Cinder & Ella is a contemporary spin on the classic fairy tale Cinderella wherein my “Prince” is a famous movie star. I will admit it: I like books about celebrities. A couple of my favorites off the top of my head would be, Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot, This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith, and Teen Idol by Meg Cabot. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must, but I love these types of books and will read every one I come across. It’s not a surprise to me that I’ve written a few myself.
Cinder & Ella is my third book that stars a male celebrity as the lead love interest, the first two being my V is for Virgin series, which features my infamous rock star Kyle Hamilton. (My latest book If We Were a Movie is also set in the same universe and features a rockstar in the making.) But that doesn’t mean that if you’ve already read the V is for Virgin books, you don’t need to read Cinder & Ella or vice versa. The books are completely different. Kyle and Brian may both be celebrities, but they are two very different characters with two very different stories.
Yes, they’re both charming, passionate, creative guys with slightly inflated egos, but that’s really where the similarities stop. Kyle is a larger-than-life attention hog. He loves the spotlight and is a natural-born performer. Brian just wants to do what he loves best—act. The rest of it—the fame, the women, the parties—he could go without. Okay, well he does have a fondness for his Ferrari, but other than that he likes to keep things low key.
I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison between my two Hollywood Divas to give you a feel for just how different these two guys are. I think Brian and Kyle could probably tell you better than me, so I’ll let them do it by pulling a few short excerpts from their respective books.
Kyle and Brian On Fame:
~Kyle Hamilton, A is for Abstinence
A lot of celebrities grumble about the inconvenience of fame—the lack of privacy, people only loving you for your money and connections, the constant hounding by fans and the paparazzi. I can’t say I agree with them. If ever someone was meant to live the life of a celebrity, it was me.
I got my first taste of fame when I was eighteen and my band, Tralse, got our big break. Our song “Broken Passion” topped out at number one on the charts and our debut album went platinum. Our follow-up album, S is for Sex, went triple platinum, won six Grammys, and turned me into an international superstar.
For the last three years people have worshipped at my feet, and I’ve yet to tire of the attention. I’m never without friends or something to do, I always get everything I want, and I’m treated like a king wherever I go. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love it.
~Brian Oliver, Cinder & Ella
I hadn’t had a say about anything since my first teen movie hit number one in the box office. Agents, managers, publicists, lawyers, image consultants, personal trainers, a million others… They controlled my life now—what I could and couldn’t wear, what I could and couldn’t eat, what functions I could and couldn’t attend, what I could and couldn’t say. Hell, they’d scheduled this entire publicity tour without once consulting me.
Before I could storm out of the meeting, Lisa, the executive producer of the film, and the only person in the room besides Scott I could actually stand, met me at the door and blocked my way. “Brian,” she said, taking my hand. Her smile was completely patronizing, but I still softened to it. “We know you’re frustrated. You’ve had some bad luck with the paparazzi over the last year, but this press tour is important.”
Some bad luck? Ever since I was cast to play Cinder, I’d become the paparazzi’s new golden boy for the entire female market. They’d stuck to me constantly in order to sell millions of magazines to every woman in the country between the ages of twelve and sixty. They followed me everywhere. I couldn’t wipe my ass anymore without having it plastered on every magazine cover in America. I hadn’t had a moment’s peace in over a year.
Kyle and Brian On Education:
~Kyle Hamilton, V is for Virgin:
“What about you? Do you ever think about going back to school?”
Kyle shrugged. “Not really. I already get to do what I love, so I don’t see the point in a college degree.”
“But what about high school? It doesn’t bother you that you dropped out?”
“Can you keep a secret?” Kyle asked giving me a sly look. When I nodded he grinned. “I didn’t drop out. When the band got the record deal I transferred to an online high school so I could finish my education while I traveled. I’ve even taken a few random college courses in things like accounting and basic entertainment law—stuff that’s helped me keep up with the business end of my industry.”
I stopped walking to stare at Kyle in astonishment. He laughed at my shock then linked his arm through mine and started pulling me forward. “Ignorance is dangerous in my line of work,” he explained.
“Then why do you tell people you’re a high school dropout? Is it really that important to have the bad boy, rebel, rock star image?”
Kyle sighed. “The image is almost as important as the talent, sadly. When ‘Broken Passion’ made the radio, and it looked like Tralse had a real shot at becoming successful, my managers suggested the dropout thing. They made me break up with my girlfriend too.”
Kyle shrugged like it was no big deal.
“That’s fame. Gotta be sexy. Three point six GPA and faithful devoted boyfriend don’t exactly spell sexy rock star.”
~Brian Oliver, Cinder & Ella:
“How about enrolling him in college?” another person suggested.
Yes! I could get on board with that. I’d always wanted to go to college. I’d been homeschooled with a private tutor my whole life. The closest thing I’d ever gotten to a real school was playing a high school student in the movies.
“Hey, yeah, I could do that. I could go to UCLA—go Bruins! I’d like to study English Literature.”
Joseph shook his head, sending me a sympathetic smile. “That’s a really good idea, but you wouldn’t have the time.”
“But we’ve wrapped on The Druid Prince,” I argued. “I don’t have anything going on right now. I could totally do it. I can take a couple years off and go to school. It’d keep me out of trouble.”
Everyone in the room collectively shook their heads.
“Why not?” It pissed me off that they were so quickly dismissing the idea. “What would prove that I’m responsible more than getting a college degree? I’m plenty smart enough. I’d get good grades.”
Lisa smiled, but it was full of pity. “Of course you would, but there are five books in The Cinder Chronicles series. When The Druid Prince hits theaters and breaks box-office records—which it will—the studio will green light the other four movies. They’re already working on the next script. You’ll be filming again by spring.”
My heart sank. I should have known I wouldn’t be allowed to do something as normal as go to college.
Kyle and Brian On Temptation:
~Kyle Hamilton, V is for Virgin
“Is sex really that vital? Am I really not worth waiting for?”
Kyle swallowed hard. “If ever a girl was, Val, it’d be you, but I can’t promise that. You have no idea what my life is like. There are always too many beautiful and willing women. There’s too much temptation. Too much expectation. If I wasn’t getting it from you I’d probably stray. I know how that sounds, but I’m just being honest. I’m only human, Val. A weak one who’s been indulged way too long. I can’t give you what you’re asking for because I’m afraid of breaking your heart.”
~Brian Oliver, Cinder & Ella
Kaylee stood there, staring completely dumbfounded, as she finally realized she’d lost this argument. In one last desperate attempt to get what she wanted, she crossed the room and placed her hands delicately on my chest. “Brian…” She gazed up at me with lust-filled eyes as she slid her arms up over my shoulders and pressed her body against me. “Baby, please don’t go.”
As Kaylee brushed her lips over my freshly-shaven jaw, I wondered how I’d ever found her tempting. I grabbed her arms off my shoulders and untwined myself from her grip. “Sorry, Kay. There’s only one woman for me now, and you aren’t her. You don’t even come close.”
As you can see, Brian and Kyle live very similar lives, and are put in a lot of the same situations, but they react to things very differently. They feel like very different people when you read them, and their stories are completely different. Thanks for taking the time to get to know them a little bit better!