I won’t compete with several e-book titles I have out which provide biographical material on me. There is volume I of my official bio, “THE FIRST 85 YEARS ARE THE HARDEST,” I became distracted and have to date failed to publish volume II. Then there are my times in music, an avocation, titled, “IT AINT FINE IF IT DON’T RHYME” which offers over 60 years of lyrics plus bits and pieces on artists I’ve recorded or who recorded my songs – folks such as Paul Simon, Carl Perkins, Fred Neil, Lillian Briggs and some 25 others. “THE ZSA ZSA AFFAIR” is also biography, covering a few of my 20 years on Madison Avenue, leading up to the production of a TV commercial with Zsa Zsa Gabor and an aborted partnership in a cosmetics company in her name which we had planned. There is a delicately handled more personal bio, titled, “MY HILARIOUS SEX LIFE” which got some raving reviews but like most ebooks, sad sales. But wait, there’s more. You like biography? I’m a veritable bio machine. My very latest, titled, PANIC IN PERFORMING is a very brief bio of my performing years which is how and where I started in my working life, and which I continued intermittently while multi-tasking, writing, producing, marketing, you name it. In my 89th, year I was called to an audition for a bilingual role in a lozenge commercial, for which, apparently they auditioned from coast to coast. It was for an English and a French version of the same commercial and I figured that would be easy. I spoke French before I learned English, which is really my fifth language. The English version was a breeze but I had spoken Parisian French, not French Canadian, and the director gave me the line in French which sounded like Godforsaken gibberish and I panicked. I’m pretty effective aping dialects or accents but his version sounded so dreadful to me I simply panicked and couldn’t do it. I had never in my life panicked before in the performing arts and this prompted me to review my performing efforts from the age of six on when I did a solo dance performance which got me enough applause to addict me to the habit. The book is partly a psychological self-analysis along with several pages of photos covering a part-time career that started in 1933. And since my motto is – “I grew too old to retire and then became too busy to die,” I look forward to playing an action hero on my 100th birthday. To me, one of the most interesting biographical efforts I put out may be the postscript in my eBook adaptation of my screenplay ONE HUNDRED NAKED GIRLS in which I trace the development of that story over a period of over 40 years. This book adaptation, by the way, is my most constant and best seller among the twelve titles I have.
What inspires you to write?
Most probably an idea. Ideas come to me out of the blue. My first screenplay came out of an idea that came to me when I saw a young TV network producer excitedly looking for a copy of Time Magazine which was fully devoted to Spielberg's film JAWS back in 1975. The idea was, "I wonder if there might have been a producer in Hollywood who rejected the Bencheley book Jaws with a comment such as, "Who wants to make picture about a dumb fish?" I rushed home to bang out an outline on the idea and sent it to a story editor at one of the majors. She responded quickly asking for the screenplay and budget, neither of which I had. I banged out a 140 page screenplay in 12 days (far too long, of course) she loved it but couldn't sell it to her management and took it with her a few weeks later to another major studio where she also failed to sell it. HBO picked it up later. I was supposed to produce it for them but my father died and I had to take over his food company and postponed the production. It's a long story and not relevant to inspiration for writing. Most often, I suspect, in my case it is more compulsion to write than inspiration – but a line I picked up somewhere may be universally accurate – "The greatest inspiration for writing is a contract."
Tell us about your writing process.
Outliner or seat of the pants writer? I'm probably both. Right now I'm working on the biggest idea I've ever had – an idea that led to a concept which will get me 40% to 70% of the funding for a film production in the $30 million to $60 million range. Mezzanine financing will easily get the rest of the needed funds. I've now completed writing the presentation, synopsis for the film. I'm doing the outline next which will be longer and which will flesh out the characters which will partially guide the development of the story. Once the characters are real and colorful enough, they seem to take over as I'm writing – whether it's a screenplay or book.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Having been an actor in theater and TV and films I tend to get into the characters I create – or perhaps they create themselves. I'm not sure. I don't like to analyse what I do in too much detail. I respect the magical aspect of creativity and let it lead me rather than consciously follow some rules or habits, etc.
Who are your favorite authors?
My heavy reading days go back to my infancy but I didn't follow authors. I was born in Romania but most of the books I read were in German or English. Of my adult years the only author I can recall who kept me up most of the night was Frank McCourt's. I lived out his life with him in his bio, Angela's Ashes. I desperately wanted to meet him, to have a drink with him and become his buddy. But his next one, 'Tis, was a disappointment. I think his agents or editors got to him to inject more forced humor which didn't work.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Two things. I had never thought of writing books. A marginal publisher had somehow come across a screenplay of mine and asked me to adapt it as a book. I wasn't interested and she offered to adapt it herself and pay me a decent royalty, to which I agreed. I had edited her effort, but she ignored my edit, and later pulled a phony bankruptcy, which left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Shortly after, I became aware of the emergence of ebooks. That caught my interest. What a delightful concept – no printing costs, no remainders, no stupid agents to deal with, no difficult editors – an economic heaven. Alas, e-books are not making it today.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I'm afraid for a generation or two, book publishing will diminish in volume. The new generation have short limited attention spans and will not become book readers. They read internet messages and clips on phones as they walk into telephone poles or get run over by trucks.
What genres do you write?
Film, TV, books, social media, Parler – Twitter and I parted company.
What formats are your books in?
Link to Author Page on AuthorsDen.com
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