5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Carla J. Hanna

Indie Author Interview with Carla J. Hanna - Author of the Young Adult Romance Series Starlet Series.

Carla J. Hanna is the author of young adult romance and coming of age fiction novels and shares an insider's perspective on Hollywood and celebrity influence in her multicultural novels.

Interview with Carla J. Hanna

Author Carla J. Hanna
Author Carla J. Hanna
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Carla J. Hanna: Before writing the social commentary novels in the Starlet Series, I had a wonderfully successful career in marketing communications, launching high-tech start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have a Masters in Communications and have written dozens of technical manuals for semiconductor and telecommunications companies.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I appreciate the contributions of so many authors that a favorite is difficult to pin down. If I enjoyed a novel, I always read the next. I can say that for so many authors, just to name a few: Nicholas Sparks, Michael Lewis, Tony Hillerman, Meg Cabot, Gayle Forman, S. Meyer. I have just started reading independent authors as well and am excited to find fresh voices and story arcs. Currently, my favorite is “Wool”.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I did not want to be an author. I wanted to communicate. I see a need for a change in Hollywood and traditionally published stories: more persons of color need as protagonists, the ideal of beauty and focus on sex questioned, and a reader/viewer needs to be more responsible for the content that we let the producers/editors push on us. As a writer, I created a fictional actress’s memoir that deconstructs the influence of the “mainstream story” and the industry that entertains for maximum profit.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. But I do remember quoting from films and books when I was in my teens. I remember how much those stories influenced how I thought a teen was supposed to act. I remember how all of my friends watched Summer Lovers and then 9 ½ Weeks and worried that we were expected to be submissive to our boyfriends.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

I follow a very detailed outline, focused on story arc and themes and then each chapter's arc. When I am writing, I write a scene per day according to that outline. The next day, I read the scene and tweek the outline if needed.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
I have my own home office, my own space, in which I write on a desktop computer. I tried writing on a laptop without success.

"Writing the story is a wonderful journey."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
Writing the story is a wonderful journey. Promoting it is draining.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love getting positive reader feedback from my stories. Of course all readers will not like my stories but knowing that the novels have touched the hearts of hundreds of readers makes my years of effort worthwhile. I am proud that I have over 28,000 fans on Wattpad and thousands who loved reading Starlet's Web.

Starlet's Web (Carla J. Hanna)
Click to Read an Excerpt

Carla, please tell us a little about your Young Adult Romance Series ‘The Starlet Series.’
A former housewife of Santa Monica, California, I share an insider's perspective on Hollywood and celebrity influence in my young adult romance and multicultural coming of age fiction novels: Starlet's Web, Starlet's Run, and Starlet's Light.

1. Starlet's Web - Hollywood entangles talented teen actress in a web of lies.
2. Starlet's Run - In a world where an actress is a product and everyone is a critic, can young love survive? Should it?
3. Starlet's Light - Young Hollywood actress is 'so done' with acting. She gives up the fight until she sees the light.

Starlet's Run (Carla J. Hanna)

What inspired you to write the Series?
I lived in Santa Monica from 2006-2009. My two toddlers played with the kids of celebrities. I witnessed how Hollywood contracts and investment funding traps actors and crew into creating entertainment full of sex and violence and pushes stories that are in contradiction to the participants’ moral beliefs. The price of fame is accepted as a high cost to humanity. But the players don’t take responsibility for how their stories affect an international generation of teens.
I want people to talk about how stories influence them. I want beauty to be natural. I want to break down racial, monetary, and religious walls.

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the books?
The Starlet Series is geared for high school and college readers interested in celebrity life and influence.The books are available at Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobobooks|Smashwords and at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colorado.

Starlet's Web (Carla J. Hanna)

What makes your series special?
There is no book out there like Starlet’s Web because the actress is a successful teen starlet who grew up going to Sunday school. Most books about Hollywood actresses focus on the out-of-control drugged slut. I personally didn’t know any train-wrecks. I knew many successful actresses who worked hard on their craft and wanted the best for their children but were caught in Hollywood’s web.

