May 22, 2014

Author Interview: Carla J. Hanna (The Starlet Series)

I am very honored to have been given the chance to interview the amazing author behind the successful series, The Starlet Series, Carla J. Hanna!


Carla J. Hanna is the author of young adult romance and coming of age fiction novels for new adult & college readers. A former housewife of Santa Monica, California, she shares an insider's perspective on Hollywood and celebrity influence in her multicultural novels.


Fill in the blanks:

The greatest thing about being a writer is sharing my unique perspective on fame and success with readers.

I battle writer’s block by playing with my awesome kids, husband and dog.

The last TV show I watched was “Dog with a Blog” (my daughter loves the Disney Channel).

The last song I listened to was Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea), Ariana Grande.

The last book I read was Dark Pools (about high frequency trading).


What inspired you to write The Starlet Series?

The cultural reach from Hollywood movies and stories extends beyond race or class internationally. A very small group of people with influence and power chooses the blockbusters that tens of millions of people in the world watch. The appearance of the actors and the scripts they perform impact those millions.

When I moved to Santa Monica, California from the high-tech hub of Silicon Valley/San Francisco, I assumed that celebrities were immoral, egotistical extroverts searching for attention and fame. What I found was a group of talented people in the large entertainment industry that shared a common dream of creating art and pushing boundaries. Some were horrible people. Some were awesome idealists. All were trapped in an industry focused on investment return, youthful beauty, and trends. I saw that the celebrity parents of the children that attended religious school or played at the park with my children wanted the same happiness for their kids that I wanted for my own. I met some great people, many who were spiritual introverts who had channeled their energy into acting or music.

It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado that I saw how much that Hollywood culture affected everybody in suburbia. Everyone watched TV and movies. Teens in suburbia believed a lie whereas teens in Santa Monica assumed everything was faked. That’s when I wondered what would have happened if we had stayed in the house with the incredible view of the Pacific Ocean that I used as the setting for Liana Marie’s home. My kids would have continued to go to school with the kids of celebrities. Would my son take a celebrity’s daughter to prom? Would the teen I used as the basis for the Alan character continue to bully his way into directing the next Hollywood blockbuster?

Are any of the characters related to someone you know in real life?

All of the characters are based on real people and reflect how they act and talk, without the cussing. In Hollywood, everyone cusses. It shocked me for several months. Then I got used to it.

I’m not a name-dropper because I’d hurt someone’s brand and could get sued. I’m hoping that my friends will someday take the risk to provide a celebrity endorsement but I also understand the business and am not disappointed that they remain publicly quiet while they send notes of praise.

Manny is a stand out from other guys; from Alan, Matthew, Byron, Evan and Grant. What is the reason behind Manny’s nature?

Like many children of performers, Manny has to choose a path earlier in life than does a fun-loving, free teen in many parts of the world. Manny’s dad was a tattooed Latino singer. His mom owned an apartment building worth tens of millions. Imagine his childhood: people staring, interrupting his family dinner out at a restaurant, insisting that his dad autograph something or take a photo, and so on. Other kids fear playing with him. Adults whisper. Picture what Adam Levine’s son would be like in 17 years. My kids and I sat next to celebs at restaurants. One time, we sat next to “Manny” at church with his very famous parents and I wondered if his kindness and humility was for real. Then I thought: shame on me. I can’t think he’s less moral than me because of whom I think he should be.

Which Hollywood actor, dead or alive, would you want to play Manny Biro if this book would turn into a TV series or a movie? Why?

A year ago, Spring 2013, I was so excited talking to an indie film guy and his team about their plans for the Starlet Series. At that time, I figured Ryan Guzman from Step Up Revolution could play a teen (he’s 26) or hot Tyler Posey. They were thinking much, much cheaper talent. That film deal didn’t go anywhere because I wanted to keep Manny as a hot guy who chose to pray and Liana as an actress who refused to give up on herself. Guzman and Posey can pull off that humble-and-approachable-but-so-hot contradiction that Manny has at the heart of his character.

 Is there a happy ending for Marie and Manny given they are under such difficult circumstances?

Starlet’s Man is in Manny’s point-of-view. Liana Marie writes her memoirs, Starlet’s Web, Starlet’s Run, and Starlet’s Light, in the hospital. In Starlet’s Web, she and Manny discover a shocking truth. In Starlet’s Run, they deal with the acting life and public criticism. In Starlet’s Light, they both learn and grow emotionally. In all books, they make very human mistakes and learn to trust, forgive, and repeat. They have a very beautiful story, full of drama, positioning, compassion, understanding, and hope.


Release Date: September 8, 2014
Series: Starlet Series #0.5


Lights, Camera, and Lies. High school student athlete, Manny Biro, is caught between the boy he should be and the man he wants to become. 

Everyone around him accepts the Hollywood life. He doesn't. Manny wants no part of acting. On the surface, his childhood best friends seem to have it all: money, power, success. Between the lines, they are all confused. Alan is a messed up want-to-be director focused on pushing scenes to their sexy potential. Beth is an athlete driven to escape from a dark past. Janet is Manny's kid sister caught up in fashion and trends. And Marie is a lonely actress exhausted by the culture that makes everyone's favorite stories. 

What is the price of fame for all the characters? Conflicts and truths will unfold in this gripping installment of Carla Hanna's Starlet Series, Starlet's Man.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the interview. All the best, Carla Hanna