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Monday, May 7, 2012

Chick Chat: Jen Calonita

Could it be? A new Chick Chat?

Why yes, yes indeed. Today I am very happy to bring you the return of Chick Chat (a.k.a. author interviews) to Chick Lit Teens. It has been ages since my last Chick Chat post, and I for one am happy to welcome the feature back.

I am especially happy because not only do I get to welcome Chick Chat back to Chick Lit Teens, I also get to welcome Jen Calonita back. Jen has had multiple interviews on the site before, as I am a longtime fan of her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series. And now she is launching a whole new series, Belles, which you can find out about below.




Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever.
For more information on Jen and all things Belles-related, you can visit her website. Enjoy!

CLT: One of colleges' favorite questions to ask on an application is, "What five words would your friends use to describe you?" So, pretend Belles is applying to college, what five words would you use to describe your book?

JC: Ooh....tough one! How about: spirited, family, transition, love, and hope

CLT: Belles focuses on two cousins, Isabelle and Mirabelle. Which girl do you relate to the most?

JC: That's another tough one because I feel like there are parts of each girl that I can identify with. Mira is always concerned with what other people think when we meet her and that is something I struggled with a lot growing up myself. I was always worried about what my friends thought. I feared they wouldn't approve of something I was doing or would hate my new hobby, and that is really ridiculous. You have to be your own person, and I think Izzie really is. She does what she wants when she wants and she fights for what she believes in. I hope that is more my personality today. I love Mira's eye for detail and I love Izzie's spirit. They both feel like sisters to me so it's hard to choose!

CLT: Your Secrets of My Hollywood Life series revolved around L.A. and the entertainment industry. Though Belles is set in the South, not L.A., were you able to incorporate any of your Hollywood knowledge?

JC: Not too much, to be honest. There are tiny Hollywood references here and there, but for the most part, this is more a character-driven story and the setting has a lot to do with an affluent area that throws a lot of amazing parties. I guess the parties part fits into Hollywood! I loved coming up with themes for the Emerald Cove events. Wait till you see what kind of big party the girls are going to in Winter White, the second Belles book, that will be out this October. 

CLT: On your website you link to a Pinterest board filled with pictures of all things Belles-related, from fashion to homes. If you had to cast your characters, what actresses best fit the images in your head?

JC: I am having so much fun with that Pinterest board! It's great to be able to give images to go along with what I envisioned in my head. As for actual characters, I would love somebody like Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) to play Izzie. I think she has just the right amount of spunk (like her character in The Descendants). For Mira, I would pick someone like Reese Witherspoon--a total class act who always looks and dresses the part. But of course, we'd have to find a teen version of Reese and I'm not sure there is one out there right now! Any thoughts, guys?

CLT: April marks the release of the first book in your second series. How much has changed since the release of your first series?

JC: Wow, so much. When I wrote Secrets I wasn't sure if anyone other than me was going to be reading it! I had no idea that it would go on to be a six-book series and that so many girls would enjoy Kaitlin's world as much as I did. It's been eight years since I wrote that book and one thing that hasn't changed is how much I love writing novels. I love writing from my home office  and being near my two boys so I can watch them grow. I'm so thankful to be able to set a schedule that allows me to do that.

CLT: Thank you so much for stopping by again, Jen! It's great to have you back, and I look forward to reading Belles.

1 comment:

  1. Could you maybe do a piece on this? It is an initiative to start a site that encourages young writers to share their works. It is called NewInk and it is for young adult fiction:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1259700180/newink-because-your-awesome-fiction-must-be-shared

    ReplyDelete

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