Red and Blue is a fascinating story that combines classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes and adds many new twists. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this story?
I’m a huge Broadway play so the big inspiration was Into the Woods. I watch the original Broadway play and the Disney movie. In college in my theater class, we had to do a project on a play. I chose Into the Woods by doing an original monologue. “Red & Blue” was born from that monologue of what happened after the total disaster of the story.
There were so many interesting characters, some pulled straight from fairy tales. What was your favorite character to write for?
Humpty Dumpty was one of my favorite characters to write. He’s such a nervous character. I pictured him full of cracks and could completely fix him from being pushed off that wall. While I was writing him, I was laughing cause it was so much fun. I tried to have him as the comic relief in some ways until you meet Mother Goose. She’s a character herself in the story.
Red and Blue have an intriguing relationship. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
The character development kind of just flowed from the little girl we all know from the storying Little Red Riding Hood to the character that is in the story. I wanted her to be different from the character that has been written for the character. She is either changing into a werewolf or an assassin with everything in between, I didn’t want to go in that direction. I wanted to keep the spirit of the original story intact but she still has to work through her childhood mistakes. Boy Blue, on the other hand, is completely different from Red Riding Hood. I was inspired by boy bands for his character. The total “freedom” of being a guy without any strings attached to no one until this girl with a story catches his eye without even seeing her face. His own character development goes from being a boy to man within a matter of days with choices that help him along the way.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a sequel to Red and Blue. I want to explore the next stage of their relationship which is marriage. It’s not going to be easy but I’m willing to try. I hope and pray that it’ll complete by next year or at least 2020.
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who wore a red cape. She kept her face hidden from the world around her. Her was Rosaline, but the villagers have forgotten her name. She is Little Red Riding Hood. Thirteen years have years have passed since Red Riding Hood was cut from the Big Bad Wolf’s belly. She is quiet and distant. The villagers believe that Red Riding Hood is marked by the wolf who swallowed her. Until a strange young man with a golden horn tied to his back finds her intriguing. The young man set off on a personal mission to see if the rumors are true.
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Black Ink Pearl the screen play was adapted from your award winning novel Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest. What were some challenges you encountered while adapting your novel?
Well, first I had to learn something about screenplay writing, so so different from a novel. Hadn’t a clue!! But was passionate about doing it so signed up at more than I could afford (worth it) for a course with Voyage Media. It was brilliant. Though this one wasn’t the script I got mentored on then (by marvelous and incredibly patient – I really was clueless to start – Kathleen McLaughlin) they must have taught me the craft well as have just – wait for it – heard that my ‘Black Ink Pearl’ script (subtly changed title from the book, nothing clever or deep, just to differentiate it) the Genre Winner for scifi/fantasy in the internationally acclaimed (whew!) Capital Fund Screen Play Contest 2017. Doesn’t mean it gets produced, but its certainly a step closer. It will now – this is the process for the winners – get put in front of producers (who normally, don’t I know it, ignore any sent-in scripts) in the leading companies worldwide, including China. Still looking for other producers to consider it, so let me know if you know of any. It’s a great read, honest, fantastic in both senses, great actin and characters. Anyway hold your thumbs.
Am just finishing a second, this time based on a Walter Scott novel. If adapting a novel the trick, I now know, and it’s a good one, enjoyable, is to leave out two thirds of the scenes of the original and rewrite, perhaps utterly change, most of the rest but at the same time still be inspired by that original story that first caught and moved you. Also always always always – so hard for a novelist – to show, never to tell; show through actions words, and not adverbs or attributed (by you ) inner emotions (if it’s written properly the emotion comes through in the dialogue and the acting, leave it to them). Have had such fun learning all this and seeing the characters of the novels I love through new eyes.
Also to use that funny layout (‘Final draft’ it’s called) that is apparently the ‘industry standard’. And not too many pages – 100 seems to be about right for a full-length feature film.
And don’t expect anyone to be prepared to read it, do it just for love and passion. All the same keep trying and (essential) get as much much feedback and as many times as you can (I had really great fdvice from WEScreenplay judges, not too expensive) and don’t even think of entering contests till you’ve got a high mark from one of them (I learned that the hard way
Have been encouraged since then to read somewhere that if you’re successful in one genre people may tell you to stick to that, but actually you’re likely to be successful in another, so – but only if you really WANT to – don’t’t be afraid to try it.
Wow – how did I get into all this from one simple question …
Film rights are held by Garn Press. Where are you in the process of turning this screenplay into a movie?
Holding our thumbs that we get a deal. We just just might …
If we do get an option, we’d divide the proceeds between us in our agreed proportion, while the (lesser) amount for the screenplay, in which I hold the copyright, would come to me. The good thing about an option for, say, 3-6 months, is that even if they decide ot to proceed with the movie we get to keep that money and once the option time expires can try elsewhere..
