Saturday, June 4, 2011

Welcome Danielle Blanchard Benson!

    It is my pleasure to introduce today the very talented  Danielle Blanchard Benson, author of  The Beautiful People series. As you will read, Danielle's answers are both entertaining and informative, as is her writing. Please welcome Danielle...                        

1 Tell us about you upcoming release.
My upcoming release is part of a series titled The Beautiful People. When I began on this particular journey, I wasn’t sure how often I would release a novella but it seems like they will be coming out at least once a month. The first novella, The Proposal: Book One premiered at the end of April and the second novella, The Hook Up: Book Two was released at the end of May. The third novella, Heartbreaks & Lust Aches: Book Three will be released sometime during the month of June.

2 How did you come up with the title of your book?
The series The Beautiful People always had a title that was a work in progress. The first name of the book was Film Star actually. Then, I realized the term sounded a bit British and might be lost on the American reading populace so it had to be changed. The Beautiful People was decided (with a little help from Marilyn Manson) and I had to come up with the subtitle of each novella organically. I pretty much took the theme from each novella and incorporated it into the title. For instance, the title to The Proposal is a bit of a double entendre as it refers to a sexual act in the novella but it also refers to a business proposition that presents itself to one of the main characters.

3 What is The Beautiful People series about?
In a few words: the entertainment industry. I have always loved Jackie Collins as a writer and a human being. I devoured her novels in my teens and early twenties. I wanted to write something similar—my moneymaker if you like. It is light and airy, a beach read which has plenty of sex, language, some violence and enough talk about the movie industry in particular and L.A. in general to make one dizzy. It is just my take on a very complex and superficial industry. Unfortunately, it is still a business and one that makes a lot of money. If someone is interested in pop culture, movie and rock stars, and salacious gossip, they will truly enjoy this series. It was never meant to be taken too seriously or meant as high-art literature.

4 Did anything special inspire you to write this particular story? Why?
I spent more than six years in L.A. and met people who were connected to the industry (no one really famous mind you). I have been fascinated by the entertainment industry for a very long time and decided to do my own particular take. I am no longer fascinated but I still feel there is an audience for this particular book. Hollywood and the film industry are no longer the same place. Some might say it is on its knees. My series takes place during its golden years when films made lots of money and everyone benefitted. Nowadays, between the reality stars and the celebrities like the Kardashian and Hilton sisters—merely famous for being famous, something has been lost. I wanted to recapture some of the magic of a Hollywood I grew up with and can still remember before it is too late. As I wrote the novel during the time period it takes place, it is wholly authentic.

5 Tell us a little about any current works in progress.
Well, first of all, I should tell you that I do not have a fascination for Hollywood or the entertainment industry anymore but that has not stopped me from writing a second series titled Murder Inc.: The Pop Star series. This series is a bit different as it focuses a bit more on the music industry but there is still lots of juicy Hollywood gossip and the film industry still plays a role.
I am also seriously considering doing a follow-up to The Beautiful People series, 10 years later. I think it would be a bit fascinating to know what these characters are up to now.
My other project, first called Suicide Girl but retitled DeGeneration, is definitely a work of high-art literature. It is a bit of a secretive project of mine but the main story revolves around an American woman, her French significant other and her French best friend. There are some secrets between the three of them and after several years of not being on the Continent, the American main character comes back to France to finish some unsettled business. It is tragic, beautiful and a genuine work of art.
The title is a play on Generation X, the generation I am part of, and the degenerate path we have taken through no fault of our own. Our parents, mostly baby boomers, have set something in motion for which none of us can predict the consequences; hence the reason why I believe the title to be perfect.

