Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Hollywood Starlet Stops Traffic~A Conversation with Lola Douglas

Hello everyone! I've decided to postpone Tactical Tuesday today in favor of playing host to a wonderful gal from The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit~Lola Douglas, Author of True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet! Come back tomorrow for writing advice from a rodent! For now... it's confession time!

About the Book
Teen star Morgan Carter's mom is trying to kill her. At least, that's what Morgan thinks when she's sent to Ft. Wayne, Indiana after a near overdose outside LA's Viper Room.

Morgan's going to recover out of the spotlight. Way out. She's given a major make-under, a new name, and a completely different identity. Morgan's plan? To write a tell-all book about her experience and stage a comeback. But when this LA girl finds love and a new life in Middle America, will she abandon it for another shot at superstardom?

Contributing writer at Teenreads.com Carlie Webber states: "Morgan is charming (even when she's obnoxious), witty, fun, and most importantly, a multifaceted person who has to overcome a lot of garbage in her life. Meg Cabot fans, this is the book to pick up while you're waiting for the next Princess Diaries installment."

KLIATT thinks STARLET is worthy of a star! (Starred review, that is.) Reviewer Myrna Marler, an associate professor of English at BYU, calls it "an absorbing read." She goes on to say, "Who has not imagined themselves in the ranks of the wealthy and famous, the mundane life a mask for the glamorous persona fighting to get out?" Hear, hear, Prof. Marler! Hear, hear!

According to School Library Journal, TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET "is nearly as amusing and compelling as Meg Cabot's PRINCESS DIARIES and Louise Rennison's GEORGIA NICHOLSON series . ... This engaging read with a promised sequel will be popular nonetheless." Let's hope SLJ is right!

About Lola
When she was five, Lola Douglas wanted to be an actress like her then-hero, Drew Barrymore. Instead, she became a supermarket checkout girl, a video store clerk, an administrative assistant, a features reporter and a textbook development editor before deciding that writing teen novels was her real forte. Lola has lived in seven of our great United States, including Indiana, and says that during her five-and-a-half month stint in Fort Wayne no one ever forced her to see the movie Hoosiers. She was, however, coaxed into auditioning for a part as an extra in a Neil LaBute film (Your Friends and Neighbors, to be exact), but was rejected during the first round. When not watching too much reality television, reading Gawker, or obsessing over all things Marc Jacobs, Lola can be found working on the next installment in the saga of Morgan Carter. To this day, she remains fascinated with Drew Barrymore.

The Interview
MO'C: We're so glad you could be here today, Lola.
LD: Thank you for inviting me!

MO'C: Let's start at the very beginning... How did you get started writing novels?
LD: I was a features reporter for a little while, but the deadlines just about killed any creativity I had. So, when I left the biz, I started to work on my stories again. I guess I just kind of fell into writing novels. I liked having room to move around and let a story unfold.

MO'C: Did you have to do a lot of research into the Hollywood scene?
If so, what did you learn that was surprising?
LD: I did do research, but most of it was picky little things, like finding out where the hot clubs were around the time that Morgan was carousing around. I also spent time digging through online fashion collections, so all of the stuff that Morgan talks about and/or wears is actually part of that designer's collection during the time that the book takes place. As for the Hollywood "scene," I used my imagination, which had been fueled by Biography and The E! True Hollywood Story series. Plus years upon years of reading things like Entertainment Weekly and various movie magazines.

MO'C: Is Morgan at all like you? If so, how?
LD: In small ways. I gave her my obsession for all things Marc Jacobs. When I lived in Fort Wayne, I was particularly fond of Scooby Snacks. Otherwise, not so much.

MO'C: Which Hollywood star is the most annoying, in your opinion?
LD: Oh, so many, in so many different ways. Hilary Duff really gets my panties in a bunch. She's such a poseur. I wish Lindsay Lohan would go back to being a pretty redhead with curves instead of this emaciated blond stick figure. I also wish someone would tell Nicole Kidman that the surgeries aren't working and we all know exactly how pickled she really is. Have you seen her forehead lately? She's SCARY.

MO'C: A novel like yours practically demands page-turning suspense.
Can you talk for a little bit about plotting and pacing?
LD: Oh, dear. I'm actually horrible at both of those things. I definitely rely on my editor's expertise in terms of ratcheting up plot and pacing. So, I mostly deal with that on the second draft. I'm trying to work on my sense of structure, but I get so caught up in the characters that I forget about basic things like the story's arc.

MO'C: What's your writing day like? Any specific tips you'd like to share?
LD: Me and some green tea on ice, sitting at the laptop, doing word counts every five minutes or so. When I'm on deadline I either assign myself a word count for the day or a plot place - like I must write these three scenes before I can go watch TV or go shopping or whatever. Word limits are more helpful sometimes because they make me push through those spots where I'm stuck.

MO'C: What's next for Lola Douglas?
LD: MORE TRUE CONFESSIONS, due out in November 2006. I'm working on the revision right now. It's a completely different book, yet in essence, it's still similar. I know that sound contradictory, but what I mean is that while Morgan spends most of book 1 trying to hide who she is, she spends book 2 trying NOT to hide. I'm definitely happy with the direction it's taken and hope readers will love it too.

Thanks so much, Lola! Lola's website is right around the bend, and you can also check out her book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at your friendly neighborhood indie bookseller, findable via Booksense.