"What I have found is that readers welcome the conversation."

How would you describe the success of your books so far?
I’m shocked with the success of the books. Before I self-published, publisher interest and film interest for the series was conditional on me 1. making my characters white, not persons of color, 2. eliminating the characters’ confusion about God vs. sexy popular culture, and 3. making the actress have a lot more sex scenes for the ‘new adult’ genre. I thought readers would be mad that I ask them to think about their role in erotica becoming mainstream. What I have found is that readers welcome the conversation.

How long did it take it to write the series?
I outlined the books for one year. Writing the first draft of the first 4 books took two months. Editing and rewriting the first 3 novels took six months. Then I worked with a professional editor for the first novel, Starlet’s Web. That revision took 2 months, interrupted by publisher interest. I worked with the editor for that publisher for 2 months and then decided not to pursue the publishing contract. Worried about my ownership of Liana Marie’s fictional memoirs, I uploaded the unedited draft of Starlet’s Web, calling it Loved in Pieces, on Amazon to protect the series. I immediately hired my own editors and cover designer and asked Freebooksy to help build my author brand. A few months later, I published the ARCs for Starlet’s Web and Starlet’s Run. In the meantime, I finished Starlet’s Light with the help from the same editors and beta readers. I finished the rough drafts of Starlet’s Man and Starlet’s End. I am currently on my final manuscript of Starlet’s Man and on my sixth re-write of Starlet’s End.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Readers want free books. Unlike musicians, I don’t see authors selling out concert venues to make money. I absolutely see traditionally published books following a very specific story arc/formula that will continue to shock the reader. Traditional publishers will continue to get their lists from data mining keywords so I expect lots of sex, crime, and violence from authors with a brand. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an emerging market of brand placement to be put in traditionally published stories, for example, the actress carries Prada instead of Coach because Prada paid the publisher to be in the book. I expect Indie ebooks to continue to sell for less than the cost of a mocha.
I hope for a change in our stories, though. It is up to the reader to want this change. If the reader continues to want cheap thrills, porno will dominate mainstream literature.

What is your e-reading device of choice?

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I’m a mom and am blessed with financial independence. As writing my novels is now coming to an end, I will start promoting them this year and next year. At this time, I don’t have any plans to write other meaningful stories.

How can readers connect with you?
http://www.wattpad.com/CarlaJHanna (over 28,000 fans!)

Thank you very much for the Interview, Carla.

About the Book Starlet's Web (The Starlet Series #1)

Starlet's Web (Carla J. Hanna)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Do you think you know what it is like to be a famous teen star? Do you think she is always sexy and looking for her next party? Think again.

I'm actress Liana Marie Michael. I won an Oscar at 17 but whatever. Really. Celebrity is what it is: marketing a product. I'm part of a tight-knit group of kids of celebrities. I keep to myself and don't complain about my life. I've been happy until lately.

Evan dumping me leveled me. Matthew shocked me. I knew he couldn't hurt me with my bodyguard so near, but his eyes...so I have trust issues. Dating super-hot Byron didn't help clear the confusion either. I'm torn between going to church on Sunday and making a living from pop culture.

But experience builds perspective. My days of shutting up needed to end. First, I told Manuel. Then I told my mom. It turned out awesome until I learned the truth.

Now I'm screwed. Totally. Let's face it: Hollywood's web entangles everyone.

1. Starlet's Web - Hollywood entangles talented teen actress in a web of lies.
2. Starlet's Run - In a world where an actress is a product and everyone is a critic, can young love survive? Should it?
3. Starlet's Light - Young Hollywood actress is 'so done' with acting. She gives up the fight until she sees the light.

Links to the Books

Link to the eBook Starlet's Web (The Starlet Series #1) with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Starlet's Run (The Starlet Series, #2) with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Starlet's Light (The Starlet Series #3) with Excerpt on Amazon