Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Writer's Block Interviews: Robin Garland
1) How did you get your start as a writer?
Well first off, let me say writing is in my blood. I mean-that if I do not write every day or every other day, I get cranky. Writing feeds my soul.
A while ago, my Mother gave me a baby picture of me at two. It showed me holding a picture book. She politely said, “See even at that age you loved books.” Moreover, when growing up I wrote short stories, never realizing that later in life I would have a life-altering change that had me deciding to make something of my passion. So as serendipity would have it I took writing classes …and one thing lead to another.
2) Tell us about Livingtree Media and the work you do there.
I do interview articles. I love finding out about people and their passions. I have done articles on well-known writers and new writers alike who are trying to highlight their talents or new books.
I edit manuscripts/novels, short stories, children stories, dystopian, fantasy, romance--you get the picture. I adapt novels to screenplays. I do book reviews.
Mainly I will do anything if it is related to creative writing. I love it that much.
3) How did you start doing screenwriting/screenplay adaptations?
I have always been a movie buff. I go all the time to see movies. There is nothing like seeing pictures on the big screen. In my opinion, you do not get the same results or feelings watching it on TV or a laptop.
As a student at UCLA’s Writing Program, you had to choose elective classes. I took screenwriting. Boy was I hooked. And go-figure--writing screenplays come easy to me. Besides I like seeing my name on the title page after, “Written By.”
4) Should authors write their novels with the potential for film adaptation in mind?
Good question. And that depends. Authors need to ask themselves what they want from writing. Completed novel? Successful sales? Or the satisfaction of seeing your ideas come to life on the written page. Usually movie deals come later after a book has been out for a while. But I've also seen some get bought up quickly so a movie can be made. Producers like to see how popular your book is with the public, and of course how much success you've had in book sales.
Adaptions are not easy. Most movies run 130 minutes. And most screenplays are 120 to 130 pages. Therefore, each page represents one minute of time on the screen. So the words you chose to write need to be clear and concise. There is no room for run-on sentences or long camera-shot descriptions. Every word must count.
5) What inspired you to write the Tanglewood Series Books for Children? What are your publishing plans for it?
Ah… thanks for asking, currently my favorite subject.
I am in the process of re-writing this entire middle-grade series. Cowlicks and Freckles is the first novel. My intention is to make these stories more witty and a touch more humorous. I am a firm believer in using my character’s creative imagination to help solve the quandaries I put them through, besides if you can get a reader to laugh-you’ve got them.
I have already adapted Cowlicks & Freckles into an animation screenplay and will do for all the others as well.
The second novel is finished; I’m just doing final touches. I have at least four more storylines to make this a six book children series.
6) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your reading list right now?
My tastes vary, but I have to confess, I have been so busy writing my own stuff I have slacked off on reading others work. But I have a few books waiting for me to read them.
One of my all-time favorite author’s is Jean Auel. But I must say when someone first gave me her first book to read-Clan of The Cave Bear, I said I didn’t want to read about cave people. Then I read a few pages. Well... I could not put the book down. I became in love with Ms. Auel’s writing. Other books by her in this children's series are, The Mammoth Hunters and Valley of the Horses. Ms. Auel is very descriptive in her research. Her characters pull you in, and you want to turn the page to find out what happens to your favorite character.
7) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
Just like this. Interviews, word of mouth, my blog, websites. UCLA is going to post one of my recent successes on their website.
I try to write crisp query letters. I do a thorough research before sending them out. My first interview article was accepted on my first try. And, of course I have a twitter account and Facebook page. I am also on LinkedIn. I write on Livingtree Media blog and have received several ping backs and others saying that they liked what I had to say. Isn’t it such a great feeling when other writers share? Yes!
8) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?
I am going to finish the editing and revising on the second book in the Tanglewood series then adapt that into a screenplay.
I've written a romance western and entered the screenplay in the 2012 Austin Film Festival. I am now in the process of writing the second novel in this series.
I entered the 2012 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Contest. And that story, I am now working on to make it into a full length novel.
I also edit other writers work and help them with their creativity. I am an open and honest editor.
9) What is your definition of success as an author?
For me it is reading or hearing words like: “We would like to offer you acceptance of…” those few words make all the lonely days and nights writing worthwhile. And for those friends who make fun of you because you would rather work on your novel then go out dancing (I am joshing here but you get the picture) I just say, “I am doing what I love.”
I am certainly not in it for the money however I find that each time you are accepted your payment fee goes up. And that is good. Yes? In addition, you can add those successes to your bio helping you get other assignments.
10) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
Do not give up under any circumstances. Be patience with your successes and failures. Nothing happens overnight--but wouldn’t that be great if it did? Write-edit-write-edit, best advice any writer can have. The more you write the better you become. Take a variety of writing classes.Use editors they are here for a reason. And lastly-even if you get fifty rejections… number fifty-one might be the one that is accepted.
Robin Garland’s Bio – Short List
Entered the 2012 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Shorts Short Story Contest.
Entered the 2012 Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Contest.
Interview article with Caroline Leavitt New York Times Best Selling Author March 2012 The Writer Magazine.
Completed and Editing second book in Tanglewood Series tentatively titled: This Could Be Big!
Adapted and copyrighted Cowlicks & Freckles into screenplay.
Creator of children’s series: Tanglewood. First book: Cowlicks & Freckles.
Author of Because of Me an original historical novel.
Completed and copyrighted adaption to screenplay: Because of Me.
Listed in San Diego’s Film Institute as a Freelance writer.
Scriptwriter’s Network, Los Angeles - script reader and active member.
2011 Big Bear Lake Annual Screenwriting Contest - story analysis and script reader.
The Love of a Good Story. Interview article with Lisa Cron, published by The Writer Magazine January 2011.
One of three photographers for: Creative Screenwriting Expo 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
UCLA Writer's Program
San Diego State, Technical and Scientific Writing
Contact Robin Garland