Imagine the movie poster for your latest novel, BLINDING MIRROR. What's the logline?
When you’re blinded to who you really are…
Expand on that logline by pitching us BLINDING MIRROR in 50 words or less.
Olivia Valente was born into abject poverty to abusive and neglectful parents. It isn't until she meets the mysterious and beautiful Pilar who shows her it's possible to escape the life as she knows it and attain one of wealth and leisure. Olivia does so but along the way to living the fabulous life she leaves a trail of lies and deceit that ends in those closest to her paying the price.
I've learned through some research that BLINDING MIRROR took you on darker paths in your writing than with your previous two novels, Azucar Moreno and Los Morenos. What was the spark to which BLINDING MIRROR was born?
One of the things I’ve observed is the fascination our culture has the so-called socialites who appear to do nothing but shop and court the paparazzi. The wheels began to turn and the story of Olivia was born and how she ended up losing her soul in her pursuit of wealth. There's nothing wrong with wanting to increase one's finances - I'm certainly working to do that - but this deals with someone who goes about in the completely wrong fashion and is willing to barter herself to become rich.
Talk to us about the writing process for BLINDING MIRROR. Was it a fast write? Was it more difficult than your previous two novels? Did the darkness of the material slow the writing process?
Blinding Mirror was definitely a more difficult write than the first two novels. I'm very familiar with the cultures represented in AM and LM but with Blinding Mirror, I had the challenge to writing about some cultures and lifestyles of which I knew nothing of and to do so in a convincing fashion. The darkness of the character Olivia didn't slow the process at all. In fact it was a great spark. Just as some actors find it more appealing and more of a challenge to portray dark characters, I as a writer felt the same way about writing the dark character.
From AZUCAR MORENO to BLINDING MIRROR, how have you grown as a writer?
I think my more subtle with my writing now. For instance there is a horrifying event that takes place in Blinding Mirror and the characters never actually speak specifically about the incident but it’s still very clear what has happened. I guess I’ve found that not saying anything at times speaks volumes.
I LOVE that you're so versatile - a novelist, a producer, a lyricist, a screenwriter. Was it always your idea to make your first novel, Azucar Moreno into the movie FIESTA?
Yes, it was. Especially, after I’d heard from so many people that they could see this as a film. And in the end it’s worked out so much better that we are doing it independently since I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to my work.
How has the production gone with FIESTA?
The production has hit a few bumps but the wonderful thing is those bumps made way for even better people to get involved in the film. From when we started out until now, I can hardly believe how blessed we’ve been with the attention it’s gotten from certain people in the industry. If it’s possible, I’m even more excited about bringing this story to the screen.
Do you plan to produce your other books into movies, too?
Yes, I’d like to do the sequel to Azucar Moreno—Los Morenos. And Blinding Mirror has to be made into a film. I don’t quite see it as a theatrical release like I do the others. I can see this more as a cable film for some reason.
How has your work in screenwriting and movies influenced your novel writing -- or has it?
Really I think my novel writing influenced the screenwriting. With some great advice from a couple of actors I learned to bring certain subtleties into play in the screenplay. I had to learn to not SAY but to SHOW through actions and imagery as I did in my novel writing.
What are you doing or plan to do - as author - to promote BLINDING MIRROR?
Since I've been working on getting Fiesta off the ground I'm going to move the release of Blinding Mirror to the beginning of the year, that way I can give myself time to work on promotions such as getting the galleys out and hitting up radio, newspapers and online outlets. It's best to do that about six months out before the release so this will give me time to do that. I will be releasing the novel under my entertainment company.
In looking back at your short but successful career as a novelist, what themes, topics do you find prevalent in your works...that reflect you, Shelley Halima?
I would say my open-mindedness. I've never been one who only wanted to associate with people who shared my ethnicity or background. So in my novels I want to reach out to different types of people and to tell their stories in a way that I hope can open the minds of others so that they will not automatically write someone off because they are different from them. Unfortunately, I see this a lot and it's my hope that even in some small way I can change that.
You're going on vacation, and you're only allowed to take three books with you -- what are they, and why these three?
It by Stephen King, Jubilee by Margaret Walker and Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean R. Koontz. These are probably my top books of all time. It because it frightened me so with the improbable, Jubilee because I felt like I was transported back in time and could feel the pain and joy of those who were enslaved and then set free, and Dark Rivers because even though it was fiction it was chilling in its truth in how things are going on right now. All I can say is Patriot Act.
Who is one of your favorite writers, and how does he/she inspire you as a writer?
Without a doubt Stephen King followed very closely by Dean R. Koontz. Stephen King just has a unique way of bringing his stories to life. I love how he puts you right there in the story. On the downside, I slept with a light on for a week after reading IT and to this day I hate clowns. Nope, never had a problem with clowns until ole Steve ruined it for me forever.
BLINDING MIRROR: The Movie. In the dream version, who plays Olivia Machado (Oliva Magdalena Delgado), Gino Valente, Lourdes , Sofia , and Isabella?
Ines Sastre (Lost City) as Olivia
Miguel Ferrer as Gino Valente
Mischa Barton as Lourdes
Rachel Bilson as Isabella
Dominik Garcia-Lorido (Andy Garcia’s daughter) as Sofia
What's currently going on in your WRITING LIFE?
Right now I’m writing songs for two very talented young artists and writing songs for them, working on the sequel to Blinding Mirror entitled Crimson Mirror as well the screenplay for the follow up to Fiesta.
Want to learn more about Shelley Halima? Then check her out at the following cyber locations:
Wells-Halima Entertainment: www.wells-halimaentertainment.com
Shelley's website: www.shelleyhalima.com
Shelley's MySpace page: www.myspace.com/shelleyhalima
Fiesta: The Movie on MySpace: www.myspace.com/fiestathemovie
Official Fiesta: The Movie website: www.fiestathemovie.com (website coming soon)