I am a Director and Screenwriter (and Project Development at Novo Pictures) at the beginning of what is sure to be an explosive rise to the top of my chosen career heap – and I am fortunate enough to be on speaking terms with one of the greatest, and most prolific, fantasy/science fiction writers of modern times – Mr. Piers Anthony.
Mr. Anthony was gracious enough to answer a few random questions about his writing process and adapting his stories from book to film… something that is on the top of my personal to-do list in the next year or two.
Victoria Kinkade: If you had the chance to be on set during filming, would you?
Piers Anthony: No. It would probably be boring or upsetting or both.
VK: Which of your works, that are not already in the adaptation process, would you most like to see on screen? Why?
PA: When I focus on any piece of mine, I can see it as a movie. Of those not presently in the running, I think of Balook, about the modern genetic recreation of the largest land mammal ever to walk the earth, baluchitherium, which I see as a perfect juvenile boy and horse type story. Then there’s Eroma, a contraction of Erotic Romance, which would be a phenomenal challenge to do for a general audience, though it’s actually a love story. Or Volk, my World War Two novel featuring a Nazi SS officer as the protagonist, sympathetically portrayed, who falls in love with his best American friend’s (they went to college together) fiancée. Then she as an army nurse, gets captured by the Germans, and he must act to save her. Forbidden love. She’s a Quaker pacifist.
VK: Who is your favorite screenwriter? (hahaha)
PA: I am ignorant of screenwriters, so have no favorite, as I have no basis for comparison.
(This was supposed to be a leading question to prompt him into naming me as his favorite screenwriter, but alas he was too wily to fall into my trap.)
VK: How do you write? Do you outline and then fill in. or do you just start writing and see where it takes you?
PA: I summarize until I have it pretty well worked out, then I start writing. There may be surprises along the way, but I don’t start writing blindly. That would be like diving blind into dark water.
VK: How much time per day do you spend writing? What motivates you?
PA: I spend all reasonably available time writing, which can be several hours a day. I have chores to do and books to read, so my time varies. I need no motivations; I love to write.
VK: If you could disappear into one of your books to live – which would it be, and why?
PA: I have had about 180 books published. I could live in any of them, so really can’t make a choice. But a Xanth novel would be easy.
VK: Why does the prospect of your books on screen appeal to you?
PA: Movies generally bring authors barrels of money. Is there any other reason to see any of my works butchered on screen? With that money I can afford to keep writing indefinitely. There’s the appeal.
Piers is a thoughtful, witty man I have admired for almost 4 decades and currently has his XANTH series and the SPACE TYRANT series in the process of making the transition to screen.