being sexy and young is in the forefront of an actor’s or performer’s mind no matter what age. I wanted to bring that reality to the page within the genre constraints. The dialogue can sound odd because it does in real life. Any teen who wants to be a star should understand the mentality that defines Hollywood culture.

Q. Is there a message in your books you hope readers learn?
 A. Readers should take more responsibility for the messages in stories. We should demand diverse characters in skin color, body size, and religion.

Q. Are you working on any new writing projects? Can you tell us a bit?
A. I’m finishing up the final book of the series, Starlet’s End. It has been a long process. I originally set it in the state of Montana but the setting failed. I’ve re-worked the setting to the San Francisco Bay area where I lived before moving to Santa Monica, Ca.

Q. Is there anything you would have changed about the series?
A. I wish I released Starlet’s Man first instead of releasing Liana Marie’s memoirs. Prior to publishing, I worked with an esteemed editor who told me that my half-Latino Catholic Manny would alienate readers. She urged me to make him white protestant. Part of his character is being a stubborn Latino, something I captured perfectly in the series and something that is both a character strength and flaw. I was afraid to show him for whom I thought he’d truly represent in Santa Monica: the underpaid crew who support the entertainment industry, go to church, but hate the industry influence.


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