Monday, 20 December 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Janice Thompson's Kat Jennings & Scott Murphy

Kat & Scott

Janice Thompson is back with a new romantic comedy series that is sure to delight. Enjoy this look "behind the scenes" at her leading couple from the first book, Stars Collide.

Brief physical description

Here’s a paragraph from the book to describe my heroine Kat Jennings, lead actress on the sitcom “Stars Collide”:

I slipped on the comfy ensemble and gave myself another glance in the mirror. Not bad. I added a bit of jewelry and stood back, examining my appearance. My long blond hair was pretty enough, I supposed, and I’d received more than one compliment on my high cheekbones and tall, slender physique. Oh, if only I could change these green eyes to a lovely shade of blue and get rid of the splattering of freckles that still plagued me. Whose nose and cheeks were covered in freckles at twenty-seven?

Here’s a description of my hero Scott Murphy, lead actor on the sitcom “Stars Collide” (from Kat’s point of view):

My gaze darted across the crowded studio to Scott Murphy, my love interest in the sitcom Stars Collide. He raked his fingers through that gorgeous, dark, wavy hair of his and flashed an encouraging smile. Scott continued to tease me with a smile. Oh yes, this certainly made things easier. His baby blues never left my eyes. I prayed they never would.

Actor/famous person

I envision Kat looking a bit like Kate Hudson

I envision Scott looking a bit like Patrick Dempsey:

Strengths and weaknesses

Kat has a lot of insecurities, in spite of her popularity on “Stars Collide.” She struggles with feelings toward her deadbeat dad, who dropped out of her life when she was a youngster. She’s the sole caregiver for her grandmother (the aging Hollywood star, Lenora Worth), and is very, very protective of her. (Lenora is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and tends to be a bit on the wacky side. Lenora is also known to embarrass Kat publicly without meaning to.)

In spite of his stardom, Scott is a down-to-earth kind of guy. He’s loyal to family and to Kat.

Quirk (if any)

Kat is easily embarrassed about having to kiss Scott for the first time in front of a live TV audience. Scott’s not as embarrassed…just very anxious. Just as they are about to kiss for the first time, the lights go out in the studio. As a result, the kiss is shared in the dark, in total privacy, which makes both of them very happy. They love being sitcom stars, but neither wants to make their private life public. That’s why Kat goes into a bit of a panic when her grandmother tells the paparazzi that she and Scott are engaged when they’re really not.

Your inspiration for the character

Kat: I loved the idea of creating a character, who, in spite of her stardom, still struggles with insecurities. Kat has the ideal life—she lives in a mansion in Beverly Hills, has a great job as a television star and is lovely, inside and out. However, she still battles issues related to the death of her mother, and struggles with the absence of her father. She’s also got a fight or flight mentality, (more flight than fight, usually).

Here’s a scene from the book to emphasize that point:

“What are you going to do?” Athena asked as she gestured for me to sit next to her.

“After I move to the remotest regions of the Amazon, or before?” I asked as I took a seat. “Because I feel pretty sure I won’t have to deal with any of this when I’m living in the rain forest.”

“You’re moving to the jungle?” she asked, her brow now wrinkled in confusion.

I slapped my head. “No, goofy. I already live in the jungle. I’m moving to the Amazon, where the natives are friendly and the only headhunters are the kind that eat you for dinner. I’ll be safe there. Safer than I am here, anyway.”

She chuckled. “Okay, I get it. You’re worked up. I’m not saying I blame you, exactly. I guess this is pretty embarrassing.”

“You can say that again.”

She’d just started to when Scott stuck his head in the door and smiled.


Scott: He hails from Alma Arkansas, the spinach capital of the world. Scott is definitely a fish out of water in Hollywood. Like Kat, he has to learn how to balance his faith and his stardom on the sitcom. Here’s a scene that tells the reader a little about Alma:

“Alma is the spinach capital of the world,” Nancy explained. “We even have a statue of Popeye on Main Street. So trust me when I say we all have the show memorized.”

“Impressive,” I said. And the fact that Alma was known for its spinach certainly explained Scott’s muscular physique.

As if reading my thoughts, he flexed his arm and grinned. “I ate more spinach when I was growing up than any kid should be allowed to by law.”

“That explains it then.” I winked and his cheeks turned red.

Background to the story

Stars Collide is a story within a story—about two sitcom stars who are in love on their show. . .and in real life. If you want to know how and why I decided to write this Hollywood-driven tale, I’ll have to take you back to the summer of 1978, when my father moved our family to Los Angeles so that he could get into the movie business. At that time, I was just a young Texas girl—a wide-eyed wannabe who felt like a fish out of water in the Hollywood world of glitz and glam. My dad had an idea for a movie, but didn’t want to write it, so he handed the project off to me. Thus began my (tentative and terrifying) writing career.

Our co-authored screenplay (Liar’s Moon) went on to be produced as a movie in the early ‘80s, starring a young kid named Matt Dillon. I moved back to Texas, and eventually started penning inspirational novels, primarily romantic comedies. However, a piece of my heart has always clung to that wonderful summer in L.A., where doors first opened for me and possibilities seemed endless. Watching my father work as a producer laid the foundation for my whole career as a writer. And becoming a member of the Screenwriter’s Guild at the tender age of 19 gave me the tools I needed to offer readers a glimpse into this magical world called Tinseltown.

When I first came up with the idea for Stars Collide (and the rest of the books in the “Backstage Pass” series) I wanted to pay tribute to my father, who passed away in ’06. If he hadn’t pushed me to co-author that screenplay back in L.A., I wouldn’t be a writer today. I knew that I needed to craft a story he would love, so, of course, I set it in Hollywood. And it had to have a few twists and turns, because my father taught me early on that careful plotting makes for an exciting story! I could think of no greater place to set my tale than smack-dab in the middle of a Hollywood sitcom, so that’s what I did. Kat and Scott (who play the characters of Angie and Jack on the sitcom) are in love. . .both on set and off. But neither has the courage to tell the other, (at first, anyway).

The “Backstage Pass” series takes the reader on a fast-paced ride through the sometimes-crazy, sometimes-serious world of Tinseltown, where the rich and famous aren’t always as they appear on-screen. The first book in the series (Stars Collide) is about the lead actress in the fictional “Stars Collide” television sitcom. Book two (Hello! Hollywood) is about the head writer on the sitcom. Book three (yet unnamed) is about the female director of the sitcom.

I did my best to portray both Old Hollywood and new in this fun new series, leaning on several of the great films from days gone by as inspiration. I hope my readers enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed penning them!

Thanks Janice ~ can't wait to be entertained by this story :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of It Had to Be You, Fools Rush In and Swinging on A Star

Character spotlight on Bella & DJ

Visit Janice's website

Buy Janice's books at Amazon or Koorong


Janice Thompson said...

Thank you for spotlighting the book, Rel! Can't wait to see what the readers think!

Sara said...

This book looks sooo cute! So far, I've only read the first Wedding by Bella book, but I loved it. Can't wait for this one.

Janice Thompson said...

Sara, this book is the start of a brand new series, set in Hollywood! If you want to read the other "Weddings by Bella" books, they are titled "Swinging on a Star" and "It Had to be You."

nolene said...

I really enjoyed that spotlight! It is nice to hear the background as to why a book was written. I will look out for this series! Thanks Rel!

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