Friday, April 2, 2010

Advice from a blonde pop star

by Brittany Geragotelis

One of the cool things about my job is that I get to meet a variety of celebs. Through work I've gotten the chance to meet Meg Cabot (Otherwise known as my writing hero!), Danneel Harris (Pictured with me here; Sooo sweet & the lucky girl is dating "Supernatural" star Jensen Ackles!) and Bring It On & Stick It writer/director, Jessica Bendinger (My sister-soulmate; you'll never meet a more humble person from Hollywood).

photo credit: Matisse
Don't get me wrong, though--it's not like there's a celebrity in our office every day. But every once in a while we do get the occassional surprise guest. Yesterday, the pop singer, Matisse (pictured left) stopped by. In case you're not familiar with her, Matisse (real name, Brittany Smith), got her start as one of the John Frieda Twins. She and her twin sis, Alex, started their own pop group called "Brit and Alex," and had a hit on the Step Up 2 soundtrack. After becoming pretty popular over in the UK, Brit's sis decided to quit the biz, leaving Brit wondering if her dreams as a singer were over.

First off, Brit is a really sweet girl. With a sunny smile and platinum blonde locks she perfectly fits the part of pop star. She's got a quiet disposition though, which is interesting since she's such a dynamic performer. You can tell she thinks through her answers before she gives them, and she's worked hard to get to where she is.

photo credit: Matisse
While we were sitting there and chatting about her impending singing career and her latest single, "Better Than Her" (which has already hit #16 on the charts), the conversation quickly turned to how she came to be "Matisse" and dealing with the rejection that comes with following your dreams. She explained that after her sister left their group, Brit suffered from a serious identity crisis. Her fans knew her as a part of a duo and without her sis, she wasn't sure people would buy her as a solo artist. So, she reinvented herself as an artist, under the name Matisse, named after the artist who didn't conform. The point was, despite the setbacks she had, she kept pushing forward.

This is something that I find myself doing every day. See, all I've ever wanted is to be a published author. It's been my dream since I was little. And when I moved to NYC, the first phase in my dream came true: I got a literary agent. He was a great guy and believed in my writing, but after failing to sell a few of my books (and having a lot of interest for one at Harper Collins Childrens), we went our separate ways.

Long story short, I thought this was a sign I wasn't supposed to be writing. Dumb, I know. After about 9 months of no writing at all (besides at work), I felt myself being drawn back to writing. What I learned from that experience was that I really don't have a choice: I'm a writer. I'm good at it, and I have stories to tell. So, the past 2 years, I've been hard at work and have finished 2 more books and am in the middle of my latest, Painless.

I've been sending out queries for one of my books, Ki$$ & $ell, and have received 8 requests for partials and fulls--but mostly rejections. I'm not going to lie--The rejection is hard. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but that's SO not the case. It's especially hard when I review so many books for work that just aren't good. As time goes by and my dream remains just out of my reach, I'm constantly wondering whether I should give up....

But I don't. And it's stories like Brit's and Meg Cabot's (Meg's said before she hit it big, she got a rejection every day except for Sunday--and that's because the mail didn't come on Sundays) and countless other people who are in creative fields (actors, singers, writers, etc), that keep pushing me forward. I need to have faith that eventually my book will be at the right place at the right time and things will all work out the way they're supposed to.

So, all in all, it wasn't such a bad day at work...