A few days late due to internet issues, this weeks interview is with Lee Chambers, author of The Pineville Heist, a novel written from a screenplay. Please enjoy!
I noticed that this was originally a screenplay; what made you decide to turn it in to a novel?
I love the story and because it takes a lot of time and money to get an independent film made I decided to share the story in book form first. The general public doesn't read screenplays. It's just a blueprint to build a film and most of the emotional and descriptive stuff isn't included. Drafting the screenplay into a novel allowed me to explore the setting and characters in more detail. Also, it becomes a nice companion piece when we start making the film. It will give actors more insight into what the heart of each character is all about.
What is difficult making it in to a novel, or was it easier since you already had the story there on paper?
While I developed the core story and characters on my own, I drafted the script with my writing partner Todd Gordon. We invested tons of time into crafted a solid story. From there I took on the book version myself, but followed the screenplay very closely. It took a while to switch gears to a different style of writing. I get some criticism from some, but my conversational style really hits home with the young adult audiences I write for.
Has the screenplay made its way, or in the process to getting on film?
Again, moviemaking is a long haul process. While I have directed tons of shorts with great success, I am now asking investors to trust me with millions of dollars to make the feature. It takes time to make connections and build this up. If all goes well it will be shooting in the summer of 2012.
If you could cast anyone you wanted for any of the characters, who would be your cast?
That's a heavy question. Of course I have a wish list but I think it would be premature to state publicly. I do like Booboo Stewart from the Twilight saga for the lead and met him recently in LA. But so many factors are at play. Financing, schedules and then...we are months and months away from rolling film... We will have to wait and see who ends up playing the rolls. It was cool to see some Pineville Heist book fans making dream cast YouTube videos. My readers are passionate. I met with a casting director recently and she was impressed with the proposed cast (by the way I never encouraged or asked anyone to post the videos... As fans, they just did).
What inspired this story?
The 17 year old star of The Pineville Heist hides under a canoe and catches a murder and then makes away with a bag of bank money. When I was a kid I remember playing hide and seek and being under a canoe. I could only see feet and hear voices... One of key turning points in the book springs from that real experience. After that... It's all creative writing.
Are there any characters based on someone in real life?
Not really... But the character traits, from strengths to faults, exist in all of us. Readers look for ways to connect to the characters and I think that's what really drives the action and the story. Not just my book, but any book.
How different is writing a screen play compared to a conventional novel?
Its like night and day. Screenplays have a structure and rules that don't exist in novels. For example, you can't feature anything in a screenplay that we can't see or hear. That means you can't express characters thoughts.
Is there anything in particular that inspires you? What is your creative process?
My problem is I have too many creative ideas! Lol Everything inspires me. I travel a lot and see stories in locations, situations and people. I have never lost that child-like ability to play and create.
How about yourself, what can you tell us about yourself?
I teach filmmaking at a College in Canada, but used to live in England an Los Angeles. I love working with young talent and listen to hundreds and hundreds of story ideas for short films each year. There are always a few gems. Hmmm, what else? Oh, I just spent two months in Australia directing two short films and enjoying the countryside at the family vineyard south of Perth. Loved it!
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have more screenplays on the go and will probably novelize them too. I really enjoyed the process. I like sharing and entertaining and for anyone that gives The Pineville Heist a go I hope you enjoy it too... Either way let me know!
Like most of my interviews, Lee has offered a copy for giveaway. The Pineville Heist is also for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook and Waterstones!