Thursday, January 7, 2016

Blog Tour: Star Darlings by Shana Muldoon Zappa and Ahmet Zappa @DisneyHyperion @AhmetZappa @ShanaZappa @irish_banana

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Leona's Unlucky Mission

Leona is very focused on her studies and is especially busy as the lead vocalist in the Star Darlings band. But when the Star-Zaps start buzzing, the girls know it’s probably time for one of them to head to Wishworld. This time it’s Leona’s turn, and she’s bursting with excitement. She can’t wait to get there and become a successful Wish-Granter. But she’ll have to challenge herself to put her own desires aside and truly understand what her Wisher needs—before her Countdown Clock runs out of time.

Vega and the Fashion Disaster

There are lots of strange things going on at Starling Academy these days: Leona is devastated about her Wish Pendant failure. Ophelia, the newest Star Darling, is completely clueless. Vega’s roommate, Piper, is getting on her last nerve. And Scarlet? Who knows? She’s nowhere to be found! So when by-the-book Vega gets sent to Wishworld on the next mission, she finds herself very distracted. Why is her Wisher so secretive? Vega needs to solve this puzzle fast. Time is running out and Starland needs every drop of wish energy it can get!

Scarlet Discovers True Strength

Scarlet has been keeping to herself. But she is convinced that her removal from the Star Darlings was a terrible mistake. With Vega’s help she starts an investigation. Meanwhile, Ophelia is chosen to go on a Wishworld mission, for which she is hopelessly unprepared. Will Scarlet be the one to rescue Ophelia and the mission?

