It is my great pleasure to welcome Celia Kennedy to my blog today.
Celia’s new novel, Prosecco & Paparazzi is a comical, romantic tale of what happens when the paths of a celebrity god and a mere mortal collide. My favorite kinda story.
When fifteen minutes of fame goes horribly wrong…
Charlotte Young and her five closest friends ring in the New Year on a ski vacation in the swanky, celebrity-packed French Alps, where her world collides with long-time celeb crush, Des Bannerman—aka “The King of Rom-Com.” Unexpectedly, Charlotte finds herself happily reconciled to an innocent evening of drinking champagne, gambling, and chatting to the celebrity of her dreams.
Charlotte’s friends join forces to help her realize her lifelong fantasy, yet his girlfriend, the latest Bond Girl, proves an insurmountable obstacle. Lighthearted banter turns into tabloid fodder and leaves Charlotte saddled with a restraining order.
With the help of her friends, Charlotte finds the answers to life’s biggest questions while trying to deal with the fallout of her fifteen minutes of fame.
Sounds like a lot of fun!
What does it take for a writer to write what she writes? Celia Kennedy tells us how she came to be a writer and a little about how she gets it all down the page.
In the fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Copeland, gave us homework, a creative writing piece. The details of the story that remain are the nuggets that appeal to most ten-year-old girls, bedazzled caves, a handsome boy, a girl striding with purpose, her pigtails swinging across her back, and the feeling of excitement of being on a grand adventure. Oh, and receiving high praise from my classmates and teacher. We wrote four installments, and the euphoria I felt when the class asked her to read my mine is, still, indescribable. It had nothing to do with being the center of attention, and everything to do with the knowledge that my passion to write had transported them.
It took another thirty years for me to write a book. Along the way I was the editor of my high school newspaper, went to college and wrote papers on all manner of subjects: art history, paleobotany, urban development, and famous figures in English and American literature and history. I knew the spirit of a writer was still skirting the walls of my brain when I wrote a paper for an Urban Planning class, including the sentence, “She quaffed her mall-do!”
When the opportunity to follow my lifelong dream of writing arrived, I literally booted up my laptop and started tapping away at the keyboard. No outlines, angst, or hesitation.
My first novel, Prosecco & Paparazzi, was based on a conversation I had with my husband after watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton had interviewed Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man completely captivated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. We brainstormed about how we would go about contacting a celebrity, and then how would we get him or her intrigued enough about us that they would agree to dine with complete strangers (preferably somewhere fancy and on their tab).
My writing process started out very simple. I opened my laptop, borrowed on the conversation with my husband about Clint Eastwood, and started reading tabloids from around the globe. I picked an attractive mega-star to follow. An unexpected but very important side benefit of this was that I was reacquainted with the necessity for research; in this case it was fashion, glamor, hotspots, jet-setting, and lifestyles of the rich and famous. And as we all know, these details add the sparkle.
After I had the main male lead characters in place, I had to create his counterpart. She felt elusive. I wasn’t writing a romance novel. My goal was to write an intelligent comedy. Which made it important that Charlotte could stand her own ground with her personality versus dazzle men with her pouty lips and perky breasts. I invited a friend to have coffee (I had hot apple juice, she had a soy latte) and she helped me hack my way through the possibilities. Together we arrived at the village concept. Which is ironic really, because I rely on my own for honest opinions on everything from sagging jowls to tight pants.
So, why not create a village of women around Charlotte so that she could be the grounded, intelligent, girl next door she needed to be? No reason not to! Charlotte’s village is inhabited by Hillary, Tiziana, Marian, and Kathleen. Together, they are an unstoppable force – Hillary is from a wealthy English family, and is all things proper. Hailing from Italy, is Tiziana. She possesses a natural sexual flamboyancy which often prevents people from recognizing her intelligence. Irishwoman Marian is amazingly witty and it is her sarcastic banter that often provides the opportunity for vulnerable discourse. The final member of the group is Kathleen; an American living in Paris. She is strong and aloof; bringing the best of the American and French cultures to life.
Writing a funny book is hard work. ALL books have many layers, but to write a comedy one has to feel light. There are many days I can write page after page of usable material. But some days I don’t. On these days I write the infra-structure, making notes in the margin, “Insert something funny here.” Then I have blessed days where I go back in and search for notes, read the situation, add banter, rework scenarios to create double entrendre’s, and generally lighten the mood of some passages.
At one point I actually quit writing for a few months because the weather was so bleak that all the characters were generally miserable. It takes an amazing amount of discipline to sit down at a keyboard and shake off your personal feelings and life issues and jump into the personalities and circumstances of those who live within your manuscript. Over the years the discipline to do this has improved dramatically. Generally I read the last four of five pages I wrote, edit a bit, and off I go, back into the world of my imagination.
I have read a million blogs by authors and am always amazed at their creative processes. Some have written outlines for the entire book. Some have written novellas for each character. Some have sticky notes plastered all over the walls and computer screen. One author was panicked because she was moving and her desk had to be packed up. So, she took close-up photographs of her work space: notepads, sticky notes, and computer screen, so she could set up exactly as things had been. She posted a picture on Twitter less than twenty four hours later and everything was exactly the same in her new place. I could feel her relief.
My style is… more contained. For example, because I am writing a sequel to Prosecco & Paparazzi, I have it and my work-in- progress, Cognac & Courture, open on my laptop plus ten to twelve windows with research sites open. A dictionary, maps, blogs (food, fashion, and travel), tabloids, YouTube, and various websites pertaining to what I am currently writing about (right now I have links to Christmas in France and Italy open). I will admit that if there is a website that is crucial, I take a photo of it.
Other things I do: I clean my house before I start writing. I cannot have outstanding chores that MUST be done (clean clothes for tomorrow, some concept of dinner, an alarm scheduled for events I cannot miss). All of this is finished by 7:30 a.m. I cannot have mental or visual distractions. I’m easily distracted.
When I hit a wall, I do one of several things: get a chore out of the way, work-out, listen to music, paint, weed, or read. That means I do one or two of these things every day, because, I come to a stop every day. Usually a distraction gives my brain a chance to percolate through the chaos. When I hit a major wall I have coffee with a friend to hash it out, or grab a pen and paper and go at it the old-fashioned way. One quality I would say a writer needs is tenacity. You will wrestle ideas like a cowboy riding a slicked pig.
Then one day, you’re characters are flushed out, the twists and turns of your plot lines have been carefully woven, and your edits and rewrites made. I liken this day to your first day of school, both exciting and terrifying. So much potential, so much unknown.
— Celia Kennedy
In addition to having written Prosecco & Paparazzi, Kathleen’s Undressed and Venus Rising, and five short stories for seasonal anthologies. Celia Kennedy is a mom, wife, friend, and a practicing Landscape Architect. She lives in Redmond, Washington, where she lives a spectacular life. If you’d like to learn more about her, visit www.celiakennedy.weebly.com, follow her on Twitter (@KennedyCelia) on Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author) or Goodreads. If you want to see the actual locations that she writes about in her books, check her out on www.Pinterest.com.
Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on a military base. Her parent’s penchant for traveling has stuck with her, she’s lived in and traveled through several countries.
The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Art History, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture. Her thirteen year career at UW in Seattle ended in 1996. Not wanting to be homeless, she left the academic world and worked as a Landscape Architect, married the love of her life, became a mom, has been PTA President, and both Boy and Girl Scout Leader.
The unimaginable wealth in her life is the most fascinating thing to her.
Her love of travel, the designed and natural world, friendship, self-discovery, wine, chocolate, AND love are the foundation of her life and books.