Thursday, May 19, 2022

Julian David Stone Interview - It's Alive!


Photo Content from Julian David Stone

Julian David Stone has always been a creative at heart. When he realized in the ’80s that being in a band wasn’t in his cards, he began smuggling his camera into concerts – adventures he later chronicled in his best-selling coffee table book No Cameras Allowed: My Career As An Outlaw Rock & Roll Photographer. He moved to Los Angeles in his 20s to study filmmaking and wrote screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony and MGM, as well as a full-length play (The Elvis Test) and several short-form documentaries on Frank Sinatra for Warner Bros. 

He is also the writer and director of the cult comedy feature film Follow the Bitch. His award-winning debut novel, The Strange Birth, Short Life, and Sudden Death of Justice Girl, centers on the world of ’50s live television and is currently being turned into a TV series. His latest work, the historical fiction novel It’s Alive!, is a vibrant portrait of 1930s Hollywood centered around the chaotic and exciting days just before the filming of the beloved classic film Frankenstein.
        
  

Greatest thing you learned in school. 
Don’t waste your time trying to be popular. The unpopular ones – the weird ones – are a lot more fun.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Seeing positive reviews come in from complete strangers. We all spend so much time writing in isolation. It’s so fulfilling when you see others enjoying your work.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer? 
My first involvement with storytelling came by way of being a filmmaker. Ironically, when I first broke into the film business I used to tell people in meetings that I was interested in everything but writing. When I realized that wasn’t going to work, I started writing screenplays. But, in all honesty, I never really fell in love with writing until I started writing novels. Which came well after I was a youth. The freedom to write anything you want – with no limit of budget or page count – is intoxicating and fulfilling.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
When I was starting out as a screenwriter there was a maxim that was repeated over and over – “write what you know.” I think this is just as important in writing novels. Write a subject that you have a connection to. Something that your life experience can bring a unique voice to.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
I am half-way through my next novel. It’s about the 1960s space race against the Russians to land the first man on the moon. The Apollo moon landing program is a big passion of mine and I am immensely enjoying writing a novel about it.

In your newest book; IT’S ALIVE!, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it. 
It’s Alive! is a thrilling and vibrant portrait of 1930s Hollywood centered around the chaotic and exciting days just before the filming of the beloved cult-classic film, Frankenstein. Woven with hopeful passion, emotional vulnerability, staunch determination, and creative fulfillment, readers will be swept along with breathless cinematic pace through events that will not only change the lives of everyone involved, but Hollywood itself.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope they enjoy reading about an exciting and fun time when the film business was in its infancy, and the artists who worked in Hollywood were still trying to figure out just exactly what audiences wanted. It was thrilling time as film as an art form was coming of age.

What part of Junior did you enjoy writing the most? 
His youth. It was fun being able to write a character who was only 23 years old, yet had immense power. Not every 23 year old is in charge of a major movie studio! And someone that young, particularly in the roaring twenties, was a risk taker and a gambler – the perfect recipe for a fun character to write.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing IT’S ALIVE!? 
My novel is historical fiction so my main character is a real person: Junior Laemmle. Though he was well-known for many years, after 1936, he faded into relative obscurity. Finding out about him was a real detective story and when I finally found an audio recording where I could hear his voice, it was incredible. It was literally only one word, but it was a revelation to me. It was when the character finally became completely alive.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I can’t think of a specific fictional character, but I think it would be very interesting to introduce Junior Laemmle to a modern studio head. I imagine they would have a lot in common, and lot not in common. When Junior was in charge, his studio was very much a family business. Those days are long gone with all of the studios now a small part of much, much larger corporations.

TEN FAVORITE READS EVER
  • 1. Fahrenheit 451
  • 2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier and Clay.
  • 3. Gods and Monsters
  • 4. A Man on the Moon
  • 5. The Boys of Summer
  • 6. What Makes Sammy Run
  • 7. Death of a Salesman
  • 8. The Martian Chronicles
  • 9. Tune In: The Beatles
  • 10. The Corrections
What was the best memory you ever had as a writer? 
The first time a complete stranger came up to me to tell me how much they liked something I had written.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Drive across the country - with no particular schedule. See where the day takes you, and leave time to explore the full breath of this enormous and diverse nation.

Best date you've ever had? 
New Year’s Eve 2003 at a Grateful Dead concert. It was the first time I ever kissed my now wife.

What is your happiest childhood memory? 
Going to baseball games with my father. He loved baseball, and he passed his passion for the game on to me.

Who has had the most influence in your life? 
My Mother and Father.

What were you doing at midnight last night? Watching a panel discussion on Albert Einstein as part of the World Science Symposium on Youtube.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I love doing research. It’s by far my favorite part of the writing process. I love diving into a subject and spending months – or longer - tearing into it before I start the actual writing. When I write Historical Fiction I like to say I am ready to write when I can “Wear an era”.


The only thing harder than raising the dead is making a movie about raising the dead.

In the summer of 1931, life was good for Junior Laemmle. Though only twenty-three years old, he was the head of all movie production for Universal Pictures, and under his reign, the studio flourished. So much so, he was about to be bestowed with the greatest honor a young executive can receive in Hollywood: a promotion to vice president of the entire company. What’s more, Carl Laemmle, his father and founder of the studio, was returning to California for the first time in years to personally present the honor to his son.

Or so Junior thought.

When his father arrives, Junior discovers that instead of being grateful for transforming and catapulting the out-of-date studio into the future, his father is obsessed with Junior’s next production: Frankenstein. Like the year before, Carl is fervently against making another grisly and gothic film, despite Dracula becoming a huge hit—a project which Junior fought for and personally oversaw through production. Also not helping Junior’s cause, though the film is just days away from beginning production, the final choice between Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff to play the role of the Monster, has yet to be made.

It’s Alive! is a thrilling and vibrant portrait of 1930s Hollywood centered around the chaotic and exciting days just before the filming of the beloved cult-classic film, Frankenstein. Woven with hopeful passion, emotional vulnerability, staunch determination, and creative fulfillment, readers will be swept along with breathless cinematic pace through events that will not only change the lives of everyone involved, but Hollywood itself.

You can purchase It's Alive! at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JULIAN DAVID STONE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of It's Alive! by Julian David Stone.

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1 comment:

  1. I like Christmas because I get to decorate the house and brighten up the neighborhood. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete