Author Interview: Kevin Dickson

blind itemCan you tell us a little about your background as a Hollywood Insider?

After years of legitimate celebrity journalism, I found myself working at a tabloid in 2002, and in the course of that work, I befriended a bunch of celebrities. In the years since, I’ve juggled both worlds. I got to see what it takes to send a story viral in the weeklies, and the flip side of that, how a variety of famous people function in private. I became fascinated by the mechanics of fame, and the power of its illusion over people who have it, want it or despise it.

What made you decide to work on writing Blind Item?

My co-writer Jack and I had worked together for many years. He is a publicist, and quite often he worked crisis PR, taking on clients who were embroiled in a scandal at the time and guiding them through it. His clients were like gold for the tabloids, and I was always calling him and bugging him for stories. We would meet and discuss the problem at hand, but as he came to trust me, we would exchange hilariously lurid anecdotes that we’d seen or heard. We knew they couldn’t be published but we always joked that one day we’d write a book that incorporated them. In late 2013, I burned out on the tabloid grind, and I knew it was time to begin work on the book that became Blind Item. There were a couple false starts and for a long time we really didn’t know what we were doing but eventually we landed at Imprint and they immediately loved our little book.

How did you get started as an entertainment journalist?

There was a Simpsons episode in which Homer Simpson kisses his male assistant. I’d heard about it before it aired in my native Australia, but when the episode finally aired, the Aussie network censored the kiss. I called a newspaper in Sydney and complained about it. The editor asked me to prove it, so I went in to meet him, wildly over-caffeinated and apparently equally opinionated. At the end of the meeting, he asked me to write the story, and simultaneously offered me a weekly TV column. Within a year, I went from being a computer programmer to doing celebrity interviews for Cosmo, and then became the national TV critic for The Australian. I moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and the rest is history.

kevin dicksonWhat has been one of your most memorable celebrity experiences that you can share with us?

There are so many, both good and bad, but a firm favorite is the night I spent with a very pregnant Mariah Carey. We’d arranged to do a photoshoot with her at 1pm on a Friday. We heard she was running late, so the photographer and I arrived at her house at 3pm. We were handed a cup of coffee and told to wait for her to summon us. Which she eventually did, ten hours later, at 1am. She was amazing – sweet, earthy and completely bonkers, all in the best way possible. She was also massively pregnant and deathly afraid of looking fat in the photos. She didn’t know how to pose to minimize her size. I offered to help, but needed her permission to touch her to get her into position. She agreed happily, and so, from 1am until the shoot ended at 5am, while an endless mix of her own music played, I hoisted Mariah Carey’s butt and big pregnancy boobs into various photogenic positions. She was delightful and funny the whole time. It was a great night. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had forgotten to get a photo with her.

Why was Blind Item a novel you wanted to publish?

From the outset, we wanted to write a novel that would make people happy. We wanted to touch people and make them laugh. And we loved the idea of folding in a series of real-life scandals that people can read and then go and call their best friend and try to figure it out. Finding out the identity of a blind item is never as much fun as guessing with your friends, and that’s what we were aiming for: a book to enjoy on your own, but also to laugh about with your friends. Times are tough enough right now, we wanted to give people a fun, guilty pleasure.

Can we expect another novel from you?

Why, yes you can. We are currently at work on a sequel to Blind Item that will be released in 2018. Once that is done in a month or so, I am planning to get to work on at least two standalone novels that aren’t connected to Blind Item. I’m so in love with the characters in Blind Item but they’ve been living rent-free inside my head for four years now, and I’d like a little break from them, especially Gaynor. Nobody needs Gaynor inside their brain for any length of time.

#NewRelease: A Fairytale of Possibilities by Kiki Archer

kiki fairytaleAbout the Book

Wedding planner Lauren Hilliard weaves fairytales out of possibilities. It’s her business and she’s good at it. Her brides love her for making their dreams come true but she’s not managed to make the magic happen for herself – yet.

Trouble is, Lauren’s in love with her best friend and has been for eleven hopeless years. Years in which she’s secretly imagined the fairytale of possibilities if she had the courage to speak… which she hasn’t. So she doesn’t. And she won’t.

But what if the feelings are mutual?

Cue the latest magical rom-com from best-selling, award-winning author, Kiki Archer.

 Get Yours! 

Online Writer Workshop! Join Now!

LETS WRITEOnline Writing Workshop – Beginner/Fiction

I am so excited to announce that I will be offering online writer workshops starting this summer! This is about four years in the making, and I am so thrilled to be doing this. The first course I will be doing is focused on beginners and fiction writing – how to start writing a novel, tips and tricks during the writing process, character development, etc, but at the end we will also discuss what happens after you are finished with your manuscript and post-publishing advice. Workshops will consist of weekly Google Hangout sessions with me and fellow course takers, plus email assistance and course assignments, and post-publishing assistance. Course will be limited to 10 participants. Please keep reading for full details, dates and to sign up!

Course Details – Fiction Writing Workshop

Start Date: Monday, July 10. First live Google Hangout with Samantha will be scheduled for 7p CST. Each Google Hangout will be for one hour.

End Date: Final Google Hangout will be Monday, July 31 at 7p PST. Participants are expected to attend at least three of the four Google Hangout sessions, but that is not a requirement.

July 10 schedule: Introductions & expectations. Manuscript prep – plotting, word count goals, how to find your genre and writing style.

Assignment: Three main plot points, two character interviews.

July 17 schedule: Questions on week 1 assignment, character development, writers block, setting and scenery, dialogue.

Assignment: Write 500-1,000 words for your story. Samantha will provide feedback.

July 24 schedule: Assignment questions. Manuscript completion discussion: when and how to find an editor, how to find a proofreader, should you use a beta reader. Understanding feedback.

Assignment: For those comfortable, beta read and provide feedback to a fellow course participant. If you do not feel comfortable, write another 500-1000 words for Samantha to review!

July 31 schedule: Post-publishing discussion: finding an agent or publisher versus self-publishing. Understanding how to publish an eBook and a print book. How to create a marketing plan. How to utilize social media.

Assignment: Keep writing!

In addition to the Google Hangout every week, included with the workshop is a one-on-one Google Hangout with Samantha. These must be scheduled in advance and will run for thirty minutes. Samantha will also provide weekly course emails, outlining class discussions, questions, and advice. Discounts on future pop-up workshops will be provided, and discounts on editing and marketing services with Chick Lit Plus will be offered to course participants.

Cost: $50

This is a non-refundable fee so please be serious about this journey and ready to write when you sign up! Dates and times are subject to change.

Sign up will close July 3 and welcome email will be sent that week to all participants!

Untitled design (2)About Samantha

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the the book blog Chick Lit Plus, focusing on book reviews and author features. She currently has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up To I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise, with her sixth novel due out in fall of 2017. Samantha created CLP Blog Tours in 2012 and has run over 500 online blog tours for authors, in addition to other book marketing services and also editing and proofreading services. You can also find Samantha on Youtube and Instagram as a beauty influencer, with a combined following of over 40,000 followers.