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  • Melissa Albert 7:05 pm on 2017/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: adaptive studios, andrew lane, , , ,   

    Taking the Back Road to Writing: An Interview with Andrew Lane 

    Yesterday Andrew Lane’s Day of Ice hit the shelves, a a fast-paced follow-up to Dawn of Spies. The series is an update on Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe that finds the titular hero reimagined as a 17-year-old, recently escaped from the island he was marooned on. He’s recruited by undercover London spy organization Segment W, and is soon ascending the undercover ranks alongside a genderbent Friday. When Friday spies her dastardly father, who once made an attempt on her life, walking through the city, she and Crusoe set off to uncover his part in the nefarious workings of a secret society.

    The book was written in partnership with Adaptive Studios, which develops books based on unproduced screenplays—which they in turn hope to see adapted into films. Here’s author Lane to discuss writing, revising, and his working relationship with Adaptive Studios.

    What’s your writing background?

    I’d always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a small child. I used to tell my brother stories to get him off to sleep at night, and I used to make up stories continuing on films that I’d seen on TV. Later I wrote a whole load of fan stories based on the British TV series Doctor Who for various fanzines. At the time, in British further education, I couldn’t do a graduate degree in creative writing, so I did physics instead (odd choice, I know, but…). After university I got a full-time job working as a scientist for the British Ministry of Defence, but when Virgin Books in the UK got the license to do original Doctor Who novels I jumped at the chance. Virgin liked what I submitted, and so I started working with them. I then used that opportunity to broaden my writing career into other areas, and three years ago I went freelance as a full-time writer. It’s a pretty unique way of getting into writing, and I wouldn’t recommend that anybody tries to replicate it…

    How did your relationship with Adaptive begin?

    Very simply, Adaptive read my Young Sherlock Holmes novels and decided I would be ideal for writing the Crusoe series, which they already had in mind. I think it was because of my experience in writing historical thrillers for the YA market, and not my winning personality. They approached me through my agent, I did a little bit of work for free, generating some ideas they liked based on their original proposal, and we came to an agreement about me writing a trilogy for them.

    What’s your process like, and how long did it take you to write the manuscript?

    I tend to start work late in the afternoon (I’m an evening person) and write in one-hour bursts, with a break for a cup of tea and some Facebook time in between. I stop sometime before midnight and then catch up on any TV or DVDs that are on my list to watch. Doing that, the whole book took about four months to write.

    What did you read or watch to get inspired to take on this project?

    I did a lot of research on the actual facts. I downloaded a lot of stuff Daniel Defoe had written onto my ereader, then bought various books from my local bookshops on what life was like in the court of King Charles II, what people ate and the way they lived in the late 1600s, what ships were like and, specifically, what coffee houses were like in that period, as that’s where people got together and discussed things.

    What was your familiarity with Robinson Crusoe before you took on the project?

    Tragically, and rather embarrassingly, I’d never read the Defoe original (having looked at it now, it and its sequels are rather stodgy). My main familiarity with the story was a European TV series that was shown, dubbed, on UK TV back in the late 1960s. It had the most haunting theme tune—I can still remember it now.

    Books published by Adaptive will ultimately be turned into TV series or movies. Did that affect the way you approached the project?

    I tried not to let it affect me—I just wanted to tell a really good, thrilling story with interesting characters. Having said that, I did try not to put in stuff that couldn’t be filmed. Of course, these days almost anything can be filmed, using computer graphics.

    What was the revision process like?

    Very simple. I try my best to deliver a manuscript that needs as little revision as possible—it’s polite, if nothing else—and I think the majority of Adaptive’s editorial comments were to do with the potential film or TV version: making sure the narrative line was clear, the characters had an obvious arc, and so on. Oh, and there was the standard “taking it out of the British passive voice and replacing it with American active voice,” so, saying “Crusoe entered the room just as the chair exploded” rather than “Crusoe was entering the room when the chair exploded.” That’s an example I’ve just invented, by the way. There are no exploding chairs in the books. Not yet, anyway…

    How did writing for Adaptive differ from working on your other novels or projects?

    Honestly, it was exactly the same. There’s some initial group discussion on things like characters, locations, and themes, then I go away for a while and work alone, then there are some more group discussions on how close I got to the bullseye. Probably more phone conferences and fewer long emails, but the principle was the same.

    If you had to write a logline for your life thus far, how would it go?

    “He thought his life was going to be simple and straightforward. He was wrong.”

    Day of Ice and Dawn of Spies are on sale now.

    The post Taking the Back Road to Writing: An Interview with Andrew Lane appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 9:30 pm on 2017/02/02 Permalink
    Tags: adaptive studios, ,   

    A Conversation with Coin Heist Author Elisa Ludwig and Director Emily Hagins 

    Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist centers on four students who have a wild plan to save their school from being shut down in the wake of an embezzling headmaster: rob the U.S. Mint. Though each hails from a wildly different social strata, the quartet finds themselves working together after a school trip to the Mint reveals a security lapse too good not to exploit.

    The book was written in partnership with Adaptive Studios, which develops books based on unproduced screenplays–which they then hope to see adapted into films in turn. Coin Heist is now a Netflix original movie; author Ludwig and the film’s screenwriter and director, Emily Hagins, recently sat down to discuss the adaptation process, creating the perfect heist, and the importance of prom.

    Elisa Ludwig: When I imagined you adapting [the book], I was thinking: did you read through and sort of think through the formal limitations of film? Like oh, this scene which is all internal monologue and won’t work and how do I dramatize it?

    Emily Hagins: Having the internal process so clear for each character was super helpful, because there’s always this surface level, but what you’re saying and what you’re thinking is behind that. You don’t always have the luxury with a screenplay of knowing what every main character is thinking.
    I told [the actors] that I want them to always believe in what they were saying, so if I wrote something that wasn’t how they talked to always speak up about that. And they did. I liked having that dialogue with them a lot because our youngest actor was 17. From day one she was saying things I had never heard of, and I was like “I am not that old! I do not know this slang! What is this?” So we had to tone that down.

    Ludwig: There’s such a believability and a palpability about those characters that was so strong in the movie that I was like “oh!” It was kind of uncanny to see because the actors did such a good job, and you did such a good job in coaxing those performances from them.

    Hagins: Yay! They had great chemistry, they hung out outside of filming, they really enjoyed one another’s company and trusted one another. When they had that trust, it really lent to them improving one another’s performances. They were all strong to start with, but it was interesting watching from our initial cast read to the end of filming.

    Ludwig: I can imagine. I think, in talking about writing, filming is a little bit like the process of writing a book. I know a lot of authors that write books with their chapters out of order, but I actually really like to write chronologically. And one of the reasons why is because hopefully your characters are going through some kind of character arc through the course of the story, they’re growing and developing and learning, and I think if I’m writing it in that order, I can feel that growing process and be with them through that. Once I had a good outline in place that was very detailed, I really tackled it chapter by chapter.

    Hagins: Yeah, I can’t write a screenplay out of order either, but like when you’re filming, the schedule gets put in an order based on time and money and everything, so it’s like a different switch in your brain from writing to directing and still trying to find the emotional place with the actors on set.

    Ludwig: Did you listen to music when you were writing? Because I don’t usually. Some books I’m working on, if they have a really, really specific ambience I might make a playlist. This book, I felt like I had so many things I needed to juggle: my point of view and the heist dynamic and I felt like music would have really thrown me off. Although, I definitely remember hearing echoes of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” as I was writing the final sculpture scene because it’s something of an homage to The Breakfast Club, and that song is so iconic.

    Hagins: I listened to a lot of that dreamy modern music with an ’80s feel to it. I was trying to kind of live in that John Hughes world in some ways without being way too homage-y. Something like dreamy and synth-y but not too over the top with the ’80s. I mean, I don’t mind: to me there’s no such thing as over the top with the ’80s. Valley Girl, everything I do in my life is to try and make Valley Girl. It’s like the best thing ever. Like Dakota doing her makeup before the prom, I was just showing them clips of Valley Girl like “Do this, please!”

    I loved the idea that it was their prom. Because right before we started filming there was that huge snowstorm in New York that shut down the city. [The producers] were like “if there’s that much snow it wouldn’t be prom and it’s going to mess up the timeline of the movie.” There was all this concern over the timeline of the movie, and at the last second we changed it to the winter formal. Dakota’s really obsessed with the winter formal, but in the book it’s PROM, it’s prom! Of course it did not snow even a little bit the whole time we were filming! Maybe a little patch of snow somewhere. But I was so mad we did the whole rewrite on that script.

    What was the hardest scene to write?

    Ludwig: I think that the heist scene was very challenging, and I definitely had to rewrite it a bunch of times to get the technical aspects right, and for them to be able to pull it off. You probably found this as well, but dramatizing things that happened on computers is difficult.

    Hagins: It’s very hard, yeah.

