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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

10 in '10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge: Jen Calonita

Welcome back 10 in '10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge participants!

Tomorrow night we'll be hosting the first 10 in '10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge author chat with Jen Calonita, author of the Secrets of my Hollywood Life series. You can check back tomorrow for the official announcement with the specifics on the chat, but for today I have a special Q&A with Jen.

Before we get to the Q&A, here's a bit about Jen's latest book in the Secrets series, Broadway Lights, which will be hitting shelves March 3rd:

Her star power in demand on a hit Broadway play, Hollywood teen starlet Kaitlin Burke packs up her entourage (okay, her showbiz family, friends, assistant, and publicist, but not the dreamy boyfriend) and moves to the Big Apple for the summer. Kaitlin is the toast of the town and she hits the most exclusive New York nightspots, enjoys the best food (Hello, Magnolia Bakery), and even guests as a celebrity host on Saturday Night Live!

But New York isn't all cupcakes and virgin daiquiris. Long distance and a handsome new costar put a huge strain on her relationship with Austin, and it turns out Broadway divas are a whole different breed of neuroses and competition from Hollywood starlets.

What is your favorite thing about teen chick lit, or chick lit in general?

I love books that make me laugh, smile, and think about life in general and chick lit and teen chick lit do that. There are so many heavy, serious things going on in this world, and for me, personally, I like to open a book and escape somewhere fun. Teen and regular chick lit do that for me.

In addition to writing teen chick lit, do you also read it? If so, what are some of your favorite titles?

I absolutely read teen chick lit! And I love adult chick lit too! For adult titles, I am obsessed with anything by Sophie Kinsella. Can You Keep a Secret? is probably my favorite, but I dug Twenties Girl as much as I do her Shopaholic books. I am a big fan of Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Sara Shepard, and I just finished my first Ally Carter book, Heist Society, and I cannot stop raving about it!

Before writing Secrets of my Hollywood Life you worked as an editor at Teen People, how did that experience help you while writing Secrets? Did you draw inspiration from any of your experiences while writing?

I definitely drew from my experience as an entertainment editor when it came to developing Kaitlin and the Secrets story. I always tell people who are interested in writing to start by writing what they know, and what I know, or knew a lot about at the time, was the teen celebrity world. I spent my days watching teen movies, interviewing teen stars, attending events with those stars, and I was fascinated by the whole world. With the reality show explosion, I think the term "teen star" is a bit different these days, but Kaitlin and her friends are based very loosely on people I met, worked with, and/or interviewed when I was an editor.

Can you tell us a bit about the next book in the series, Broadway Lights?

Broadway Lights is Kaitlin's second to last adventure and for the first time she'll find herself outside the comfort zone of L.A. She's come to New York to build back her confidence after a rough few months of media exposure and she's tackling her toughest role to date--Broadway star. Her personal life is just as complicated this summer--Austin is spending time in Texas at a lacrosse camp and for the first time in their relationship they're going to do the long distance thing. I can tell you that it doesn't go as well as Kaitlin had hoped. Let's just say that Austin is not very good on the phone, and Kaitlin is a little too chummy with her cute British play mate. You'll have to read the whole thing to find out more!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the details on the chat. It's going to be super fun!

Happy reading!



  1. I put out Broadway Lights on the shelf tonight! Hope I can make the chat!

  2. Welcome to 10 in '10, Jen! (Ooo... 10 points for rhyming!) I just started Broadway Lights last night and LOVE it. Kaitlin is one of my favorite teen chick lit heroines of all time. Funny, smart, positive... definitely a girl to root for. :-)

    See you both in chat tomorrow night!


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