Jennifer Brown-Thomas is only 25 but has already directed a movie and written two novels as well as creating a clothing and fragrance line. Jennifer Pilato meets this inspiring woman.
Jennifer Brown-Thomas is a remarkably accomplished 25-year-old woman. Her first book, Blissful Lies, is a romantic, thrilling, suspenseful read which was first produced as a movie and directed by the author. Her second book, Vindictive Grounds, is on its way to its readers soon and a movie to follow suit. She grew up in Forth Worth, Texas and in high school, was involved in many youth organizations. She graduated from Texas Christian University and worked hard to become an author and director. She is making a name for herself as she branches out to other aspects of the entertainment industry including building a clothing and fragrance line. A Texas native, she is always seemingly working on her next big thing! After reading Blissful Lies, I was able to speak with this inspiring woman to talk about her books, movies, and what is next for her.
Me: I absolutely LOVED Blissful Lies, I could not put the book down. I could not believe all of the surprise twists and turns that it took. I’m dying to see the movie now. When will it be coming out?
JBT: Thank you! The movie will be out April 6, 2013.
Me: I read that you actually wrote the movie first and then wrote the book Blissful Lies. Usually it’s the other way around, how did this process work for you?
JBT: My mom, who is also my Texas manager, pushed me to do it as my first novel. It is a lot easier to turn a screenplay into a novel rather than the other way around. When you’re dealing with writing a screenplay, you are cutting out the details that I fill in when writing the novel. It’s two different worlds, but I enjoy both forms. I’m excited to direct Vindictive Grounds (second novel and movie) but it’s a lot more challenging to form that into a screenplay. You are cutting out so much of the book for format. I don’t like cutting stuff out from my writing, it is my least favorite thing to do. Blissful Lies had to cut things and everything is so important that it’s so hard to cut.
Me: Do you find the editing to be the most challenging part?
JBT: I don’t find it to be the most challenging part. Writing is definitely the easiest part. Editing is the most time-consuming part. Vindictive Grounds was a much longer editing process because there was more explicit content. It’s very time-consuming when you look at something over and over. I have several editors. My book had 12 edits!
Me: What is your writing process like?
JBT: For me as a writer, I tend to have at least a basis of the characters, a very vague idea of what happened. Then I start writing and let it happen. I ask myself, how can I shock and surprise the audience?
Me: Blissful Lies was very detailed oriented and had a lot of twists and surprises. It ended at a really good part. Do you think you’re ever going to write a sequel?
JBT: I am definitely going to be writing a sequel to Blissful Lies. Vindictive Grounds will be next and then I have a few projects in mind, but the Blissful Lies sequel is definitely one of them.
Me: What was the casting process like?
JBT: We started in April, got a producer, and had rapid pre-production. We had cast Leann (Hunley, in her first starring role as Addison Hamilton the main character) in July. She had been at the hospital with her mother when her manager/agent received the screenplay. They read it and told her that this was a project she should consider. We had never met prior to the casting, but she had been decided from the beginning. We wanted her to play Addison. We could make an educated guess that she would have good chemistry. Teri Medina Galvan (who plays Shaley, one of the most interesting characters in the novel) did not make the first audition, but she sent a video. I could see that she was passionate and hired her. April Hartman and Chris Cassarino (Blair and Calvin) were also cast on the first audition. Honestly, we cast most of them at the first audition. Parker (Addison’s son) was one role that didn’t get filled and we couldn’t decide. We knew from the auditions who we wanted for what and we were going back and forth through head shots and tapes. It is a lengthy process when you don’t know. The role of Parker went to Matt Moody who had never done anything previously, but he was so good and blew me away. Jackson (Addison’s love interest) was harder. It’s all trial and error. You have to hope that you picked the right person. After casting we had them come in and do a cold read, no one had lines before. Then, we began filming in September and moved at a very fast pace. It was filmed in 17 days.
Me: You have plans to direct Vindictive Ground as well. What is after that for you?
JBT: I have actually been hired to direct something that I haven’t written! I’m going to do Vindictive Grounds. I also would love to do horror films. I think my third book is going to be a horror story, maybe suspense horror, something different. I’m also excited to develop the Blissful Lies sequel. I also have Kinsley Kouture and a Blissful Lies perfume line.
Me: How did you come up with the idea to do the clothing line and fragrance?
JBT: It’s actually not something I’ve always wanted to do, but I worked with a stylist on Blissful Lies and although I had not had partnerships before, I was working with Fanitsa Limberis. It was business first and then we became friends, which tends to help circumstances. We began collaborating and we didn’t want it to end there. I have a two-year-old and always wanted to dress her up cute but also have clothes that she could play in. The sketches are amazing and it’s absolutely clothes that I would put on my daughter. It’s going to be accessible to people. It’s realistically for working parents that want to dress their children cute, but functional. It won’t be the end of the world if a popsicle drips on it. We are in pre-production on the fragrance as well. It’s Blissful Lies themed.
Me: Which authors have inspired you?
JBT: Danielle Steele. She has a classic feel to her. I really enjoy her work, most of it is very universal. I think she has something like 75 books and most of them have been turned into TV movies. She is just constantly working! I also love Nicholas Sparks, Nancy Meyers and of course I read 50 Shades of Grey.
Me: I was reading some of your reviews on Amazon and a few of them compared Jackson to Christian Gray!
JBT: I saw that!
Me: Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you. You are such an incredible inspiration to young women and I wish you good luck with all of your future endeavors. I can’t wait to read the Blissful Lies sequel!
Blissful Lies is available for Kindle and e-books right now and can be ordered at Barnes and Noble. The movie is out April 6, 2013 with Vindictive Grounds the book and movie to follow. Blissful Lies is an intriguing suspense novel that follows the romance, friendship, lies, murder, and mystery surrounding a group of friends. It has tons of story plots that you would never see coming. It will absolutely leave you breathless and you won’t be able to wait for the next installment! Vindictive Grounds, her next novel, is about a high-profile attorney who gets caught up in a past affair that will haunt her and possibly destroy everything that she believes in. Thank you to Jennifer Brown-Thomas for doing this interview. She is an absolutely amazing person with a talent for writing, directing, and creating. We will definitely being reading (and seeing!) more of her in the future!
Jennifer Pilato is currently working, awaiting Jennifer Brown-Thomas’ next book and movie!