    Ludwig: It was very challenging, and it’s probably much easier in a book than in a film, running between the prom and the heist setting was challenging. Just knowing that that kind of had to be the climax of the book. It really had to have a lot of energy; it had to be really exciting to read. The book is called Coin Heist, the heist has to deliver. I think another sort of big challenge writing the book in general was, with four different points of view, really giving them equal weight and keeping their motivations driving, and keeping them distinct and feeling like their own characters. How about for you? What was the most difficult to film?

    Hagins: Definitely the heist. It got rewritten to different locations, there was a rewrite right before filming to the location that we ended up using. And a few days before we started production, I was so tired that I fell asleep at the computer and then we did our cast read-through and I didn’t remember what happened in the heist. I hoped I didn’t write my dream that I had while I fell asleep at the computer. But, you know, it turned out fine. I did a lot of research. I joined some coin collecting forums and just read a lot. And you and I had both gone to the Mint, and I think that was really helpful in figuring out exactly what the stuff looks like.

    Ludwig: Yeah, if you didn’t see it, if you just read about it, I think that would be hard to re-create, because it really does look like it in the film, like I’m amazed at how you were able to recreate that look of the Mint.

    Hagins: It was this fine line of keeping everything realistic enough to where we know how to make coins basically, but also we didn’t want go over people’s heads with some of the terminology. Could four teenagers break into the Mint? I hope not.

    I think that as far as the character stuff goes, I have to give enough for the actors to interpret for their performances. But some writers aren’t like that. Some screenwriters want the actors to stay exactly on script, but I just think the way that teenagers talk is so interesting and different from the way adults talk, and I do everything to embrace that awkwardness as a filmmaker. I feel like as a teenager you’re learning so much about the consequences of your actions, and you have your own little teen high school world, and then you have the real world that you get glimpses of. I like movies that explore when kids are learning.

    Ludwig: Yeah, and your world as a teenager is so small, I mean certainly for these kids this school is their world, and you know, it’s small. I think one thing they hopefully come away with is that they don’t really need this small world. They feel so attached to it and connected to it, but it’s not really school that gives them their identity or gives them the sense of who they are. But yeah, this book throws them into the big world, I guess you could say, and crime.

    Coin Heist is available now at Barnes & Noble—and don’t miss the film adaptation on Netflix!

    The post A Conversation with Coin Heist Author Elisa Ludwig and Director Emily Hagins appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 4:30 pm on 2016/10/20 Permalink
    Tags: adaptive studios, , book trailers, , trish cook,   

    Watch the Exclusive Trailer for Trish Cook’s Outward Blonde 

    Outward Blonde

    In Trish Cook’s fish-out-of-water YA comedy Outward Blonde,  16-year-old Manhattan It Girl Lizzie Finkelstein is about to get a very rude awakening. When her latest disastrous, liquor-inspired exploits result in not just an arrest but a viral video of which she is the star, her parents ship her off to dry out and learn a lesson at wilderness survival program Camp Smiley.

    Thrown in with troubled kids she’s sure she doesn’t belong with (aside from cute fellow camper Jack, of course…), Lizzie has to conquer wilderness tasks ranging from the kinda gross (surviving on way too many baked beans) to the difficult (making a fire with two sticks) to the downright miserable (digging your own toilet?!).

    The book’s fittingly hilarious trailer features a series of idyllic vignettes (“Outdoor Brunch,” “Private Showers,” “Beauty Sleep”) that quickly devolve into an urban socialite’s worst nightmare. Will Lizzie survive life in the wilderness? Check out Outward Blonde, available exclusively at Barnes & Noble, to find out!

    Outward Blonde is available now, exclusively at B&N!

    The post Watch the Exclusive Trailer for Trish Cook’s Outward Blonde appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 7:25 pm on 2016/09/28 Permalink
    Tags: adaptive studios, bryce moore, , , ,   

    Powering Your Writing Through Discovery: An Interview with Bryce Moore 

    For better or for worse, our memories shape who are. So imagine having the power to steal them from other people—from the memories they cherish, to those they deeply regret. This is the magical premise behind author Bryce Moore’s newest novel for young readers, The Memory Thief, brought to you by Adaptive Studios and available exclusively at Barnes & Noble. We spoke to Moore about his inspiration, his process, and what it was like working with Adaptive Studios.

    What’s your writing background?

