Now a novelist, actress, and filmmaker, Faleena Hopkins writes stories about love in both books and movies - family loyalty a huge theme in all.
An actress since childhood, she went behind the camera to heal when her mother became diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and left this world in Dec. 2005 shortly before Christmas. Faleena made her living for the next ten years as a professional photographer, putting acting on hold for most of those years.
In 2013 she learned self-publishing existed and put her photography gigs on hold, leaving Los Angeles temporarily to stay in the country with her father and his girlfriend. Daily they were handed pages to edit of Faleena's first novel. Seven weeks later she published Fire Nectar (The Choice), and in Dec. 2015 retired from photography altogether, ten years after her mother left her to learn how to be her own best friend.
The one exception was in 2017 when she picked up the camera again and photographed her own covers, interviewing the models of Books 16 and 18 in Cocker Brothers, Nicholas and Caden Cocker.
During her years writing novels since 2013, she wrote the screenplay Just One More Kiss, and entered it into a contest sponsored by Meryl Streep and NYWIFT. It didn't win, but she loved the story so much she decided to make it herself.
Saving the income made from her much loved (by her and her fans) Cocker Brothers series, Faleena self-funded the film to avoid gambling with someone else's money, and went into production with an amazing, very small crew to film through the summer of 2018. When the editor fell through, she had to edit the film herself, learning how through YouTube videos. It was a stressful time with much tears of frustration shed, but her producer Joe Barbagallo keep cheering her on, and finally the film was complete.
In May 2019 it won Best Feature Film at Big Apple Film Festival and secured worldwide and limited theatrical distribution with Indican Pictures and Lionsgate. Again tears were shed, but this time in gratitude for hard work paying off for all who believed in the story.
In July 2019 Faleena underwent an unexpected surgery documented in the live video she did on her Facebook Fan Page to help women who might be going through the same thing. Unfortunately the healing process was stretched much longer than normal for reasons unknown. While she couldn't sit for long periods of time she turned to dictation to write her books, unable to quiet the stories in her mind. May Cocker and Single You Out were written wholly by speaking into her phone, and a new way of writing was born for her out of necessity.
During her months stuck in the apartment while she healed, Faleena was inspired with the idea for an app, and spent that locked-up time to design the app she launched in Oct. 2019 to super-serve her fans, finding new ways to entertain people all over the world.
On January 2nd she released her first children's picture book Everyone Is Unique to help kids know how special they are, published under her initials to keep that author page G-rated on Amazon (as opposed to her steamy romance books under her whole name).
The movie and novel Just One More Kiss launched in Feb. 2020. In March, Faleena received a letter from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (the Oscars) asking for a copy of Just One More Kiss to be added to their core collection of their library along with behind-the-scenes still photographs. As there are few women who've written, starred in and directed their own film in proportion to the number of men, this addition to the Academy's collection for posterity was truly an honor.
On March 9th Faleena moved back to California from New York City with her senior rescue dog, Sophia - a move planned for months. Coincidentally her exit from Manhattan happened just days before the Coronavirus broke out. Heartbroken for what the world was going through she launched the Coronavirus Support Group on Facebook - People helping people.
There are six more books in Cocker Brothers and more to come in her new Tuck Yes series. Another screenplay is in the works, too. Join her newsletter to know when things launch, and she always announces on her app, too.
Photos of Faleena by her friend Robert Whitman
"There is no roof." - Faleena Hopkins