Today we welcome the author(s) for an interview!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
NO, I DID NOT ALWAYS KNOW I WANTED TO BE A WRITER BUT I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED TO WRITE. WHETHER A POEM, LYRICS, INTENTIONS, A SHORT OR LONG STORY, OR SCRIPT, WRITING HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PART OF MY LIFE.  FOR ME, WRITING IS ABOUT INSPIRED ACTION. MAYBE THAT IS WHY I AM HERE. I DID MANY OTHER CAREERS AND PATHS WHILE WRITING WAS ALWAYS A SECRET NEED AND JOY.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
IT TRULY JUST DEPENDS. I ONCE WROTE A FIRST DRAFT NOVEL OF 500 PAGES IN TEN DAYS. I LIKE TO SAY THAT WAS ONE OF THOSE PURE PLUG INTO THE ETHERS AND IT WRITES ITSELF MOMENTS. THAT WAS WHEN AHMET AND I WERE JUST DATING AND I LIVED ALONE. OBVIOUSLY LIFE HAS CHANGED ESPECIALLY BEING A MOM SO I TRY NOT TO BE TOO HARD ON MYSELF AND I ALLOW SPACE FOR WRITING TO REMAIN FUN. IT COULD BE DAYS. IT COULD BE WEEKS. BUT WITH STAR DARLINGS, I AM NOT ALONE SO IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ANSWER.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO IS TO GET INSIDE A CHARACTER'S HEAD. THAT MAY BE FROM YEARS OF ACTING CLASS. SO EVERYTHING I WRITE NATURALLY COMES FROM CHARACTER FIRST. I ENJOY AND SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE OF WHAT JOURNEY THEY WOULD OR NEED TO GO ON IN ORDER TO GROW. AND OF COURSE OTHER THINGS COME INTO PLAY- I MAY GET AN IDEA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT THAT I JOT DOWN OR INSPIRED BY SOMETHING I SEE IN THE WORLD.
Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
 I AM NOT A SCHEDULE PERSON. NEVER HAVE BEEN. I KNOW A LOT OF WRITERS SAY THAT THEY HAVE TO SET ASIDE A TIME. I GO WITH THE FLOW. AND I MAKE SURE I GET IT DONE WHEN IT NEEDS TO BE DONE. IF I HAVE A DEADLINE IT IS ALWAYS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND SO I KNOW I WILL DO IT. BUT  IF I GET TOO RIGID WITH MYSELF IT TOTALLY ZAPS THE FUN FACTOR. I RESPECT AND ENJOY MY MOMENTS THAT I GET TO SIT AND ZONE OUT....
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
TRICKY QUESTION. BECAUSE I AM NOT TOTALLY SURE I HAVE THE FORMULA. I PRIORITIZE. AND I KNOW MYSELF. I AM A NIGHT OWL...NOT A MORNING PERSON SO I KNOW NOT TO KID MYSELF BY SAYING I WILL WAKE UP EARLY TOMORROW BEFORE HALO AND GET IT DONE FOR EXAMPLE. IT WON'T HAPPEN. SO I AM A MOM AND WIFE FIRST. I GET HALO OFF TO SCHOOL... AHMET AND I GRAB OUT MORNING COFFEE TOGETHER MOST DAYS... AND THEN I KNOW I HAVE A GOOD SEVERAL HOURS OF ME TIME TO DIVIDE UP FOR WHAT I NEED TO GET ACCOMPLISHED. I TRY NOT TO STRESS. I MAKE SURE I CAN ENJOY. THINGS HAVE A WAY OF WORKING OUT IF YOU DON'T DRIVE YOURSELF CRAZY OVER THEM.
What elements do you think make a great story line? 
A GREAT STORY LINE? RELATABILITY FOR ONE. CONNECTION. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO FEEL MYSELF IN THE CHARACTERS. I WANT TO GO ON THEIR JOURNEY WITH THEM AND THAT JOURNEY SHOULD BE FULL OF TWISTS AND TURNS, UPS AND DOWNS, LESSONS, LAUGHTER, HEART. I ALWAYS SAY IF I CAN LAUGH, CRY AND LEARN SOMETHING IN THE SAME MOVIE OR BOOK IT WINS.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
THE HARDEST THING FOR ME IS REVISTING THE BOOK. I AM GREAT AT WRITING THE FIRST DRAFT. THEN MY INSTINCT IS TO PASS IT TO ANOTHER FOR A FRESH SET OF EYES. I LIKE TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT. THAT 500 PAGE NOVEL I WROTE? I HAVE YET TO GO BACK A REREAD IT...SOMEDAY WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT. IN THE MEANTIME, STAR DARLINGS WAS BORN. SO EVERYTHING HAS A TIME AND PLACE IN MY MIND. OF COURSE WHEN YOU ARE WORKING WITH A PUBLISHER, THAT ISN'T HOW THINGS WORK SO YES, THAT IS THE HARDEST FOR ME. REREADING I FIND TO BE QUITE BRUTAL.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
WE ARE CURRENTLY ON BOOK NUMBER SIX. YES I HAVE A FAVORITE SO FAR BUT I WOULD BE A SILLY GIRL TO TELL YOU:) I ACTUALLY TRULY LOVE DIFFERENT THINGS ABOUT EACH BOOK. BECAUSE IN STAR DARLINGS, THE STORY IN CONTINUOUS. IT GROWS. IT EXPANDS. IT IS ONE HUGE MAGICAL JOURNEY WITH SO MANY SMALLER JOURNEYS HAPPENING SIMOUTANEOUSLY. AND THE CHARACTERS...I AM CONNECTED TO ALL IN DIFFERENT WAYS SO I GET THOSE SMIRKS, TEARY EYES, AND ZING MOMENTS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SERIES...HOPEFULLY THE READERS FEEL THE SAME.
Do you have a favorite character?
I LOVE THEM ALL. I REALLY DO. I LOVE ALL OF THE STAR DARLINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE SO UNIQUE. THEY HAVE GREAT TALENTS AND GREAT DOWNFALLS JUST LIKE WE ALL DO. SOME MAKE ME FEEL UNDERSTOOD AND OTHERS INSPIRE ME /CHALLENGE ME TO GROW OR THINK DIFFERENTLY.
Where do you write?
