Monday, June 14, 2010

Quick Q and A's with Jen Calonita

Jen Calonita is the author of Secrets of My Hollywood Life series, as well as two standalones, the later, Reality Check, is now out! And today, I have an interview with Jen to post here!


In your opinion, what are the top three reasons why teens (or even adults!) should pick up Reality Check come June fourteenth?

It's fun! Seriously, summer is in the air and Reality Check is nice, breezy beach reading with mean girl drama and TV dish. It's the kind of thing I love to read myself.

Describe your main character Charlie in one sentence. If you could offer her any type of advice, what would you say?

Charlie is the friend you want in your corner. If I could shake her by the shoulders during this book, I would tell her to listen to her gut, trust her instincts and remember that friendships change. Some grow stronger and some fade, but you learn something from all of them.

Reality Check deals with one girl, along with her three best friends, getting the chance of a lifetime, a reality TV Show, which leaves to me to wonder if you would say yes or no if someone offered you your own reality TV show. Why or why not?

I would say no right away! Seriously I don't think I'm meant to live a life in front of a camera. I think it would change me too much, make me worry about what I say and how I say it and just make me question my every move. Some people are great at it--like the Kardashians. The rest of us are not cut out for the changes fame brings.

Reality Check (Now Out!)
Did you write Reality Check in chronological order, or did you write certain scenes or events, then go back and fill in the blanks?

I actually did write the story in order. I had a very clear picture of how I wanted the story to begin and I actually knew the last line of the book before I wrote a single word. That doesn't always happen--trust me! But for this book the idea came to me and the story was one that unfolded in front of me.

Out of all the girls (Charlie, Hallie, Keiran, and Charlie) which one were you most like as a teenager?

Hmm....I'll tell you who I wasn't first: Hallie and Brooke! I didn't have the guts to be mean to anyone, and I never had Hallie's ease with boys. I was probably more of a mix of Keiran and Charlie. I was definitely the planner in my group. I was always coming up with some new Friday night outing or planning a girls' night. I actually still do that with my friends now!

I absolutely love the concept for the cover of Reality Check, which leaves me to wonder what you thought when you first heard about it.

Thank you! I love, love, love this cover too! The design folks at Poppy are incredible and I loved the idea of the girls envisioned as dolls. The idea works perfectly with a story about reality TV and how your TV persona can sometimes make you feel like a puppet or a doll on a string.

How did the title Reality Check come to be?

I pitched that title when I pitched the book. It just made sense to me: the idea that being on a reality show could be a real reality check for these four girls who didn't know what they were in for.

Is there a specific message you hopes teens take from your books?

I think a big theme in my books is learning who you are and where you fit in your world. I hope teens see that and it helps them come up with a clearer picture for themselves. I wish I knew who I was when I was sixteen!

When you set out to write a story do you the know the ending from the get-go or does it evolve over time?

I always know the ending, sometimes know the beginning and fret over the middle the entire time I'm writing!

Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Now Out!)
I read in your biography on your website that you used to be a Senior Entertainment Editor for Teen People which leaves me to wonder what that experience was like. Also is it one of the reasons that you tend to write stories (Secrets of My Hollywood Life series, Reality Check, exc.) dealing with the different sides of fame?
My time as an entertainment editor definitely played a part in shaping Secrets and Reality Check. Every author is different, but for me, I say it's important to write what you know, and what I knew when when I started Secrets was about young Hollywood. Now I'm branching out from Hollywood with a new series that I've just started, but Hollywood will always be my first love. I just adore Kaitlin's world.

What is your typical day like?

It depends on the day! I have two boys under six so most days I have a sitter come in so I can write for several hours at a time. The rest of my day is spent with the boys so there are many discussions involving Star Wars and Mickey Mouse in our house!

What are three things random facts about you?

I love Disney World. If I could kick Cinderella out of her castle, I would seriously move my family in. I love scrapbooking and sometimes go on actual scrapbooking weekends where I scrap for twelve hours at a time with friends. I'm a TV junkie. I could find something to watch any night of the week and I usually do, but my heart belongs to Glee, Grey's Anatomy, 90210 and Gossip Girl, which I TiVo.

I love Disney World, too, and yay for a Glee mention! I love that show! What’s up next for you book-wise?

I just finished the final Secrets, There is No Place Like Home, which will be out next March. I think fans of the series will be very satisfied with the conclusion. I know I am. I get weepy just thinking about Kaitlin's story ending, but I love the way it ends. I also just started an as-yet-untitled new four-book series that will come out next year. It's about two polar opposite cousins who live under the same roof and have to find a way to get along. For me, it's a story about family and where you fit into one. I love the two main girls and am having a great time mapping out their story.

Your new series sounds great! I can't wait to read it. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Lauren, you've asked such great questions that I can't think of anything I could possibly add! I will say that if you're a fan of any of my books, you can always find out what's next and what I'm up to at my website (


Thanks so much Jen! I'm really looking forward to reading your previous and future novels! :)


  1. Thanks for posting this interview. I love Jen's Secrets series and enjoyed Sleepaway Girls as well. I've been looking forward to Reality Check for months.

  2. I have an award for you over at


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