Friday, March 11, 2011

The Circle Cast Giveaway!

We welcome today author Alex Epstein to YA Fresh today, to talk about his novel, The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, a signed copy of which will go to one lucky commenter!

Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Alex: I'm a screenwriter, so my first book was about screenwriting. I sold CRAFTY SCREENWRITING: WRITING MOVIES THAT GET MADE in 2001, based on a proposal and a first chapter. It was based on my screenwriting website. (It has since become a blog, COMPLICATIONS ENSUE.) I sold my novel, ironically, because I was looking for the movie rights to another novel, and I got to talking with the publisher, Tradewind. My first sale of any kind of writing? Hard to say. I've been pitching ideas and scripts for decades. I got my first movie credit in 1995, but that was a script I rewrote, so it wasn't a "sale." I optioned a TV show in 2001; that became NAKED JOSH, and ran for three seasons. It's just a question of writing a lot, and various different kinds of things, and relentlessly getting it out there by any means necessary. Sometimes going to the right party is as much a part of working as sitting down and banging out pages.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Alex: It's extremely random. I'm not one of those guys who gets up at 4 am and writes until it's time to get the kids off to school. In the past week I took a train to Quebec City to watch a cut of a movie that needed additional scenes written; went to a pitching event where I pitched my projects to 20 producers; went to various meetings; and wrote a bunch. Sometimes writing is sitting with my wife, Lisa, and coming up with ideas, or beating up on ideas we already have. Sometimes it's sitting down to write pages. Sometimes it's pitching my novel to reviewers. Writing pages could be in the morning or at night, whenever I can get to it and whenever pages need to be written. I like writing pages a lot, but you have to do the other stuff to get there, both creatively and financially.

Please tell us about your novel, The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, and what we can expect from your characters.

Alex: I've always been fascinated by Morgan le Fay. When we first meet her, her father's being murdered so the future King Arthur's father can sleep with her mother. Then she's sent into exile. Then she returns, the most powerful sorceress of her generation. How did that happen? That's what the book is about -- the childhood of a very angry girl with a tremendous talent for magic that she begins to control. I tried to make the magic as "real" as possible -- no waving of wands and saying things backwards in Latin. Magic has a cost and a risk. And I tried to make the world as real as possible -- Morgan is born in Britain only a generation or two after the legions abandoned the island of Britain to the barbarians. It's a very different world from ours. Yet Morgan is a very relatable girl. She's not looking to rely on anybody. She's making her own destiny.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Alex: Next up I'm rewriting a comedy feature film script of mine that I hope to direct. We have Jessica Paré (MAD MEN) attached. It's called KIKI WILDER, and it's about a 28-year-old Montreal girl who just found out that "party girl" is not a career.

Sounds great! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Alex: Always outline. Without an outline, you're writing a 100,000 word novel. With an outline, you're writing one scene at a time. Which is easier?

Thanks, Alex! And I want to be sure to give our readers a link to your blog.

And now for our readers who would like be entered to win a signed copy of The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, please leave a comment telling us a magic talent that you'd like to have!

Check back on Monday to see the winner's name.

7 fresh comments:

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Thank you for sharing with us, Alex!!

Essex Library YA Services: said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reading mind said...

Ohh, sounds great! Okay, I might not be very creative but I'd lik to be able to move things with my thought/hands. Telekinesis. I would feel better having it while walking alone in the streets...

vvb32 reads said...

The book sounds so interesting. As I've been watching the Merlin TV series I'm getting one version of Morgana. This books would provide another interesting angle.

OK as for magical talent, the ability to be invisible would be cool.

vvb32 at

Llehn said...

The book sounds like fun!


Janie Emaus said...

Thanks for the great interview and the insight into your writing life.

LindsayWrites said...

hey! new GFC follower from YA book bloggers! i'd like the magical ability to make my bf propose!

follow me?!