‘The Industry’ : An interview with Natasha Rocca Devine

Natasha Rocca Devine is no stranger to ‘the industry’—the entertainment industry that is. Her mother is Michelle Rocca, former model, broadcaster and Miss Ireland, and her dad is a former footballer (soccer player). But her connections to ‘the industry’ doesn’t end there because her step-father happens to be Van Morrison. Natasha took some knowledge of her own and combined it with research to put together The Industry. The novel, the first in a trilogy, tells the story of Kerry-born (Ireland) Alanna who wants to be a star. Natasha answered a few questions for Cliché about her novel and what folks can expect in the follow-up.

Cliché: How did you get the inspiration for the book?
Natasha Rocca Devine: Choosing the theme of The Industry was inspired by my fascination of people’s perception of the ‘image’ of media and fame. As I grew up and worked in media, I have vast experience of the reality of this business and the hard work required to ‘make it’. So, I knew it was an obvious choice to base my work upon. Despite my personal experiences, I researched endlessly on this topic while I worked on my plot and the characters to ensure that first and foremost they had their own identities and were strong enough to lead the story. Plus, I challenged myself as a person and writer in order to complete this book, ensuring that it was a realistic representation in its own right, rather than a replication of my own view of ‘the industry’.

How has the reception been thus far?
The feedback from both the public, the media and stores has been remarkable, and I feel so fortunate to already have the support of those in Ireland and around the world. Although this is my second book, it is my first fiction, and I am truly humbled by the response, knowing it can often take numerous novels to get as much interaction from the public as I have on my first. Having said that, I know that I could not have reached this point without the support of my teams of Authoright in the UK and the USA, along with my team at Invoke PR in Ireland. Together they have worked extremely hard on this campaign and brought The Industry to life.

There are a ton of different themes tackled in this book that make it so complex, was it hard putting everything together?
In honesty, when I began writing this book, I set out to include some of the themes such as: a young woman’s journey of loss, love, the precarious highs and lows of fame and fortune expected of ‘the industry’, accompanied by the important themes of social media and media alike. Nonetheless, it was through my course at Faber Academy, which I took whilst writing this book, where I sharpened my skills and worked on the characters and plot. From there, the characters brought the themes into the story, such as Carlton’s humor, which evolved as I wrote the book. So, instead of planning a list of themes and facing the difficulty of trying to forge things together, they interlinked with the natural progression of the characters along with my skills as a writer. All of which, I hope to continuously improve upon with the next two books in this trilogy.

The social media aspect adds a modern flavor to the book. How important was its incorporation?
Including social media in my book was an integral feature with each chapter starting by linking a Tweet to a song, which is Alanna’s (formerly known as ‘#AStar’) blog. Meanwhile, this song is also replicating a chapter title, indicating a general idea of what will happen to assist the reader. As intended, #AStar’s blog is now live on #TheIndustry social media pages, and if you removed all of the text and played the songs in sequence, I hoped it would represent the flow and themes in my book. In addition to Twitter, there is What’s App, texting, YouTube, Spotfiy, Skype and various other references to social media throughout, which I believe threads the story together. Most importantly, as our lives are so much online I felt it would be unrealistic to leave this element out of a contemporary fiction, particularly one on ‘the industry’.

What are you hoping to tackle with the sequel, and when are you hoping it will be released?
For the sequel to The Industry, After Party, which I have already started, I am moving further into character development and the detail of the locations at which they are throughout. As The Industry is a trilogy the readers must now get a sense of the depth of the lead characters, particularly that of the protagonist Alanna. In addition, the book will be begin in America and involves travels to new cities, places and events. This shall also touch upon both the movie and fashion industries, which shall add more layers and meaning to the concept of ‘the industry’. As with the first book, I will keep the spontaneity of themes, the direction that the characters grow and which will no doubt lead to as many twists and turns to the plot as in The Industry. This summer I am planning some USA book signings to meet with my American audience, so I aim to complete the sequel by the end of the summer. From there, I shall release this by Christmas, and this launch party may be in America this time, which is very exciting for me and hopefully for my readers too.

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Photo by Anthony Woods

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