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Friday, March 18, 2011

Chick Chat: Jen Calonita

I'm both excited and sad to be hosting an interview with Jen Calonita today. I'm excited because this will be my third interview with Jen and because she is the author of what has long been one of my favorite series, Secrets of my Hollywood Life. Therein lies the reason for my sadness. The Secrets series, one of the first YA series I ever read, recently came to a close with the sixth and final novel, There's No Place Like Home. It's definitely a bittersweet ending.
Here is a little information on There's No Place Like Home (from Jen's website):

Like your favorite TV show, we all take a summer hiatus (that's TV lingo for a well-needed short break from filming) but don't worry, I'll be back. I've got a lot of hard work ahead of me, and I know I'm up for the challenge...or am I? Is Hollywood where I really belong? Am I finally ready to embrace my inner Meryl Streep and declare acting my lifelong passion or will I watch Liz and Austin fill out their college applications and question my calling again?

One thing is for sure, I've got to make a decision about my celebrity life and stick with it once and for all. This time it looks like fate is going to step in and help me me make that choice by asking me to picture my life if it weren't in Hollywood. Will I like that world better than my own? Or will I give my my best Louis Vuitton bag to get back my old life? There's only one way to find out.
Describe There’s No Place Like Home in five words or less.


Ending. Beginning. Happy. Tearful. Closure.

In There’s No Place Like Home, Kaitlin returns to the world of television after taking a break for her Broadway debut. Of the two, which did you enjoy writing about the most: Broadway or television?

TV is my first love and it's the area I know a lot about. I've seen a lot of Broadway shows, but I've only covered a few! I really enjoyed taking Kaitlin back to where we met her--on TV, doing something she thinks she loves, and watching her work through all the emotions she always has when it comes to balancing work with having a normal life.

In your opinion, how has Kaitlin grown over the course of the series?

I think it's taken a long time for Kaitlin to stand up for herself and her beliefs, but I definitely think she's gotten stronger over the course of the series. When we started, she was barely sixteen, and it was hard for her to fight her mom and her publicist on a lot of things, but as she's gotten more savvy, she's definitely put her foot down . Without giving too much away, I will say fans of the series will be really excited to see what Kaitlin finally has the guts to do in the final book.

What will you miss most about writing the Secrets series?

The characters. I've written about most of them for six books so they've become very dear to me. Sometimes I will be watching a TV show or reading a magazine and I will see a new product or a great dress and I'll actually think: "Kaitlin would love that!" She's not real, but I think she has become so for me after spending so much time with her. I'll really miss writing her dialogue, but I'll miss writing Sky and Laney's more. They always had the best lines!

With Secrets of My Hollywood Life coming to a close, what are you working on next?

My next series, Belles, will be out next spring and I'm excited to dive into a world just as privileged as Hollywood, but one that is far from the eyes of the paparazzi! Belles follows two cousins (Mirabelle and Isabelle) who wind up living under the same roof even though they come from very different economic backgrounds. Mira has a senator for a dad and Izzie has been raised by her grandmother with next to nothing, but she's been happy, which is more than I can say for some of the people Izzie meets once she moves to her new, wealthy home.

Do you plan to continue incorporating your knowledge of entertainment and Hollywood into your next project(s)?

Hollywood doesn't really come into play in Belles--if you don't count the backstabbing, rivalries and boy issues--but I would love to tackle Hollywood again in a different way. It's where I started, and I love it a lot, so I would never say never.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Jen!

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