The big hope to find a producer with funding and enthusiasm to actually make the movie (or just possibly, a television series, but would be best for the big screen). Both I and the publishers (Director is wonderful Denny Taylor, by now a real friend) would both love to see our mystic fantastic story disseminatedto wider audiences, I think it would really really work as a movie and that is inspirational sybolism – not pushed at them – would get through: but we’d ONLY want it if as a high-concept movie, we’re not in it just for some trashy commercial fix however lucrative.
Let’s say you’ve got the movie deal and you have to pick some actors for your film.Which actress/actors do you think would be perfect fits for your characters?
Emilia Clarke (fabulous in ‘Game of Thrones’ – also filmed in Ireland as this one could and should be) ) as the lead, Kate. She;’s interested I hear
Daphne Alexander (now gathering a great reputation in London and Broadway) as Deirdre, Kate’s mother (or as Kate if Emilia couldn’t), sh’ed be brilliant, and warms to the novel, I know she’d be prepared to be involved.
Idris Elba as the hero Christy – he’s such an intelligent as well as talented actor/person, and shares my feeling for Africa.
Judi Dench (I was at school with her, so know her and her commitments, she just might be persuaded) as the Queen of Heaven.
Rawiri Paratene as (the complex and difficult) character of) God. He’s less well known up here than in his native New Zealand but I thought he was the real star as the grandfather/tribal chief in ‘Whale Rider’
Do you have any other plans for your novel Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest?
Absolutely: an audio book is on the way with a brilliant illustrator, also a colouring book around the novel’s key themes. It’s already had a spin-off in its prize-winning fairytale prequel, ‘Pearl of the seas’ (that will soon be an audio book too, with musical background), and there will now be a whole series, taking children, gradually, through aspects of the story from age nought upwards in a series of (probably) five children’s books, text by me, fabulous illustrations again by amazing silk artist Rachel Backshall.
All these just arrived, no deliberate planning by me. Enjoy it.
Bye for now everyone, get back with any comments or questions.
An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.
Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.
On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.
The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.
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Stage Door Comedies provides a cheeky glimpse into the quirky characters surrounding theater life. What has been your experience in the theater industry and how did that bring you to writing a collection of stories?
I trained as an actor in 1985 then undertook what would nowadays be called ‘an internship’ as an unpaid stage manager/lighting/sound operator on the London, England Fringe (professional Off-Off-West End). Fast-forward twenty years and I started writing plays. When I had an offer from two London Fringe theaters to premiere my first play Limehouse I knew I had broken into the business as a writer. That was my calling card.
The book is based in England and Paris, with each providing a unique backdrop that flavors the stories with each local’s unique atmosphere. Was there a reason why you chose these locations as the backdrops for your stories?
The story about my casting in Paris is true; I did approach theaters – including American outfits – for an English-speaking cast and did hit a brick wall. London is fortunate to have so many small-scale venues for new play tryouts and so many ‘pop-up’ comedy venues. I put Paris in Stage Door Comedies because my drama school Artistic Director studied there with Louis Jouvet at the Theatre des Champs Elysees. You could say it’s my school.
In this book you show us the underbelly of the theater industry and all the weird happenings and intricacies of the individuals who call the shots. Were there any characters that you especially enjoyed writing for?
Limehouse and A Suitable Lover are play-to-fiction adaptations of my first two plays which received offers of production on the London Fringe: others, I workshopped in rehearsal for conversational ‘say-ability’ (a comedic craft I honed in stand-up comedy). I directed and acted in Limehouse, an autobiographical twosome about quitting the theater, in a short run. It marked a return to a small-scale London venue. Would I direct again? No thank you, very much, at least, not for stage. In America you don’t have the British class system. What is success? Why do we pursue it? I guess as they say there is a bit of all the characters in the author of Stage Door Comedies.
What was it like to be an alternative comedy monologist at Steve Strange’s Cabaret Futura?
The 1980s was the era of the New Romantics and Karma Chameleon figure Boy George in the London clubs. At Cabaret Futura I did a one-person duologue playing both the comedian Jack Benny and his wife using two chairs back-to-back on the stage as props. I was also an MC at a comedy cellar near to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
I understand Stage Door Comedies is your first published book. Are you planning to continue writing? If so, when is the next book due out?
I have some more stories up my sleeve on the theme of the random nature of Fame – many are called but few are chosen. Why is one actor on the West End or Broadway while another is fated to ply their trade in a seedy, backstreet pub theatre? As Oscar winning actor Michael Caine said, it’s the years of rejection and humiliation they pay you for.
Author Links: Webpage
For the admirers of those entering the stage door, the attraction is in what they represent. In London’s Notting Hill, a BAFTA award winner is sick and tired of people using him as a stepping-stone or step-ladder to the the big time instead of putting in ‘the hard slog’. The hustlers find that talent is not enough – it is a serious game.
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