6 What do you as an author find as the most challenging aspect of writng? How do you deal with this?
The most difficult aspect of writing for me is the ability to concentrate. I have been very busy with The Beautiful People series; I am at least a third way through DeGeneration but I have not been able to write a thing in the last 5 weeks. I just feel like everything I have to do establish myself as a legitimate writer, author and artist is very time-consuming. Then again, if I don’t establish myself then I won’t have an audience for future work.
I am also at a crossroads because neither The Beautiful People nor Murder, Inc.: The Pop Stars series truly represent what my passion is with writing. I am much more of a literary writer. I love history; I enjoy convoluted plot lines, complex people and very long works of art. Although both of the poppy series I have created are quite long (and thus the reason why they are series), this wasn’t really a test of my writing skills. These were merely fun books, good mindless reading. I am an angst filled person and all my other work is very angst ridden. I truly believe I will have two camps of readers: those who enjoy my fluffy work and others who will prefer my high-art literature. I don’t mind but I would hate to think I was misleading any of my readers and this is a good way to get out my message; the more interviews I do, the more my readers know what I am about and the kind of person I am.

7 What are you currently reading?
Mad Gods, which is by a fellow indie writer. Before that, I recently finished up Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and The Postcard Killers by James Patterson. I absolutely am a huge fan of Stephen King, James Patterson and Anne Rice. I also like the old stuff written by Jackie Collins and Dean Koontz.

8 If you could coauthor a story with any writer out there—deceased or alive—who would it be? Or would you even consider collaboration?
Without a doubt, James Patterson, because the sheer power he carries in the publishing world could make your career as an author. I have read an article about the way he sets up his co-author partnerships; basically, the writer gets an outline of a story and has their way with it. I think that would be a tremendous opportunity and that would probably be the only time I would sell my soul for fame!

9 Writing can be very challenging—what do you do to just “get away” for a break every so often?
I reward myself with holidays or vacations to get away. Last year, I did a tour of Western Europe with a popular tour group (never again). I am also a member of and participate often enough. I spent two weeks in Versailles last December. This June, I am back again in Versailles. I find it very relaxing to get away from the States and to see another country. I have a special love for France and Germany; I simply haven’t gotten around to spending any length of time in Germany yet but I will.

10 What do you like LEAST about writing?
Editing is a never ending process. There is no such thing as a “perfect” book. There have been way too many times I have though the editing and proofreading process was over but there are always errors to be found, a better way a certain phrase or sentence could have been worded. The art in writing is a precise and not so precise art at the same time and that drives me crazy sometimes.

11 Any advice for beginning authors?
Yes, writing is a lot like singing. Some people are born with an innate talent and others have the ability to learn and perfect their writing but they will never be “natural” writers. I have always wanted to be a writer; there has never been any other career which has ever interested me. It is the same with a friend of mine who is an attorney. He has always wanted to be one because he doesn’t like injustice; it had nothing to do with making lots of money and becoming an “ambulance chaser” or a shady character. He just has always loved the law.
I suppose I have always loved words and how they can be expressed, misconstrued, manipulated, changed, et cetera. I love the English language and languages in general. I am also studying French and one day, I hope to be able to translate my books into French!
Therefore, in a roundabout way, my advice would be to never give up hope. If writing is a passion of yours then work at it. Accept the rejection letters if you do try to go about it the traditional way but you will eventually finds out what works best for you. Always have something in the works. Some people only have one “great” novel in them but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t produce other novels, just as long as your readers enjoy them. Not every novel or short story has to be a masterpiece, merely the best work you can do at the time.

12 Tell us about your other published works.
I have only got the one series as of now so my only published works are the two books from The Beautiful People series. The Proposal: Book One and The Hook Up: Book Two. Both are available both on ebook at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble. They are also available in paperback as well on CreateSpace and Amazon.

13 How can readers contact you?
I am available on Facebook and have an author’s page located there. I am also on Twitter and host my own blog where readers are more than welcome to contact me.

List of purchase links for your books.
Book One (Paperback):

 And best of all, Danielle is gifting a copy of Book One and Book Two
of her Beautiful People series--The Proposal  and The Hook Up--to one lucky commenter. Enjoy!


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