We are so very grateful to writer/producer Robert Forte for interviewing with us! He is who we are featuring in today's blog. His interview is awesome!
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: I’m a screenwriter. I sold two scripts and wrote 30 screenplays. One was a film noir called THE WOMAN IN THE YELLOW DRESS. My wife suggested writing a book so I took that particular script and began writing. I suddenly realized two things: I could write a novel and this particular story needed to be longer. The response to the first book prompted me to write MAGENTA DAIRY and WAR OF GHOSTS which completed the trilogy.
2. Can you tell me about the book?
Answer: I loved watching old Humphrey Bogart movies but I didn’t want to rewrite THE MALTESE FALCON. I wanted my readers to get a good story but I wanted it based in some reality because the decisions made back in 1948, especially in the drug world, gave us the world we live in today and that is what THE WOMAN IN THE YELLOW DRESS is all about. Rachel Stone Barbieri comes to the private eye, Patrick Miles Atwater and hires him to find out if her husband is being unfaithful. Patrick senses he is being set up but take the job because he wants to get to the real reason she is hiring him and when he does he discovers a world of international drugs, lies, and murder.
3. What is your writing process like?
Answer: I have an office in my home and go there every day from Monday to Friday from 10 to 3. I sit at my computer and step into the story and write down what I see and hear.
4. Was the character inspired by a real person? If so, who?
Answer: I knew my wife in high school and we dated for a year and went our separate ways.. Forty years passed and we met again. When I saw her she was absolutely gorgeous and wearing a yellow dress. I said, you’re the woman in the yellow dress and thought that’s a great title for a screenplay.
5. What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?
Answer: I think the trilogy gives that information once you get through all three books.
6. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Answer: Writing is energizing.
7. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Answer: They think too much. Don’t think. Write. The book or script will talk to you and get you where you need to be.
8. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Answer: Walking downstairs to my office gives me strength. My wife is my driving force.
9. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Answer: I try to do both.
10. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Answer: Each book should stand on its own. I have a trilogy completed with THE WOMAN IN THE YELLOW DRESS, MAGENTA DAIRY, and WAR OF GHOSTS. My next book is THE US PARTY, a futuristic political thriller which will be out this coming May, a children’s book, MADDIE ROSE, a book parents can read as a bedtime story to their toddlers, and SHUSTER, a western, which will be out this coming December.
11. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Answer: I have a lot of screenplays I can turn into novels (see robertfortebooks.com and look at Other Projects .If you click on the script it will tell you the logline.)
12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Answer: I do my research as I write. For example: Patrick Miles Atwater flies to Aruba, I had to find out what airlines flew to the Caribbean in 1948.
13. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Answer: When I sold my first screenplay in 2004 (It still hasn’t been made into a film) I decided to write full time. I have taken jobs after that part-time as research for other projects. I stopped doing that in 2017.
14. How many hours a day do you write?
Answer: 5 hours a day. 5 days a week.
15. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
Answer: My personal life has nothing to do with my stories.
16. What did you edit out of this book?
Answer: I have an editor. She corrects my spelling and changes some words but never tells me to delete any of the storyline or tries to change the storyline. She loves the books.
17. How do you select the names of your characters?
Answer: The books tell me who my main characters are. I have a great following of readers and friends and I like to use their names for other minor characters as a thank you for their support.
18. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Answer: I would teach acting and play music on weekends.
19. What was your hardest scene to write?
Answer: I never had one. Ever.
20. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Answer: It takes me six to seven months.
21. Do you believe in writer’s block?
22. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
23. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: About 30 years ago.
24. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Answer: It was never hard to sit down and write. I spent years telling my self I couldn’t do it. So stupid of me.
25. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Answer: No. I write and take what I get every day. I do set a timeline for myself to complete a project.
26. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Answer: I do a 36 chapter outline of one sentence ideas. I start writing and the book drives me where I should go.
27. Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?
Answer: I used to be an avid reader. Now I am an avid writer.
28. What is the most important thing about a book, in your opinion?
Answer: Keep your reader turning the pages.
29. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?
Answer: The Three Musketeers when I was eight years old.
30. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Answer: I sit outside the storyline. My characters speak for themselves.
31. Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
Answer: Friends and family and my dogs. All of them have supported me greatly.
32. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
Answer: My wife, Evelyn. She is an awesome woman.
33. Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Answer: If I had to pick a muse it would again be my wife, Evelyn. She keeps me grounded and makes me laugh. Being with her is magical.
34. Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
Answer: I’ve heard Mozart did that with his music. I re-write constantly until the book tells me to stop.
35. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Answer: Yes. I am self-published now and own my own publishing company.
36. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
Answer: Not with books but I have co-authored several screenplays.
37. Is writing book series more challenging?
38. Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?
39. Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
Answer: I wrote an animated feature called A TALE OF CHRISTMAS and accidently deleted it and had to go back and re-write it.
40. Can you tell us about your current projects?
Answer: THE US PARTY coming out soon, MADDIE ROSE in June and SHUSTER in December.
41. Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?
Answer: I had an English teacher that told me stop telling stories. Write them it down. I hear her voice all the time. A sweet teacher I will never forget.
42. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?
Answer: My mother always read books. I became an avid reader too.
43. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
Answer: Always. Evelyn reads everything I write first.
44. Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?
Answer: Several times.
45. How can readers find out more info about you and your books?
Answer: Go to robertfortebooks.com
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