ON MY LAPTOP. I AM CURRENTLY SITTING ON MY SOFA WITH THE SOUND OF THE WAVES CRASHING IN ONE EAR AND MY HUSBAND AND HALO SETTING UP THE RECORD PLAYER I GOT HIM FOR CHRISTMAS IN THE OTHER. YET I AM IN MY ZONE SO FOR NOW I AM CONTENT HERE. NORMALLY I FIND A PLACE OF PEACE AND QUIET THOUGH. I AM NOT SOMEONE WHO TAKES MY COMPUTER TO A COFFEE SHOP. I'D GET WAY TOO DISTRACTED BY PEOPLE WATCHING.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
IN THIS CASE, STAR DARLINGS WAS FIRST CREATED AS A BOOKLET THAT INCLUDED A BIO OF ALL TWELVE CHARACTERS, THE OVERALL BIGGER IDEA/ CONCEPT AND BRAND INTENTION, AND THE SAMPLE OF BOOK ONE. NOT EVERY AUTHOR STARTS WITH THE FRANCHISE IN MIND SO THIS PROCESS WAS A TAD UNIQUE. IT FIRST WENT TO AN AGENCY AND WAS TALKED ABOUT WHETHER TO BE PITCHED FIRST AS A BOOK SERIES, TOY, OR SHOW/MOVIE. IT ENDED UP EXACTLY WHERE IT SHOULD BE WHICH WAS DISNEY PUBLISHING...ANCHORED IN STORY BUT IN THE BEST PLACE TO UNDERSTAND AND MANIFEST THE ENTIRE BRAND.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
MY FAVORITE FEEDBACK WAS FROM MY NIECE MATHILDA WHO IS 11. SHE IS SO BEYOND HER YEARS SMART AND WISE , I KNEW IF STAR DARLINGS WON HER HEART IT WAS ALL THAT I INTENDED IT TO BE AND MORE FOR TWEENS. LESS THAN ONE DAY IN AND SHE WAS DRAWING HER OWN STAR DARLINGS CHARACTERS AND ASKING A LOT OF QUESTIONS. SHE SHARED WITH ME THE PARTS SHE THOUGHT WERE FUNNY AND I WAS THERE TO SEE HER TEAR UP AS WELL. SHE CONSUMED THE WISHER'S GUIDE, SAGE AND LIBBY SO FAST AND THEN WAS LIKE WELL WHEN DO I GET THE NEXT ONE?  THAT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME. THAT IS SUCCESS.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
OUTSIDE OF WRITING I LOVE TO DO YOGA (WHEN I HAVE TIME.) I ABSOLUTELY TREASURE MEDITATION BUT I DON'T ALWAYS GET TO IT TRUTH BE TOLD. I LOVE TO DECORATE JUST LIKE I LOVE FASHION. PLAYING WITH A ROOM IS VERY SATISFYING FOR ME...JUST LIKE PLAYING WITH OUTFITS WHETHER MY OWN OR HALOS. I ENJOY READING ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH GROWTH AND BECOMING A BETTER PERSON...POSITIVE THINKING...EVOLVING AS A HUMAN AND AS A WORLD. I ALSO HAVE A THIRST FOR POLITICS ALTHOUGH I HAVE STOPPED MYSELF FROM HAVING CNN AS BACKGROUND MUSIC THANKS TO MY HUSBAND. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT ANIMAL RIGHTS....ESPECIALLY ENDANGERED ANIMALS. I HAVE TO ADMIT I LOVE PINTEREST. I AM A HUGE BELIEVER IN VISION BOARDS. I HAVE CREATED THEM FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. PINTEREST IS ABSOLUTELY GENIUS. I HAVE MANY SECRET BOARDS THAT HELP ME CREATE EVERYTHING FROM STORY TO BRAINSTORMING NEW IDEAS AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC BOARDS THAT ARE SO FUN FOR FASHION, LIFESTYLE, ETC. WHAT A BRILLIANT TOOL! AND OF COURSE, NONE OF THIS CAN HAPPEN WITHOUT MY QUALITY FAMILY TIME AND TIME WITH FRIENDS. IT IS FROM ALLLL OF THESE DIFFERENT THINGS AND MORE THAT I DRAW MY INSPIRATION TO CREATE.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
JUST START WRITING! DON'T OVER THINK IT. OVERTHINKING WRITING FOR ME IS A NON STARTER. DO THE ACTION AND ALLOW THE UNIVERSE TO MEET YOU. FIRST ONE MUST CREATE. THAT IS THE BIRTH OF YOUR CREATION. THAT IS WHAT I BELIEVE AND HAVE EXPERIENCED.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
MY FAVORITE BOOK AND AUTHOR IS THE ALCHEMIST BY PAULO COELHO. IRONICALLY I HAVE NEVER BEEN ONE TO READ FICTIONAL BOOKS. I KNOW THAT SOUNDS BIZARRE SINCE I WRITE THEM. BUT I LIKE TO CONSUME DIFFERENT PEOPLE'S PERSPECTIVE ON REALITY AND THEN GET INSPIRED TO USE MY OWN IMAGINATION. I DON'T OFTEN ENJOY STEPPING INTO OTHER PEOPLE'S IMAGINATION AS SOMEHOW I FEEL LIKE IT WILL INFLUENCE MY OWN. DOES THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE? HMM. ANYHOW- SO THE ALCHEMIST BEING FICTIONAL AND HAVING SUCH A PROFOUND AFFECT ON ME...IT'S UNIQUE. I HAVE READ IT AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN MY LIFE AND FOUND DIFFERENT MEANINGS. THE JOURNEY. I LOVE THE JOURNEY.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
YES!! DISNEY PUBLISHING! AND MY BRILLIANT ADORABLE HUSBAND OF COURSE. AND SOMETIMES BOUNCING AN IDEA ON A FRIEND JUST TO GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD AND TAKE IT FOR A TEST RUN.

Are you working on anything now?
YES...STAR DARLINGS...THERE IS MORE TO COME. AND IT ONLY GETS BETTER FROM HERE. TRUST ME. BEYOND THAT I HAVE SEVERAL SEEDS PERCOLATING. BUT FOR THE MOMENT STAR DARLINGS IS CENTER STAGE AND DESERVEDLY SO. I AM SO EXCITED FOR ALL THAT IS TO COME....


Thanks so much for being with us today! Good luck on the series!
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3 comments:

  1. Such delightful covers. These sound really fun:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. These books look bright, colorful and fun!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful interview! I love the advice for aspiring writers! The Star Darlings books sound like they are a lot of fun to read.

    ReplyDelete

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