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Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Writing Advice From Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including the now-classic Waiting To Exhale. Now, 25 years since her debut, she’s back with Who Asked You?, a multi-generational family saga that is already being applauded by critics. In the latest installment of So What Do You Do?, she tells Mediabistro about creating memorable characters, the challenges of writing from the perspective of an eight-year-old and the pressure of living up to all the hype:

You’re known for writing such authentic characters. How do you keep them all straight?
Well, first of all, it’s not as hard as you would think. If you take [people] that you know really well, and you had to capture them on paper — their gesticulations, how they talk, how they think — from what you know about them, you could do it. But before anything, I do a lot to profile my characters so that I know them. I know almost everything about them, in terms of their educational background, how tall they are, what color they are, what they like and don’t like, what their favorite class was in school, what they’re afraid of, what their biggest secret is, if they lie, if they pay their bills on time, what they wish they coulda, woulda, shoulda done, etc., etc.

To learn more about Terry McMillan’s writing process, read So What Do You Do, Terry McMillan, New York Times Best Selling Author?

Aneya Fernando

Mediabistro Course

Writing Outside the Mainstream

Writing Outside the MainstreamStarting September 18, build your freelance career in African-American, Latino, or LGBT publications! Using a combination of writing exercises and targeted research, you'll learn how to generate salable story ideas, write pitches, build relationships with editors, and position yourself as an authority in your market. Register now! 

The Walking Dead: Gale Anne Hurd Talks Differences Between Comic and Show

Gale Ann Hurd

We’ve all experienced it: the pain and outrage that occurs when book-based movies and shows deviate from the original story lines. It gets our blood boiling just thinking about it.

Admittedly though, some plot changes aren’t that bad, especially if they serve to make a show more interesting. This just might just be the case for AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead. Hey, we don’t want to know who’s going to be eaten by a zombie right from the get-go, do we?

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, The Walking Dead‘s executive producer, Gale Anne Hurd, talks about some of the choices she’s made for the show:

How much of an obligation did you feel to the original comic book storyline?

Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic book series, has been a partner and a fellow executive producer since the very beginning. We always wanted to follow the comic book to a certain extent, but never to the degree that fans would know exactly what was coming. So we’ve deviated from it: We’ve introduced new characters, killed off some who are still alive in the comic book, extended the life span of others. That’s a real tribute to Robert Kirkman being willing to change it up.

For more on creativity and writing, read: So What Do You Do Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer of The Walking Dead?.

Sherry Yuan

Meet the Woman Behind Steve Harvey’s Book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man

Becoming a published author is usually a tough, demanding mission. But for Denene Millner, it was “a total fluke.” The journalist landed a book deal after writing an article for the New York Daily News, and since then has written 20 more, including Steve Harvey‘s New York Times-bestseller Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series, the author/journalist/blogger tells what cooperative writing is really like. 

“It’s really crucial that the person who’s writing the book trusts me,” she explained. “It’s extremely difficult to walk into a project with someone who doesn’t trust that you can deliver. There’s nothing worse than working with someone who doesn’t trust you to do your job. And that’s whatever you’re doing. You could be bagging groceries at Kroger. If someone doesn’t trust you not to put the eggs underneath the milk, they’re going to give you a hard time for it.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Denene Millner, Ghostwriter of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man?

Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

“My instinct is to absolutely recoil when talking about writing in a mechanistic way,” says screenwriter and producer Michael Hirst. With a bunch of film credits under his belt, along with the award-winning series The Tudors, Hirst talks to Mediabistro for the latest installment of So What Do You Do? Though he writes for a different medium than most of you GalleyCat readers, his advice for research and crafting characters is useful for any writer.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. “A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well. You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

Isabel Wilkerson on the 15 Years It Took to Write The Warmth of Other Suns

It’s a pretty big accomplishment for a first-time author to land on the New York Times bestsellers list, but Isabel Wilkerson definitely deserves it. The Pulitzer-prize winning journalist spent 15 years researching and conducted over 1,200 interviews for The Warmth of Other Suns, an account of the men and women who lived through the Great Migration, when 6 million African-Americans moved to the North.

One of the biggest challenges the author says she faced was time. ” I tried to find the oldest members of this migration and capture a range of experiences,” she explained in the latest Mediabistro feature.

“One of the men I chose, the one from Florida, was keenly aware that he was speaking to unborn generations of people. He took it very seriously. At one point he said, ‘If you don’t hurry up and finish this book, I’m gonna be proofreading from heaven.’ And he was right. He didn’t live to see the book.”

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OWN Host Tells How Twitter Got Him a Book Deal

In three short years, Paul Carrick Brunson has gone from a virtually unknown matchmaker to a best-selling author with his own show on OWN. So, how did he become a “real-life Hitch”? Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the relationship coach tells how in the latest installment of Mediabistro’s  So What Do You Do?

“I’m always really transparent on social media, so I went on Twitter and tweeted to my followers that I was thinking about writing a book,” Brunson said. “And one of the associate publishers at Penguin saw it and said, ‘Hey, if you ever write something, let us know. We’d love to look at it.’ A couple months later, I sent him a direct message on Twitter and told him that I had finished the proposal, and he said that he would love to have me come in. I immediately went to New York — no agent — and sat down and had a meeting with them. Within four hours of the meeting I had a deal, and I signed it the next day.”

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Paul Carrick Brunson, Matchmaker and Co-host of OWN’s Lovetown, USA?

How To Find an Agent for Your YA Book

GalleyCat caught up with young-adult novelist Cara Chow (pictured, via) to talk about her book, Bitter Melon.  Here are some highlights from our interview.

Q: How did you find your agent?
A: Back in June 2008, I found Stephen [Barbara] on a website called agentquery.com. My keyword searches were ‘Young Adult’ and ‘multicultural,’ and his name was one of over 200 that showed up on the list. The description of what he was interested in seemed to match what I had, so I sent him a query.

After reading my manuscript, Stephen wrote me a very nice letter telling me what he liked about my manuscript. He then went on to explain what was missing and asked if I would be interested in revising and resending it. I called him to get a better idea of what he had in mind. During our phone conversation, I felt strongly that he was ‘The One’ (I mean that in a professional way, of course). I felt a deep sense of trust in him and decided that he was worth another draft.

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Red Riding Hood Director Catherine Hardwicke & Author Sarah Blakley-Cartwright in Conversation

The new film adaptation of Red Riding Hood opens today.

We caught up with director Catherine Hardwicke and author Sarah Blakley-Cartwright to find out a little more about the novel, the movie, and what’s next for both of them.

S = Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
C = Catherine Hardwicke

Q: How did you sign onto this project? Did you go through an agent? Did you get picked up by an editor?
S: You know, I didn’t. I actually have a very different ‘getting-started’ story. I have known Catherine since I was eleven. She’s been a total mentor to me. She’s been an amazing friend who has seen me throughout the ages. I’ve actually been in every one of her movies; I have little appearances.

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