This week on Writer Wednesday, I’m stepping away from romantic suspense to feature Julie Young, writer of the young adult novel Fifteen Minutes of Fame. Take it away Julie.
SHE SOLD HER SOUL TO ROCK AND ROLL
It was the story that rocked the music world. After five years, four Grammy Award-winning albums, numerous Number One singles and outselling every other act in the music industry, entertainment icon MonAmi was a walking case of burnout. When her plans for rest and relaxation were derailed on the final night of what was supposed to be her Farewell Tour, the enigmatic singer took matters into her own hands running away from her career, her manager and the mysterious identity that made her into a superstar.
Now a rocker gone rogue, MonAmi returns to her hometown of Kentwood, Indiana where as 15-year-old Megan Taylor she was plucked from obscurity and molded into rock and roll royalty with a new name, a lucrative recording contract and a carefully crafted Hannah Montana-like image. However, what started as a teenage dream, quickly turned into a living nightmare as her label gradually controlled every aspect of her life telling the singer: what songs to write, what to wear, when to tour and who to date. “The Suits” know that MonAmi has a short shelf life as a music sensation and they are determined to get everything out of her before her fifteen minutes of fame are over.
Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a fictional memoir told by MonAmi/Megan that offers fans (and readers) the behind the scenes reality about manufactured fame and all the trappings that come with it. Geared for YA fans of Meg Cabot, Robin Benway, Rachel Chon and Jen Calonita, Fifteen Minutes of Fame chronicles MonAmi’s discovery, her rise as a rock idol, the pressure to perform, her failed romance with drummer Denim Rhodes, the well-publicized disappearance and the events that forced her out of hiding and caused her to make peace with her alter ego once and for all.
No matter where I go in the world, I am always asked about what happened. I can be doing the most mundane thing like eating dinner or visiting a museum and someone will approach, tell me how much they like my work, but invariably-the conversation works its way around to the Incident for which I am best known. Never mind that it has been over a decade since it happened, everyone is still fascinated by the saga as if there is some part of the story I didn’t divulge; that I still have something to hide.
I get it. I really do, but it’s how they ask that throws me. Something happens to people when they come face-to-face with a celebrity and I don’t know if it’s nerves or if they just say the first goofy thing that comes to mind, but people sure know how to put their foot in their mouths sometimes. Thank goodness I have a thick skin because in this business, you have to take the adoration with the scorn. Anyone who can’t really isn’t cut out for the gig, you know?
“Were you just freakin’ nuts back then, or what?” a cab driver asked when he realized who he had in his back seat. Of course, he didn’t really say freakin’ and it did not prevent him from asking me for an autograph for his three kids in the next breath.
I scrawled my name on the back of a business card from a local veterinarian’s office and handed it to him over the back seat. It’s always the same. In London, the locals are unfailingly polite when they query. They pepper their sentences with a lot of “rah-thers” while the Chinese resort to crude sign language when they try to make contact. I can’t speak Mandarin of course but it doesn’t matter. I am all too aware of what an index finger moving in circles near the temple means. It’s a gesture that requires no translator.
Americans however, are the only ones who add the salty expletive. You know which one I’m talking about. The one that’s not freakin’.
Sure I was a little crazy at the time. Who wouldn’t have been? I lived a double life that was hardly the best of both worlds however; my story is far from unique. I don’t know the statistics on the subject, but the list of rock stars that cracked under the pressure could read like a Who’s Who list of the industry if it were actually compiled. If I had the inside track on which performers would adjust well to the madness and which are train wrecks waiting to happen, I would go find another singer somewhere and become her manager.
It’s not as though I planned to run. It was a spur of the moment decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I won’t be a bit surprised if it’s etched on my grave after I’m dead. Over the years fingers were pointed and blame was cast on my parents for being greedy and opportunistic, my manger, for pushing me and even my record label for child exploitation. Stories were written and books were published, some written by people who knew enough details to manipulate the facts and others by people who didn’t know me from Adam. It seemed that everyone was willing to sell his or her own spin on the tale that rocked the music world no matter how inaccurate.
After years of trying to ignore it, I decided that the time had come to tell everyone the truth, to lift the veil and let everyone see what really happened. My career is not without its controversies, but I survived in a world where some fall by the wayside and others think they are one hit song away from a comeback. For better or for worse, this is my story: the behind the scenes reality about manufactured fame and all of the trappings that come with it from the girl who sold her soul to rock and roll.
What others are saying:
“This is a fun and quick read. I highly recommend it!” – Sherri Emmons
“Love the way this author writes. She tells a tale that won’t let you put this book down.”- Sandra Denton.
“When a young library regular said she loved Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries, I picked them up. I was charmed! I felt the same way about FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME by Julie Young. ” P. Powis
“Young had me sucked in the moment I began reading.” -Elizabeth (Amazon Review)
In the interest of disclosure, I asked Julie what age the book targets, and this was her response:
The book is from…I would say, junior high on up, but as a parent myself, I didn’t want to write a lot of graphic scenes and did not feel that they were necessary to get the story across. There is occasional language, which makes sense considering the Rock and roll world we are dealing with, but I tried use it sparingly (I feel it packs a bigger punch that way.) There are few bedroom scenes because the story really focuses on her journey on the rock and roll roller coaster rather than a romance…however it is in there. Anyone who has handled Twilight can easily handle my book…a dear friend of mine who happens to be a Catholic Sister read the book, loved it and didn’t have an ounce of problem with any of the content.
There you go… Sounds like a winner to me. If you want to rush out and buy this one, you can find it here:
About the Author:
Julie Young is an award-winning writer from the Indianapolis area whose work has been featured in a number of local, regional and national publications including: The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Monthly, The Indianapolis Business Journal, Michiana House & Home, IN Michiana, South Bend Tribune, ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine, Catholic Teacher Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, Evansville Living, and INTents Magazine. As a former writer with the Associated Press, her work has been seen globally including the online juggernaut CNN.com.
She is also the multi-award nominated author of six local history titles. Her first book, A Belief in Providence: a Life of Saint Theodora Guerin was a finalist in the Best Books in Indy awards as well as a nominee for Foreword’s Book of the Year award. She followed that up with Images of America: Historic Irvington, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, A Brief History of Shelby County, CYO in Indianapolis and Central Indiana, Famous Faces of WTTV-4. She has completed two books for the Idiot’s Guide Series including Catholicism (January 2015) and ASMR (coming May 2015) In addition, she has written the manuscript for the Indiana Historical Society’s Youth Biography series entitled From Local to Legendary: a Life of Michael Jackson.She has earned a reputation as a guest speaker and a mentor at schools throughout the state and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She lives in New Palestine with her family and plays in a rock and roll band. For more information about Young, please visit www.julieyoungfreelance.com
or e-mail Julie@JulieYoungfreelance.com