Monday, January 28, 2013

Author Interview: D.A. Serra, Author of Primal

I am happy to welcome D.A. Serra, author of the thriller Primal, which I will review tomorrow.

When did you first start writing, and when did you finish your first book?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I remember writing my first poem in the backseat of a car when I was eight years old (it was about the Statue of Liberty). I became serious about supporting myself full-time as a writer in my early twenties, and so I moved to Los Angeles because I knew the work was there; I began writing for TV & film. I only turned to books a couple of years ago. Primal is my first thriller. I have two other novels in various stages – different genres – very different stories.

Do you have a day job as well?

I have been one of the very fortunate making a good living as a writer for over twenty years.

Is there any particular author or book that strongly influenced you either growing up or as an adult?

Growing up – the first book I vividly remember reading was Charlotte’s Web. I remember hiding under the bed sheets so my older sister wouldn’t see me weeping uncontrollably over a spider. I also read all of the Nancy Drew series. I liked that she was proactive and rebellious.

As an adult, I have different authors as models for different kinds of writing: one for essays, one for history, several for science, another for fiction, etc. All of them way beyond me in talent and yield.

Charlotte's Web is one of the first books I loved too.

Favorite novel?

A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens’ achievement is unparalleled to me: in perspective, in empathy, in language, in history, in characterization – he cannot be touched.

I love the way you described that! I read A Tale of Two Cities in my very early teens -- I'm due to re-read it soon. :-) 

Favorite movie?

My favorite movie this year is Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it was fresh, well-written, and beautifully performed. I will be voting for it.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

In Primal I loved writing Mother Burne’s birthday scene. When you have designed evil characters with absolutely no restrictions as to what they might say or do – well – that’s a blast for the imagination. 

I love the highlighted line. That is priceless! :-)

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticisms always comes from me to me. I beat myself up the most when I find clichés hiding in the dialogue. If using clichés is a trait of a particular character, of course, that’s fine, but when I find one I did not specifically intend then I’m really disgusted.

The best compliment is when someone points out a specific image or metaphor that made them feel something, or remember something vividly. I really focus a lot on the language, it matters a great deal to me.

If this novel were adapted to film, who would you want to direct the movie?

Kathryn Bigelow

Who would you choose to play the roles of your main characters?

I don’t think I could cast Primal. I have never been able to do this. By the time I’ve finished a story I know the characters so well I can’t generally put actors in their place. Countless times I’ve been in studio meetings where actors are suggested for roles I’ve written and it never feels right to me. Feels like they are trying to jam someone else’s head on top of my perfectly formed character. Sometimes I have been heartbroken by an actor who has been chosen, and other times I thought someone was right and they weren’t. I remember when they cast Beau Bridges in a television movie I wrote titled Man With 3 Wives and I thought he was completely wrong. Turned out I was wrong. He played it just right. I’ve learned casting should be left to the professionals. As a writer I’m too close.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

What poet do you most admire? Dylan Thomas.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I am looking forward to reading your review.


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