1. How different is it to write a book versus a TV series episode? Is either one harder than the other?
Creatively speaking, there’s a big difference between writing prose and writing a script. In a book, you are seducing the reader. You are bringing them into your imagination and holding them there for as long as they’re reading the book. You construct everything. You construct the sets, the wardrobe, the world. You’re God. You can even read a character’s thoughts. In a script, everything that happens and everything the characters do has to be revealed through action and dialogue.
In a script, you could introduce a scene like this:
INT– APARTMENT – DAY
As Detective Marshak enters. The room has about as much personality as a hotel room. There’s a matching bedroom set, a mass-produced print on the wall, no photos. And it’s all very clean. Too clean.
But in a book, you have to describe the apartment in detail. You have to tell us everything that’s going on. You have to set the scene for the reader. It’s an entirely different skill. That’s why some novelists are terrible screen writers and why some screen writers can’t write a book. They can’t jump back and forth.
The only thing that TV and books have in common is that both are mediums for sharing stories...in books, you tell stories, in TV you show them. That simple distinction is a difficult one for many writers to overcome when moving into one field from the other.
If books paid me as well as screenwriting, I might stick with books only because I could do it all at home and not have to answer to a lot of other people. On the other hand, I love being in a writers room plotting with a dozen other writers on an episodic TV series…it is so much fun.
2. You co-author a series with Janet Evanovich. Is it difficult to co-author a fiction book? How do you coordinate ideas?
We work out the story together, then I begin writing the first draft, sending her 25,000 word chunks. She gives me notes and then, when the first draft is done, she does her Janet pass, taking the book to the next level…which, as you can imagine, is huge leap up in humor, character and pure fun. There’s only one Janet Evanovich, and anyone who thinks they can replicate what she does it insane. There’s a reason why Janet is one of the bestselling authors on the planet…and it’s that skill and magic that she brings to the page when she sits down to do her revision. I learn from her with each book.
3. Do you have any favorite projects?
I love writing the Fox & O'Hare novels... but I'd really like to write sequels to my novels King City and Watch Me Die. They are long overdue!
4. Do you have any favorite books and/or TV shows that you haven’t written?
I'm not sure I understand the question. Ifyou mean do I have projects in my drawer that I wish I could get back to, then the answer is yes...but I am not going to tell you anything about them :-)
5. Can you give us any hints to upcoming projects? Any TV series or books that we can look forward to?
The fifth Fox & O'Hare novel, THE PURSUIT, comes out June 21st!