HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR by Gabrielle Aquilina-Review and Interview with the Author
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 15, 2015
A story of sex, love and rock ‘n’ roll
Aspiring singer Lillie and American rock star Jed seem like the perfect fit from the moment they meet. The pair are inseparable, but Jed’s jet-set schedule of shows and after-parties limits the amount they can see each other. So when Jed invites Lillie to sing with his band on their tour, she says yes. Yes with some hesitation, that is. After finding out that her ex-boyfriend was hiding away a wife and child when they were dating, Lillie’s trust in men is fragile and she also suffers from severe stage fright. As the tour progresses, Jed and Lillie are fast becoming rock’s hottest couple but with obsessive fan girls, a claustrophobic tour bus and a resentful guitarist, things start taking a turn for the worse. Lillie’s dream of singing may have finally become a reality, but can it last? The odds are stacking up against them and then the unthinkable happens…
REVIEW: HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR is an adult, contemporary, rock star romance storyline from author Gabrielle Aquilina focusing on Jed-the lead singer and front man for the hit American rock group The Dead Hour, and aspiring British singer Lillie whose stage fright has held her back-disabling her own dance and musical career. When she discovers her boyfriend of two years is married with a child, Lillie hopes to move forward with her life but never expected to find her future with a man whose own past is secreted away.
The storyline follows Jed and Lillie’s building relationship as Lillie is pulled not only into the maelstrom that is rock and roll, but finds herself on stage as a duet performer with Jed and the band. As the weeks pass, Lillie’s popularity with the fans begins to bloom but her stage fright amplifies her self doubt as both a singer and member of the band.
The relationship between our couple is one of immediate attraction and insta-love where heart-felt confessions happen within a matter of days. Jed and Lillie are inseparable from their first night together. Lillie will quit her dead end job to follow Jed and the band on their trip throughout Europe. What ensues is a sexually erotic and sensual love match that is tempered by the small secrets Jed continues to keep to himself.
The Dead Hour is a rock and roll success but with it comes the excesses of fame, fortune and notoriety. Drugs, sex and hard drinking are an every day part of the band’s lifestyle and there are times when the morning after is not always pretty. We watch as heartbreak, lies and betrayal follow the boys but none more so than for Jed and Lillie.
The amazing, and of times humorous and colorful supporting characters include Jed’s fellow band mates-Johnny, Chris and Eddie; their manager Steve; as well as Lillie’s best friend Kate, whose attraction to Chris sets up another storyline and love match. We will be introduced to Jed’s parents Sandra and Martin, as well as Lillie’s younger sister Tess who has caught the eye of Jed’s best friend and band mate Johnny. Johnny’s personality and antics softens the copious amount of tension that follows the band from backstage to home. There are also an assortment of groupies, fans and ex lovers who pose a bit of a problem for Jed and his fellow musicians.
HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR is an imaginative and revealing storyline that takes us behind the scenes of rock and roll. The characters are flawed, imperfect and human; the storyline is seductive, compelling and dramatic. From one night stands, viral you-tube videos and paparazzi stalker style images, the boys of THE DEAD HOUR find themselves front and center in a drama of their very own. Gabrielle Aquilina pulls the reader into a storyline that will break your heart and make you swoon. We all want to be able to say that we caught our own rock star.
Copy supplied by the publisher.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Gabrielle and welcome to The Reading Café.
We would like to start with some background information. Please tell us something about yourself?
Gabrielle: I’m from Portsmouth but have lived in America, Hong Kong and Australia as well as Exeter and Oxford. I’ve had a lot of different office jobs and am a qualified personal trainer, but I really hope to make a living from writing! Now, I live near the sea with my four-year-old daughter and try to resist baking Nigella’s cakes every day!
TRC: Many authors develop their love of writing at an early age. What or who was the catalyst that started you on the road to publication?
Gabrielle: I’ve written on and off my whole life, but I never seriously thought about being published until I went to an event about writing groups at my (then) local indie bookstore. The Oxford Writing Group encouraged people in the audience to set up their own writing groups and a girl behind me, Liah Thorley (now published, too), asked me if I wanted to set one up with her. And so Abingdon Writers was formed! With the help of the bookstore, Mostly Books, we grew to 18 members with a waiting list and encouraged and motivated each other to chase the dream of being published authors. Several of us are now published in one way or another.
TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?
Gabrielle: Ooh, that’s a tough one! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet and then a marine biologist… Now, I think I would like to be a furniture restorer or own my own bookstore.
TRC: Your bio states that you teach Combat. What is Combat and what does it entail?
