Blog Tour, Interview with the Author: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

Posted October 14, 2014 by valeranne in Blog Tour, Interviews & Guest Posts / 0 Comments

Blog Tour, Interview with the Author: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

Not in the Script


by Amy Finnegan
Series: If Only... #3
Published on October 7th, 2014
by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Also by this author: Not in the Script
The best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

Hello, hello, hello! If y’all remember, I was able to review Not in the Script (link here) and I absolutely LOVED it! If you haven’t read it, you should get on that and to further whet your appetite, we have an interview with the author! I had such a fun time coming up with questions and I hope that y’all enjoy reading Amy’s responses. Without further ado, Amy Finnegan:

One of my favorite aspects in Not in the Script was the fact that Emma was a strong female character and Jake respected/appreciated this about her. Was that an aspect you purposely wanted to include or did it just evolve that way?

I’m happy to hear that you felt Emma was a strong character. I did write her this way on purpose. When I first began writing novels, my female characters had pretty low self-esteem—they didn’t think they were smart enough, or pretty enough, or enough of anything—and I realized that I was putting a little too much of my teenage self into those girls (and I now wish I would’ve been more confident!)

As my skills as a writer improved, I recognized that I could do better than that, so I consciously decided to, sure, give my characters self-awareness and imperfections that they want to improve, but also an increasing level of self-confidence that readers could admire and aspire to. I think of it this way: If Emma were Rapunzel, trapped in a tower, she wouldn’t call out the window for a prince to save her. She would cut off her own hair, braid it into a sturdy rope, and climb down as far as she could before she had to jump. But if a handsome prince happened to be passing by and tended to her broken leg . . . she wouldn’t be at all disappointed.

Tangled

I think a girl can definitely still be strong while she’s swooning.

 

I just saw Adi Alsaid, author of Let’s Get Lost, and he said that he didn’t have much say in the cover. Did you have any input or have a vision for the cover of your book? (I love it, by the way).

I love the cover of Let’s Get Lost! So, well done, design team! I’ll admit that, like most authors, I had a little of anxiety over what my cover would look like. But I did get a sneak peek because it’s part of Bloomsbury’s If Only romance line (the books are unrelated in content and can be read in any order, but they all have the “you always want what you can’t have” theme). I was told in advance that my cover would be similar to the first two covers in the line: half photography and half digital artwork.

But since I’m the type of reader who wants to imagine characters for herself and doesn’t typically like seeing the face of a model on a cover, I was definitely still nervous. However, Bloomsbury’s art department rocks! They asked me how I picture the characters myself, and ultimately chose models who look very close to how I imagine them (especially Emma). For Jake, my one request was that his face wasn’t toward the camera, because I was convinced that it was impossible for them to find a guy who even came close to how Jake looks in my mind.

 

Another thing I loved (notice a theme, I loved everything) was getting to see both Emma and Jake’s perspective because it really added to the story. Was it hard writing dual POVs and how did you go about it? I’ve heard some authors switch off writing one perspective per day.

I actually loved this approach to the story so much that I doubt I’ll write from a single POV ever again. It’s a lot of fun to imagine how differently two love interests can interpret the same situation, which is something we know guys and girls so often do. Also, since Emma has been in the industry for quite a while when the story begins, whereas Jake is new to it, I got to portray the technical details of filmmaking from both perspectives.

I wrote the chapters in order, no matter whose point of view it was, but once I finished my final draft, I read all of Emma’s chapters and then all of Jake’s. I did this to check for voice consistency and to make sure that they didn’t use too many of the same voice nuances. Jake and Emma are quite different people though, and they differ in opinion as well as in the way they view the world, so it wasn’t much of a problem for me to distinguish their personalities (at least, not in my own head).

It might not be as noticeable in single point-of-view novels, but every author who writes more than one character into a story (which is 99.9%) has to develop more than one character’s voice. With Jake and Emma, I just had the pleasure of giving their voices equal playing time. I loved it!

 

I LOVED that your book talked about the struggles of Hollywood/being famous, I think that it’s incredibly important for tweens and teens to understand it’s not all roses. Was that important for you to convey while writing the book?

Yes, this was definitely important. I’m sure we’re all aware that young celebrities are notorious for getting themselves into trouble. But many of them are put under a lot of pressure from too young of an age (some even carry the success or failure of an entire show on their shoulders) so it’s actually understandable that quite a few of them snap. On top of all this, child stars are often placed in situations where they become friends with people who are much older and more experienced, which sometimes exposes them to circumstances that they aren’t quite mature enough to handle responsibly. And then, the moment they turn eighteen, they have millions of dollars to spend on whatever vise is thrown in their path. It’s a perfect formula for making mistakes, if you ask me, which is why I gave Brett this storyline in NOT IN THE SCRIPT.

However, I also felt it was important to convey that not all young celebrities follow this path. Even though they often have the success and riches that most of us can only dream about, many still pursue a college education. I made this point an important part of NOT IN THE SCRIPT not only because I feel that being well-educated is an attractive trait, but also because I’m somewhat concerned by the myth propelled by many TV reality shows that all but say, “Just act wild and stupid enough and you, too, can be rich and famous!”

I especially admire teens like Emma Watson who was worth millions and millions of dollars with more pouring in and no end in sight, when she chose to make college her top priority after the Harry Potter films wrapped up (but just to clarify, I didn’t base my Emma on the life of this Emma. It’s just a great name). She graduated from Brown University a few months ago, and she didn’t even choose what, for her, would’ve been the easiest of paths: she graduated with a degree in English literature, not acting.

Emma_Watson

And Emma Watson isn’t alone. Dakota Fanning is attending NYU, and James Franco is currently working on a Masters in Fine Arts at Columbia University. Brooke Shields and Jodi Foster, who were both wildly successful as child stars, went on to earn degrees from Princeton and Yale, respectively.

This is the kind of ambition that I wanted my main characters to have. Jake and Emma both want more than just a lifestyle. They want a life.

 

This book reads like a romantic comedy to me; what’s your favorite romcom?

Oh, man, I love so many of them! But most recently, I laughed so hard watching the film adaptation of Shannon Hale’s Austenland, that my stomach was literally sore the next morning. And so were my cheeks, from smiling. And off the top of my head, I never go too long without re-watching Notting Hill, The Prince and Me, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Never Been Kissed, The Devil Wears Prada, Crazy Stupid Love, and Just Go with It. As far as TV shows go, I’d have to say that Friends and Gilmore Girls fit comfortably into my favorite romcom category!

 

What advice would you give to your readers about life and love?

1) Fame and fortune is nothing compared to friends and family.

2) Don’t put up with jerks. You deserve better. You deserve a Jake Elliott in your life.

 

I really appreciated that your book was free of curse words and suggestive situations. Was that purposeful?

Good question! I have two teenage daughters, and they have lots and lots of friends who will be reading NOT IN THE SCRIPT. There will also be quite a few of my nieces, some as young as twelve, who will be reading it. So my simple rule is this: If I can’t read every word out loud to everyone I just named without my cheeks turning pink, then it’s not going into my book. That’s just my thing.

Besides, in this novel, calling someone a “washed-up child star” or “Hollywood has-been” cuts much deeper than any curse word you could ever throw at them.

About Amy Finnegan

Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT (Bloomsbury, Oct 2014), came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation, and Parenthood.

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