Friday, August 19, 2005

Q&A with YA author Mary Kennedy

Please welcome Mary Kennedy, accomplished young adult author. Her most recent book, Confessions of an Almost Movie Star is in the stores now.

1) Can you tell us a little about your current book Confessions of an Almost Movie Star?

Confessions is the story about two best friends who get caught up in excitement, romance and danger when a Hollywood movie company comes to their small New England town to film a mystery! Jessie Phillips is the main character, and when she goes to an audition with her best friend, Tracy, she suddenly finds herself up on stage with Shane Rockett, the sexiest Teen Star in America! Sparks fly and Jessie lands a leading role, without even intending to. The whole book takes place on the movie set, and since it's a mystery, I don't want to give away too much of the plot. Let's just say that starring in a movie with someone like Shane would turn anyone's world upside down! Where did I get the idea for Confessions...I went to a private school for girls that was very similar to Fairmont Academy in Confessions. It was a lovely old estate perched on a hill, with acres of rolling countryside. It was awesome and I always thought it would be the perfect setting for a movie!

2) Why do you set so many books in Hollywood, or have characters who are actors?

Because my background is in acting/theatre, I have a Master's degree in Dramatic Arts and have also studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, which was awesome). I've appeared in about 50 TV commercials and visited lots of movie sets. They are just the most magical places in the world, filled with fascinating people. That's why I wanted Confessions to take place on a movie set!

3) What's the coolest job you ever had (besides writing )?

I was a copywriter for a rock radio station in Nashville. They had just changed over from country music to rock, and I had 90 accounts to write for, from the first day. I didn't know that, of course. I took 3 hours writing and producing a commercial for a local White Castle restaurant, who was one of the station's clients. I picked out the perfect background music, got the DJ's to add sound effects and funny voices. It was like a one-act play! It turned out great, I was so proud of it. I finished at 4:30 in the afternoon. And then my boss walked by and said, "Mary, do you know you have forty-four MORE commercials to do before you leave tonight?

4) You’ve had over twenty books published, which is an amazing feat. What is the coolest moment you’ve had in your writing career?

Confessions is my 33rd book, and the coolest
thing happened when I was in Manhattan. I was taking a Circle Line boat around Manhattan and realized the girl sitting next to me was reading Almost Like a Sister, a book I wrote for Scholastic. I asked her how she hoped it would end, and as she started talking to me, she flipped to the back and saw my author picture. "You wrote it!" she screamed. "I love this book!" I autographed it for her on the spot. It was great to see how much someone enjoyed my writing.

5) You have a background as a forensic psychiatrist, working with serial killers. Can you share a story with us about one your creepier experiences?

One night I was working late, and had a very difficult client in my office. He started to threaten me, and I did my best to calm him down (and remain calm myself!). I pressed a "panic button" under the desk, and it broke off in my hand! No help there! So I called downstairs to the front desk and ordered a pizza. Yes, I know that seems crazy, but we had a secret code arranged with the switchboard. If any of the staff called and ordered a pizza, that meant we were in serious trouble and needed security, right away!But there was a new employee on duty that night, and when I said I wanted a pizza, she said, "do you want Dominoes' or Grotto? I can connect you with either one." I was floored and couldn't even blurt out an answer, so she said, "Well, I'll just connect you with Grotto's. They have faster delivery." The guy in my office was listening to every word I said! Sure enough, a few seconds, a voice said, "Grotto Pizza, can I help you?"I finally got out of the situation by calling downstairs again, and asking for one of the security guards by name, saying that "he would know what kind of pizza I liked." He got the message, and was there in two minutes flat, with two other security guards, guns drawn. The situation ended with no one getting hurt, but it could have worked differently!

6) Can you give us a sneak peak at your next release?

Tales of a Hollywood Gossip Queen will be released next summer. Jessie goes out to Hollywood for the week-end to re-do some of her dialogue, and runs into Shane Rockett again. Nothing can keep them apart. And then Jessie lands an incredibly cool summer job in Hollywood--interning as a teen columnist on a brand new entertainment magazine! She suddenly finds herself going to A-list parties and being part of the whole Hollywood scene, and of course, things heat up with Shane...

Thanks, Mary!

Mary's Q&A will be archived on my website at the end of the month. Stay tuned next week for Wednesday's agent Q&A with Michelle Grajkowski and Friday's author Q&A with USA Today best selling vampire author Kerrelyn Sparks.


At 10:31 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Great interview. Creepy about the dangerous interview.


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