Ready, Set, Drama
Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.
In this new adult novel you’ll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana’s father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother’s disappearance.
You’ll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack.
You’ll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?
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Not enough time? Click to read an excerpt
Changes is the pilot script converted into book form. It introduces the characters and sets the stage for future story lines.
Changes gives readers a voyeuristic look into the lives of the main characters and what their intentions are.
The story switches between the present and past in a series of flashbacks. I felt this was necessary in order to show where the Banovics and DaCosta’s came from.
The title was fitting because the story launches with the characters going through major life adjustments, setting a series of events in motion.
Main Cast of Characters
Robin Banovic. The Banovic family is on the brink of financial ruin. Robin, the patriarch of the Banovic family, makes the heart-wrenching decision to sell the business he’d spent most of his life building.
Jayne Banovic. Matriarch of the family, loses her job as the real estate market takes a tumble. She tries to be strong and keep it together for her family.
Zax Jamison Banovic. Zax is the optimistic middle son. He is an academic genius and also a top athlete on his high school’s basketball team. Despite the fact that girls worship him, he has his eye on one in particular, the school’s elusive tennis champion.
Adriana Kelly Banovic. Just 15, Adriana has been canned from the soap opera she’s acted in since the age of 6. Adriana is on a mission to find work or be confined to the dreaded Westwood Academy.
Savannah (Savi) DaCosta. Mother and manager of 15 year old singing sensation Leighann DaCosta. Savi gets to live out her fantasy through her daughter’s fame. When that is stripped away, Savi is on a quest to get even.
Leighann DaCosta. This 15 year old singing sensation is tired of the concerts, the tours and the whole celebrity life. She envies the very fans that worship her and longs for a life of what she thinks is normal. Leighann finally stands up to her mother and fights for the life that she wants but it came with a price.
L’Wren DaCosta. L’Wren is Leighann’s older sister and confidante. On the surface, L’Wren’s life is uncomplicated but as the story moves forward, we see that she has bigger problems than anyone could imagine.
Haze Christopher Lyndon. Haze is the only main character who does not belong to the Banovic or DaCosta family. Haze is the newbie to Los Angeles and Adriana’s love interest. But his life takes a turn in a very unexpected way.
The Banovic family is on the brink of financial ruin. Robin, the patriarch of the Banovic family, makes the heart-wrenching decision to sell the business he’d spent most of his life building.
Just when things couldn’t get worse for the Banovics, Robin’s father dies, leaving Robin nursing a world of guilt over years of things left unsaid. Just like in real life, sometimes a curse can become a blessing.
Turns out Viktor Banovic left his winery and prime estate for his children, but there is a catch. Viktor’s will stipulates that Robin, the eldest, cannot sell any of the properties without the signatures of his siblings. Sounds simple since all of the first generation Banovic siblings have gone on to build lives of their own, but nothing is simple in the Family Portrait Series. Robin’s brother, Adrian has been missing since after the death of their mother. So Robin hires a detective to find his him.
In the meantime he steps to run the winery with absolutely no experience under his belt and hits resistance from people who are loyal to his father. Robin goes from one extreme to the next in a nano second. Luckily he has his wife Jayne by his side.
Leighann is confined to bed rest after she collapses during a hectic tour schedule. She sees her failing health as a way out of the spotlight and decides to commit career suicide, much to the chagrin of her momager. But walking away from her commitments has consequences that Leighann isn’t aware of. She leaves her mother and the only life she’s ever known to live with her sister in Los Angeles. There she enrolls in the prestigious Westwood Academy.
For the first time Leighann gets a taste of traditional education and kids her own age.
“High school is a lot like what I imagine prison is like. If you don’t have the right friends, you could be killed or raped in the shower.” ~ Leighann
But her problems haven’t even started yet, because unknown to Leighann, Savi has followed her to Los Angeles and where there is Savi, there is trouble. Bored and looking for a little action in her old stomping ground Savi hooks up with college boy Kevin Banovic. Can a hook up just be a hook up? Not in the Family Portrait series.
The stoners: Chellon, Kai, Jason
The changing faces of Changes
As you can see Changes has undergone lots of changes over the year it has been published. The first cover I felt was too dark. I wanted something with an actual picture on the cover. When Jovon Tucker did the trailer she used a Polaroid photo of Haze, which was Adriana’s mystery man and one of the major story lines that carried through all the books. So I got the idea to use a Polaroid.
The 2nd cover was never used, it was a mock up for the 3rd. I changed from the 3rd cover because I wanted to start branding the books. Then came the birth of cover #4. Cover 4 was actually a mock up to the final cover.
This cover is the template for all the books in the series.
My greatest accomplishment and what I will always remember will be when Changes hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller chart in it’s category. Prior to that, the highest it had ever been was #25, then it rose to #11, which I was thrilled with. Until it popped up to #1. I was losing my mind with excitement. I checked later in the day and it was still there.
Changes on the rise again.
Two days later I began to wonder if Amazon had made a mistake. After about a week I was over the moon. The feeling you get when your book hits #1 on Amazon never gets old. That was on April 25, 2014. I still celebrate that every year, that’s how much it means to me.
Good to Know
The FASHION and Location play a very big part in the series.
Westwood Academy is actually modeled (location wise) after Albuquerque Academy.
Check out the locations that inspire some of the scenes.
My favorite scene from Changes has to be when Haze goes to meet Chellon, his childhood best friend for the first time. They are going to room together, but Chellon is not the same guy Haze knew growing up. Here’s the scene:
Haze pulled up to the curb of a two-story, four-apartment complex.
The exterior looked nice enough; his mother would be happy. He was an only child, and his mother wasn’t exactly thrilled about him moving out to Los Angeles even though she grew up there. She felt a little better knowing that he would at least know Chellon, his high-school buddy. She comforted herself knowing that Chellon was a good, wholesome boy. Chellon called his mother every week. Chellon went to church, and Chellon studied hard.
Haze rang the door bell and waited. Chellon came to the door; he immediately bear- hugged Haze.
“You made it! It’s about freaking time!” Chellon beamed at his friend. “Come on in, meet the guys.”
The guys were Jason and Kai. They sat on a beat-up couch, rolling a joint on the coffee table. The inside of the apartment was messy … After all, they were college boys.
“They don’t live here; they’re just hanging out.” Chellon pointed out. “We party’n tonight!”
The one called Kai nodded at Haze. He seemed already high.
“You wanna hit?” Jason asked Haze.
“No,” Haze replied.
The boys lit up, and a cloud of smoke engulfed them.
“Lemme show you your room.” Chellon beamed. “I think you’re going to love LA. The girls out here are a different breed, man. Every one is better looking than the next. It’s like a feeding frenzy!”
My favorite character writing moments: any scene with the Stoners. Also Astrid and Adriana’s dialogue are hilarious.