Tuesday, September 30, 2014
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Marc Estes
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
From the time I was a very little boy, probably 4 or 5, my grandfather would sit and tell me stories that he would make up as he went along. I always loved that and was determined to do it myself someday. As early as elementary school I was entering writing contests and developing my craft.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
When I was younger, I would have to say, Willa Cather, Judy Blume, and E.B. White were my biggest influences. I couldn’t get enough of their work. Today, my tastes truly run the gambit from Charles Dickens to Dean Koontz. There really isn’t one genre I favor because it’s not really the story that counts, it is how it is told.
3. What was the inspiration behind Four Pieces For Power?
I actually started Four Pieces For Power as a high school project. I worked on it some more in college through writing courses, but I would have to go back to my grandfather for the true inspiration. As Andrew is introduced to a whole new world because of his grandfather, my grandfather introduced me to whole new worlds almost daily.
4. Did you originally intend for it to be a series or was it originally supposed to be a one-shot novel?
As I mentioned above, I originally just planned on writing a couple chapters for a school project. As the story developed, it became evident that there was a lot more to the story that needed to be told, so the series idea just evolved with the story. That brings up an important point. Several of my readers have commented that there are a lot of questions at the end of Four Pieces For Power. That’s why it’s a series. I can guarantee to the reader, that all of their questions will be answered in time, but I can’t spill all the beans in book 1.
5. Were any of the characters based on real people?
I get that question a lot. All I can say is this. I spend a great deal of time observing people. I find that you can get so much more through observation, than any amount of conversation you may have. I take traits from various people that I both admire and disdain when developing a character. It makes them unique. I guess you could say it is like a giant gene pool that I take a scoop from and see what comes out.
6. What do you want readers to take from Andrew and Robert's quest and how it changed them?
One thing I have learned in the course of my life, is that there is good and evil in everyone. Andrew and Robert start out basically in the same spot, but the learning curve goes in opposite directions solely by the choices they make. We are all a culmination of the choices we make in life and that has the capability of tipping the scale toward good, bad, or a balance in the middle. It is a very fine line between good and evil, and any of the characters can cross that line at any time.
7. Can you tell the readers about your previous work?
As far as my previous work goes, it primarily falls in the realm of playwriting. One thing I often struggled with was dialogue in my story writing. It can be frustrating when you know that each character has their own personality and will respond differently to different events. In order to work on my dialogue, I began writing plays, each of which are 97% dialogue and 3% stage direction (not a real figure, just an expression). As my plays developed, I became better at being able to show the story through dialogue, versus telling the story. It is amazing how much a reader can get about a character from a little, well placed, dialogue. You only have your imagination as you read, so the reader counts on description and good dialogue to give them a panoramic view of your story and not just tunnel vision. I have been very fortunate to win regional, national and international awards for my plays. Two of them have been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. I don’t really have the space to go into the plot lines of every play, as each, in and of themselves, are their own unique stories. I am, however, always looking for new productions so anyone can feel free to contact me if they are interested.
8. What would you do if someone told you that you had to go on this scavenger hunt for an inheritance?
I would say, “When do we leave?” I have always been a fan of shows like The Amazing Race, and classic movies like Scavenger Hunt and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Although this scavenger hunt is a little different, I would still find it a thrill.
9. How many books with the Vendicatori series span?
That is a question that remains up in the air. I guess it will go on as long as there is still story to be told. I can tell you, I have developed the outlines and plots for the first four books in the series. Readers get a small taste of book two at the end of Four Pieces For Power, but there is a LOT of story that will surprise, shock and amaze the reader. As the story continues, the reader will be introduced to many new characters that will add a whole new dimension and depth to the world of the Vendicatori. Just when you think you have it all figured out…surprise!
10. Would you like to see the series in theaters or on TV? If, yes, who would you like to see play your characters?
Absolutely. In fact, my publisher has recently put together a package to present to production companies in hopes of making it a feature film. Several of my reviewers have also commented on how it would make a great movie. I guess time will tell. I haven’t really thought of a cast for the movie, but off the top of my head, I know the character of Brittany Correo, has to be a very strong woman and I think Glenn Close would be great. I think Anthony Hopkins would make a great Dominic. Andrew and Robert would be tough, but I think Tobey Maguire would do well as Andrew and Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make a stunning Robert. Both actors fascinate me with the depth in which they act.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
One name comes to mind. JK Rowling. I would love to see the Vendicatori novels take off like Harry Potter or even Stephanie Myers’ Twilight series. There is only one group of people that can make that a reality for me, and that is my readers and fans. I am currently working full time and writing when I can, so I would love to have it be the other way around.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
If I wasn’t writing, I would probably be doing something in the wildlife or animal field. I love animals, Virgo from the book is a perfect example.
13. Can you tell KSR readers what you're working on next?
I am actually in the middle of three projects. First is the sequel to Four Pieces For Power which is titled: Rekindle the Flame. Second, I am working on a play about John Wilkes Booth and his relationship with Lucy Hale. Third, I am outlining another book series, which I hope to eventually add to my credits. It is called 33. Without giving too much away, it is an “end of the world” series that is unlike any other, and readers won’t know the truth until the very end. It will change the way they look at our world.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I think it would be great to collaborate with Charles Dickens and get to the bottom of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dan Brown would certainly be a pick, and of course, the incredible mind of the late Sydney Sheldon.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
It is hard to come up with three things that may surprise my readers about me, but I guess one would be I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. I also love oil painting and woodworking. Third would have to be the creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rented from my mom when I was younger and developed the phenomenon before my eyes. I have tremendous respect and admiration for both creators (Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman).
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