Gabrielle: Combat is a high energy-mixed martial arts exercise class which is great fun and a brilliant stress reliever. If you’ve ever had a bad day, hit a Combat class and get all that aggression and tension out!
TRC: HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR is your first novel. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Gabrielle: HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR tells the story of Lillie, a bored office temp and Jed, lead singer in an American rock band. Jed invites Lillie to tour with the band after hearing her sing and they rapidly fall in love. But Lillie’s past won’t let her be happy and Jed has a secret which eventually comes out, causing Lillie to do something that Jed just can’t forgive.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series or is the novel a stand alone story?
Gabrielle: There will be at least two more books in the series. I’m working on the second one, which picks up from where HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR finishes and is about Johnny, Jed’s best friend and the band’s bassist.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading roles in HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR, which models or actors would match your ideal image?
Gabrielle: I love this question! I’ve always seen Lillie as a young Liv Tyler – she’s incredibly beautiful but not in a really obvious, in your face way. For Jed, hmmm. That’s a bit harder. A cross between Ian Sommerhalder and old school Jared Leto maybe, but a bit rougher round the edges…
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?
Gabrielle: One of the biggest challenges was keeping the timeline straight. The book changed massively from the first to the second draft and kept changing until the final draft.
I also have no idea what it’s like to be in a touring, up-and-coming rock band so that took a lot of research on the Internet and reading through band blogs to try and get an accurate representation of being on the road.
TRC: Are the storyline characters based in reality or a culmination of fact and fiction?
Gabrielle: It’s all entirely fictional – I suppose there are parts of me and people I know in some of the characters, but I don’t think anyone can write a novel and not include elements of their own personalities and those of their friends in the characters they write. After all, these people come out of our heads – they have to contain a small part of us!
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Gabrielle: You need to build tension, keep the plot relatively realistic, throw in a couple of red herrings and try not to give too much away!
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Gabrielle: The characters definitely direct me! The loudest character in HOW TO CATCH A (ROCK) STAR was Johnny. He just wouldn’t let himself fade into the background and that’s why I’m writing a second book based on him. He’s got a lot more to say!
TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?
Gabrielle: I can’t write in silence. I always have music on in the background and, unsurprisingly, the soundtrack for this book was Rock. I’m not sure it influenced the plotlines, but I suspect it had some impact on the characters!
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Gabrielle: I think you need to make your characters real to the reader and to do that, you have to give them flaws but not make them annoying. It’s a fine line! You really need to get into your characters’ heads, describe their emotions, show their reactions and the reactions of other characters to them. The reader has to care about the characters, otherwise there’s no gement. I think it’s all too easy to make your characters too likeable and that just isn’t realistic.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Gabrielle: The key is not to wait for the ‘muse’ to hit you. Sometimes you have to make yourself sit down and write. The story isn’t always flowing and, if that’s the case, ask yourself ‘what if?’. What if my main character has a complete breakdown in the supermarket? What if my protagonist’s best friend betrays her in some way? This type of question often helps to jump start my writing and introduces a dilemma or conflict to the storyline, which is always good.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Gabrielle: Ooh, good but difficult question! I like to eat cheddar and chocolate. Together. I suppose it’s not for everyone…
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?
Gabrielle: That it’s an easy job! Realistically, for most authors, it’s not much money for a lot of hours and even more angst and stress. BUT, it’s an amazing feeling to be published and writing is its own reward.
TRC: Who is the first person you think about when you need someone to talk with and why?
Gabrielle: I have a really great group of friends who I can talk to about anything and everything and do! There’s not much we don’t know about each other and most of them have been in my life for more than fifteen years so that’s a lot of shared history. I love them because they’re non-judgemental, smart and funny as hell.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Gabrielle: I’m working on Johnny’s story, which is a spin off from ‘How To Catch A (Rock) Star’, so readers will get to find out a bit more about what happens to Jed and Lillie and also discover a lot more about Johnny.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Gabrielle: A big thank you to the Reading Cafe for interviewing me and, if you read the book, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!
• Something involving chocolate. Nigella’s molten chocolate babycakes are always welcome in my house…
Favorite TV Show
• Friends and The Good Wife
Last Movie You Saw
• Bad Grandpa
Dark or Milk Chocolate
• Definitely dark!
Secret Celebrity Crush
• It’s been Johnny Depp since 21 Jump Street first aired!
Last Vacation Destination
Do you have any pets?
• Sadly not but I would love a dog one day.
Last book you read
• ‘The Three’ by Sarah Lotz, although I listened to it rather than read it.
• people who walk really slowly.
TRC: Thank you Gabrielle for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of your first novel.