$1.25 Million for a First Novel

all-our-wrong-todaysHow is that possible? Well, it’s possible, but not easy. You’d need connections, experience, and/or proof of concept. The money is just an advance on sales, based on what they think the book may do. They may lose part of it, or they may win big. The publisher is the biggest in the United States, so they are willing and able to take the risk. After all, the author is a screenwriter with a hit under his belt…and so movie possibilities are a “shoe-in.” Since we live in an age of video and movies, with fewer people reading, it makes sense to have as much potential as possible. In fact, Paramount has already bought film rights, and he is writing the screenplay. He also narrates his book, with experience in radio in the past at a university station. If you’d like to support literacy (animals is my other charity) see the About page at this blog, and contribute a short video of you reading by sending me the link to your video. The cover of ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS reminded me of the Leonardo diCaprio movie Inception. The novel on audio can be ordered at TowerReview.com.

There’s no such thing as the life you’re “supposed” to have… You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s world, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary. Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our world, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. It’s an intriguing plot with pathos, anecdotes about love and happiness, science, and the possibility of eight new novels by Kurt Vonnegut. Elan Mastai is a screenwriter who co-wrote the movie FURY, starring Samuel L. Jackson. He also wrote THE F WORD, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.    
Jonathan Lowe) What is your experience related to narration or public speaking, and how was the recording process? 
Elan Mastai) I used to host a radio show back in university, so I’m fairly comfortable sitting in a soundproof booth talking into a microphone for hours at a time. Hopefully that background served me well when recording the audio book.
JL) Regarding the physics of your alternate reality, I’ve heard it postulated that other parallel worlds may have physics different than ours. Is that part of what gave you the idea? Cat’s Cradle defied physics too. 
EM) In terms of the physics of alternate realities, a subject handled with great verve and imagination in Neal Stephenson’s novel ANATHEM, I chose to focus primarily on how technological innovation altered the history and society of my parallel world. But of course I also opened the door to potential discrepancies, like a form of radiation that was discovered in the alternate world that we don’t have here, what I call “tau radiation”—so the suggests differences do exist.
JL) Writing a novel requires a different skill set than screenplays. Have you written fiction before, like short stories? 

EM) You’re absolutely correct that writing a novel requires a different skill set than a screenplay. Screenplays, as you know, are written in the third person present tense, in a visually expressive but lean and laconic style. Of course a terrific novel can be written in that way too, but I chose to write All Our Wrong Todays in the first person, as a kind of faux memoir, because I wanted the protagonist’s point of view to explicitly frame the way the story was told. Drawing off my experience writing dialogue for actors, I wrote the novel in a deliberately casual tone, which was a big help when narrating the audio book. I haven’t published any short stories, All Our Wrong Todays is both my first novel and my first foray into literary fiction. But I’ve been writing movies for over a decade and, although a very different form, that experience greatly informed my novel-writing.

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