Friday, July 24, 2015

Blog Tour: THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES by Nina Berry - Interview and Giveaway

I'm please to be one of the hosts for The Notorious Pagan Jones blog tour. I have the author here today to share details of researching and writing The Notorious Pagan Jones which is AVAILABLE NOW. After you read the interview, please enter for a chance to win a hardback copy of The Notorious Pagan Jones.

Welcome Nina!!

Your book is set in the 1960's. What research did you do to make this time period feel authentic to your story?

Research galore – of all kinds! Good thing I actually enjoy it. I read several books on the Cold War, bought travel guides to Berlin, and watched a lot of movies made during that period. Lucky for me I studied film and TV in graduate school, work in Hollywood, and have always loved history.

I also did a lot research on pop culture in the early sixties. I fell in love with some of the fashions (but not the girdles they had to wear), Googled magazine covers, and downloaded and listened over and over to the popular songs Pagan would’ve heard playing on the radio.

It was fun to watch many popular films of the era, like the famous Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I also latched into a film called One, Two, Three, which was shot in West Berlin during the exact period my book covers. That movie was the inspiration behind the film Pagan goes to Berlin to shoot. In fact, a lot of real life events, like a garden party thrown by the leader of East Germany, became an integral party of the story. It was really fun to put my fictional trouble-maker, Pagan, into contact with historically terrible men like the murderous head of the East German secret service.

Who is your inspiration for Pagan Jones? And Devin Black?

Pagan has a family and a past that is unique to her, but her look, her movie career, and her first boyfriend were inspired by a combination of sixties teen stars who were all acting and modeling from childhood: Sandra Dee, Sue Lyon (who starred in Kubrik’s Lolita), and Hayley Mills. Pagan did a few beachy movies like Dee’s Gidget, but is as talented as Sue Lyon and Hayley Mills. A more modern day inspiration was Drew Barrymore, who admits to having a substance abuse problem very early in life, but who overcame it beautifully.

Devin Black was inspired by several gentlemen, some of whom I’ve met and cannot talk about! But he’s also like a combination of a young James Bond (the Sean Connery or Daniel Craig versions) and French actor Alain Delon when he was young.

I love the cover of the book! It has a Valley of the Dolls feel to it. Did you have any input or contribute to the design of the book cover?

I have to give all credit for the super cool cover to the design folks at Harlequin Teen. My input consisted of sending them links to my Pinterest pages to show them the “look”

I had in mind for Pagan, the clothes she’d wear, and the settings she’d visit. They came up with the font, the texture, and the concept of the cover, and I love everything about it. It particularly tickles me that we only see the character of Pagan through the letters of her name. She’s partly hidden, and partly revealed as if by a tabloid headline. It’s so incredibly perfect for the character!

The Notorious Pagan Jones is described as Historical Fiction. Will your readers need to have knowledge of the Cold War to understand the story?

Nope. No need to do any historical research before you plunge in. I tried to provide whatever info you might need to know, plus some extra for atmosphere and fun, along the way. I wrote an afterward in the back of the book that explains some of the real Cold War inspiration and precedents, including politics, Hollywood machinations, and espionage and provides links to sites with even more information. So it’s there if you want to know more.

And if you do know anything about the city of Berlin, the nuclear stand-off between the US and the Soviet Union, or the history of the Berlin Wall, you’ll get a kick out of the historical details in the book. You might even learn a thing or two. I sure did while I was researching.

This is the first of a series. When you came up with the story, did you intend to write a series or did the story continue to develop as you continued writing?

I first conceived of this as a sort of teen girl James Bond series. The James Bond part of it changed (Pagan’s not a full-time spy like Bond, and the tone is different), but the series part of it remains. Men and boys always get to be the heroes with the troubled past, and I wanted to give that to a girl - a past where she made mistakes, that showed how far from perfect she was, that forced her to grow up too soon. Boys get to be funny and full of regret at the same time – but girls live complicated lives too. Pagan is both funny and sad. She’s full of love, and full of pain all at the same time.

So I planned the series from the start to show Pagan growing and learning about herself and the world while she battles her inner demons, falls in and out of love, does a few things right, but also makes mistakes. And sometimes, if she’s lucky, she makes a difference.

by Nina Berry
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Published by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 400

Pagan Jones went from America's Sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night she accidentally killed her family in a drunk driving accident. Nine months later, she's stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt—not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Hollywood actress.
But when Pagan’s Hollywood agent arrives at her reform school with a mysterious studio executive Devin Black, Pagan must decide if she can stay sober – while shooting a new comedy with award-winning director Bennie Wexler in war-torn Berlin just as the Wall is going up. All the while, her ex-boyfriend shows up in Berlin with his new wife – a Pagan Jones lookalike. Will she run into him? What will she say? Ultimately, Berlin is her chance at redemption: both personally and professionally.
With a court-appointed guardian, her every move scrutinized, and her recovery still in question, can she pull herself together, rescue her co-star and re-win the hearts of the American public?

Purchase Links

About the Author

Nina Berry has been working in Hollywood for years, and is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of movie and TV sets. She took her love of old movies, her knowledge from her day job as well as a heartbreaking personal story of the loss of a friend who succumbed to alcoholism to create the world of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES.

Find Nina Online:

Giveaway Info:
Thanks to the amazing team at Harlequin Teen, each stop on the tour will be offering up a copy of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES, so be sure and follow along for more guest posts, interviews and chances to win! 
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Complete Tour Schedule:


  1. This looks like such a fun book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. It's so cool that the author wrote an afterword on the Cold War, so she can get into the specifics of history without slowing the pace of the novel with too much information! Great idea! I'll read this book as soon as I can!

    Carolina M on rafflecopter

  3. I like the idea of the story and a strong female protagonist, but I'm not sure I can read a story where I don't like (loathe) the protagonist. I really have no sympathy (none, zero, nada) for anyone who drinks and drives and especially not for anyone who murders others as a result of choosing to drink and drive.


Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment!


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