Not in the Script
Author: Amy Finnegan
Published: October 7th, 2014
Paperback: 367 pages
FTC: Received a paperback ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Mindy
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.
Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.
When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.
This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.
WOW! This book was so much fun. I loved it. Amy does a fantastic job of giving the reader a glimpse of celebrity life. Emma is a fabulous character. Her head is in the right place when it comes to the Hollywood scene, but her heart and personal life needed work. She has been burned many times in the past, and is very cautious when she meets Jake (who is absolutely perfect for her). I instantly loved Jake! A down-to-earth guy who works hard, using his earnings for a good cause. He and Emma start hanging out “as friends”. Emma’s best friend stated for years that if she ever met “The Bod”, he was hers. The Bod ended up being Jake Elliot, a co-star of Emma’s. Emma feels guilty about the relationship.
I liked how this book was written with the point of view switches between Emma and Jake. It was great seeing each other’s perspective on the events that take place. I felt bad for Emma at times with all she had to endure. Being a celebrity has a price. She is taken advantage of by so many, including someone very close to her. Jake was great for her in helping her see things differently, and just being a great friend. However, many things are thrown at them as they try to see if they can be together.
5 out of 5 stars. Not in the Script is a fun, clean book that you can give to your teens without worry. I can’t wait for more from this talented author.
How do you know so much about the Hollywood scene?
I have a brother who has an amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, his behind-the-scenes stories about filmmaking have lit up my writer’s brain like bulbs on a Christmas tree, and one thing in particular that he said that inspired an important aspect of NOT IN THE SCRIPT. He told me about a film he was working on in which the villain of the story was played by one of the nicest guys he’d ever met (the actor would play basketball or just hang out with my brother during breaks, and he’d often talk about his family and friends), and the hero of the story was played by a skirt-chasing jerk with a filthy mouth. And then my brother said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how common that scenario is in this business.”
That’s when I went home and actually started writing. Additional concepts came into place quickly, but this was the spark that started a fire in me and became a central theme in the novel.
But I didn’t want to fake my way through the filmmaking scenes in the book. I needed to do some serious research in order to make things feel authentic. So on the production side of things, my brother gave me some amazing opportunities to not only tour dozens of sets, but to sit in on the productions of some of my favorite shows, such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood. I have also been a fly on the wall during sound mixing for another of my all time favorite shows: Chuck! And I’ve also watched Foley artists work their sound effect magic for an episode of The Walking Dead. All along the way, I’ve asked countless (helpful!) crewmembers endless questions in order to get the technical details of NOT IN THE SCRIPT as accurate as possible. But it hardly felt like work. Every bit of filmmaking is fascinating, no matter which side of the camera you’re on. I can’t get enough of it.
And because I never like to do anything halfway, I also wanted to learn what acting was all about. For this, I went pretty hardcore and took lessons from an on-set acting coach who works with some of the largest studios. She is also an accomplished actress herself, having starred on a popular television show for over a decade. It was incredibly eye-opening, challenging, and entertaining. But I’ll definitely leave the acting to the professionals while I write in my quiet little corner!
Who was your favorite character to write?
Jake was probably my favorite character to write, because he entered my mind fully formed. Then I had to dream up a plot and a princess for him! Oddly enough, my connection to the male lead is always stronger in the novels I write, which is why I chose to write NOT IN THE SCRIPT in an alternating, first person point of view. Third person wouldn’t have felt close enough for me, and telling the entire story from Emma’s point of view wouldn’t feel true to the story, since it began with Jake!
While writing this book, was there a character that surprised you?
Two of them, actually. Brett and Kimmi both surprised me because I found a lot more depth to them with each revision of this story. It was almost like they were trying to say, “C’mon, Amy, you know I’m not that shallow. There’s more to me than you’re telling people.” I loved sticking them into any scene I could get away with, especially together.
How long did it take you to write Not in the Script?
After about a year of working on it, I finished my first draft in 2007. Crazy, right? This draft was just setting the bones down, and then I had to beef it up with more substance . . . but I also had trim it down, because the original draft was about 120k words. So that was a bit of tricky business. I also did a lot of my behind-the-scenes research after the first draft was completed; until that point, I wasn’t exactly sure which technical details I needed to know about filmmaking.
I also worked on several additional projects during the next five years. I would revise NOT IN THE SCRIPT, and then set it aside and work on something else so I would have fresh eyes when I returned to it. I did this many times over. But this was during the unusually-extended period in YA lit that was dominated by paranormal romances, so unless I had decided to make Jake spontaneously turn into a vampire, werewolf, dark angel, zombie, or fairy king, NOT IN THE SCRIPT would’ve had a slim chance of making it onto the shelves at that time anyway. So I just revised some more until publishers wanted contemporary romance again (:
What is next for you?
I’m currently revising what I hope will be the first novel in a historical fantasy series. The only “fantasy” element is that it takes place in a country that doesn’t actually exist, but I’m about to take my fourth trip to the UK where I’ve been doing some incredibly fun research for it!
Thank you, Amy!
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