    I started writing in second grade, but I didn’t get very serious about it until 2001, when I took a creative writing class at BYU from Dave Wolverton, followed by one on writing for children and young adults by Louise Plummer. I’ve been writing ever since. When I was at BYU, I became friends with Brandon Sanderson, whose Elantris had just been sold. I was in a writing group with him for five years, and I learned a lot about work ethic and attention to detail there. I’ve finished 15 novels so far, though The Memory Thief is only the second to be professionally published. (Vodník came out in 2012.) These days, I write every day, often over lunch or right when I get home from work. Almost all of my books are YA or Middle Grade fantasy or science fiction.

    How did Adaptive find you?

    I originally sold The Memory Thief to Egmont, a publishing house in New York. They were shuttered by their parent company, and when that happened, my book was once again without a home. Thankfully my editor, Jordan Hamessley, ended up at Adaptive, and she was able to make another offer on the book—one I happily accepted.

    How long did it take you to write the manuscript?

    The first draft went really quickly. I think I was done writing it in under two months. But there’s a lot more to writing a book than just writing that first draft. I don’t plot extensively before I write (generally), but with a book like The Memory Thief, you still need to figure out the basics, like how the magic system will work and what the main conflict of the story is. So there’s time ahead of that first draft, and then of course all the revisions that happen afterward.

    What did you read or watch to get inspired to take on this project?

    That’s a great question. I watch a lot of movies and television, which inevitably influences my writing. A lot of times once I know what kind of book I’m going to be writing next I’ll take some time to watch a bunch of movies similar to it. For The Memory Thief, I watched Disney horror movies from my youth: Something Wicked This Way Comes and Watcher in the Woods. The magic system itself was partly inspired by the TV series Pushing Daisies, which I loved (and which was taken from us far too soon). Not that this book is about people coming back from the dead if they get touched, but rather that something simple (in this case, making eye contact with a person) can give a magic user a toehold to do just about anything they want with a person’s memories.

    Books published by Adaptive will ultimately be turned into TV series or movies. Did that affect the way you approached the project?

    It didn’t affect me when I was writing the first draft because, as I said, the book was written before it found a home at Adaptive. Once it was with Adaptive, I’d say it definitely influenced the revision process. I generally write with a fairly visual style (probably due to how many movies I watch), but Adaptive encouraged me to push that even further, making some internal conflicts have corresponding external signifiers.

    What was the revision process like?

    Lots of it. I’m big on revising, and I usually do at least three or four drafts before I even send the book out to my agents. Then we bounce the drafts back and forth a few more times before we submit them to editors. With Jordan, I think I did three more revisions, and a lot of those still involved major changes. The climax was totally reworked, for example, and some plot elements that play a big role throughout the book didn’t come into existence until late in the revision process. A lot of the energy for my writing comes through the discovery process. I write to find out what happens next. Having big changes in revisions helps me to keep that energy going.

    How did writing for Adaptive differ from working on your other novels or projects?

    They were great to work with. The whole creative team gets involved and gives input, which I really valued. I’m always envious of filmmakers, who can have such a collaborative process. Actors, directors, composers—all of them bring something to the table and can help refine a story and perfect it. And then of course with The Memory Thief, Adaptive made a book trailer. I loved being able to see the finished product.

    If you had to write a logline for your life thus far, how would it go?

    A librarian geek moves to rural Maine with his family. Adventure and hilarity ensue.

    The post Powering Your Writing Through Discovery: An Interview with Bryce Moore appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 8:00 pm on 2016/09/20 Permalink
    Tags: adaptive studios, , ,   

    Watch the Exclusive Book Trailer for Bryce Moore’s The Memory Thief 

    The Memory Thief

    For better or for worse, our memories shape who are. So imagine having the power to steal them from other people—from the memories they cherish, to those they deeply regret. This is the magical premise behind author Bryce Moore’s newest novel for young readers, The Memory Thief, brought to you by Adaptive Studios and available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.

    When Benji runs into a group of bullies at a county fair, he ducks into a tent called The Memory Emporium and meets Louis, a strange man with the power to take memories from others. Benji’s parents have been arguing, and he immediately imagines how taking some of their memories could keep them from fighting with each other, and convinces Louis to teach him this intriguing skill. But as he learns more about the art of being a “memory thief,” Benji realizes it is an ability that brings with it powerful—and sometimes damaging—consequences. And soon after meeting fellow memory thief Genevieve, who uses her abilities for evil, Benji finds himself pitted against her in a desperate struggle to protect the memories of everyone in town—including his little sister, Kelly.

    Check out The Memory Thiefs eerily atmospheric book trailer for a colorful glimpse into Moore’s haunting story.

    The Memory Thief is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post Watch the Exclusive Book Trailer for Bryce Moore’s The Memory Thief appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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