Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vanessa Morgan - A Good Man - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
A Good Man is about a vampire who tries to do good around him - he's a vegetarian, feeds the homeless, takes care of animals and is concerned with the ecological future of the planet. He really is a good man, but in the meantime he's forced to feed on the blood of humans, otherwise he'll live eternally as a plant. The story explores the difference between good and evil, but in a very human way. The vampire is surprisingly human in nature and in his way of behaving and thinking. The secondary characters all seem to be good, honest people as well - just like you and me - but sometimes they hurt someone, not because they're bad people, but because they don't know any better.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A Good Man makes the reader wonder about his or her own behavior and interactions with people. We all have good motivations to behave the way we do, that's why we rarely see ourselves as bad people even though the results of our behavior are negative.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
I love using real people for my books, but for A Good Man I abused this and so the book is populated for 99% with people I know. The main character, Louis Caron, was obviously based on Pierre Lekeux, the actor who is going to play the part. I observed him in real life and in his interactions with women and it really helped me in creating an original vampire character. I particularly loved the idea of an old vampire who suffers from arthritis and who is so insecure about his wrinkled face that he seduces ugly women as a means to feel better about himself. The hypochandriac vampire Madame Renaud, the whining Matthias, the vampire group therapist Fred and Louis' best friend Vincent were also loosely based on existing people.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
The movie adaptation of A Good Man is currently in pre-production, so it's still possible to improve the story before we start filming. I'm happy with A Good Man the way it is though.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the first draft is always easy; it’s the rewriting phase that is the most difficult, because rewriting is all about improving myself and finding better ideas than the ones I initially had. Having a clear vision of what you want your story to become is important while doing this. So is listening to the advice of others in your field as long as you stay true to your own voice. Everyone was quite wild about the first draft I wrote of A Good Man, but although it was fresh and original, it missed some character development and the second half of the story wasn't really going anywhere. I said I wanted to cut the second half and put the mid-point scene as the second turning point near the end (for those who have read A Good Man, I'm talking about the important Emma scene). My producer argued though that I should keep the same structure and transform the second part into a revenge story. I didn't think it was the right thing to do with the characters and the story because it really felt out of character for the people I created, but I tried anyway. Three drafts later, the screenplay had become slow-moving, overly long and not very logical. Everyone said that the first part of A Good Man was brilliant; it was the second half that focused on the revenge story that had a million problems. It's true that the first draft had developed nicely; it stayed the same in terms of structure and story, but I added some really interesting character development that added a lot of originality and depth to the story. But once I came to the mid-point, I had no idea what to do with the story apart from the final two scenes. I then decided to not listen to my producer anymore and to just follow my intuition with A Good Man. I went against all advice and cut the second half of the screenplay, put the mid-point near the end and added a few scenes to have a good transition between all the parts. Just by cutting the second part and changing the structure, I changed A Good Man from the revenge story with lots of murders that my producers wanted into a touching character piece about why we sometimes end up ruining our own lives and that of others without really wanting to. I send the new draft to my producer and a day later he wrote to me: "Brilliant structure and story. Very surprising and very touching." We were finally ready to move forward with the production.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I'm actually a lot like the characters in A Good Man. I always thought of myself as a sweet girl, but once in a while it happens that I hurt people or that I lie. I just never saw myself as a bad person because I always had very good reasons for my behavior.

As for the writing, every new story makes you grow as an author, especially if you take the rewriting phase seriously. A Good Man in particular was helpful, because I wrote it for a production company and they gave advice and constructive criticism along the way... And I learned how important it is to trust my instincts.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Yes, when I saw As I Lay Dying on stage in London when I was in my early twenties. While I was watching it, I knew that I wanted to be able to write something as brilliant as what Faulkner had written. It took me several years though before gaining some confidence and actually acting upon that desire. I think I must have been 23 or 24 when I actually started to write. I have always loved movies and books, but it took me a while before I realized I was able to make them myself.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Daph Nobody - a good friend and without a doubt the most original voice in French horror literature. He has written two novels, Blood Bar and L'enfant nucléaire. He is also the screenwriter of the movie A Broken Life with Tom Sizemore.

9. Tell us your latest news.
A Good Man is now in pre-production and ready to be turned into a French feature film. Director, actors and part of the crew are already attached to the project and the production is finalizing the funding phase. It will be shot later this year and I will keep everyone up to date by posting behind-the-scenes pictures on my blog. Apart from the film adaptation of A Good Man, I'm currently working on seven different projects, both movies and books, and I'm lucky to be able to collaborate with some of the most talented directors and artists in Europe. Another project is a book based on the web comic about my cat (avalon-lion.blogspot.com).

About the Book

Do you like Dexter and American Psycho? Then chances are you will love A Good Man.

Louis Caron is a good man – he's a vegetarian, feeds homeless people, takes care of animals and is converned with the ecological well-being of the planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge – he's a vampire and local detective Taglioni becomes increasingly suspicious of him. Louis' attempt to escape the police will take him on a journey into his own private hell where he is not only forced to confront his worst fears, but where he will also destroy the lives of those he cares about.

Format: eBook
Price: $0.99-$4.99
Release Date: April 2012
Buy Links: Amazon US,  Amazon UKSmashwords 

About the Author

Screenwriter and novelist Vanessa Morgan is known as the 'female version of Stephen King.' You can find out more about Vanessa Morgan and her work by going to her personal blog. If you like cats, you might also like the web comic about her cat Avalon.

Links to connect with Vanessa:
Avalon the cat blog

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