Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Interview with Bart Baker, author of After Ozz

Title: After Ozz
Author: Bart Baker
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 254
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 With her uncle, the President of the United States, presumed dead and her beloved younger brother, Ozz, missing, Dot Gale is whisked into an odyssey in a different, very strange dimension. With the aid of three friends she makes on this arduous adventure, Scared Crow, Heartless and half man/half beast, Lars, Dot must battle the diabolically deadly Empress West if she is ever to return home with Ozz. Can Dot survive the evil machinations of the Empress and return home to rescue the United States before her wicked Aunt Emily succeeds with her sinister plan to take over the country?

To Purchase After Ozz

amazon BN
Q: Please tell us about AFTER OZZ, and what inspired you to write it. 

A: AFTER OZZ is my first YA novel, and I immediately saw this as a series of three books, following Dot as she battles the Empresses, first for her brother, then for her uncle, and finally, to save her country. But adding reimagined elements from THE WIZARD OF OZ made it that much more fun to write, playing with convention and expectation. It was a joy to write. I love these characters and I love the story.

 Q: What themes do you explore in AFTER OZZ? 

A: I never write with theme in mind, but they do emerge organically, usually through the characters. I love the themes of family, of sacrifice, of someone growing to become a bigger, better person that overcomes difficult and often deadly obstacles yet keeps her humanity.

 Q: Why do you write? 

A: I have been writing professionally for over 30 years. I am also a playwright and a screenwriter. I’ve had eight plays produced around the world, and I have written eleven produced movies, both for the big screen and TV. I’ve also written on four television series. Presently, I’m writing the remake of BEACHES for the Lifetime network. My first novel, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY was bought for a film and presently Bradley Cooper is interested in both starring and directing. AFTER OZZ is my third novel, behind WHAT REMAINS. I write daily, it’s my job and my passion. I’m blessed.

Q: How picky are you with language? 

A: Yes and no. Like most writers, or maybe I should say storytellers, because that’s really how I view myself, I have patterns. And when writing especially first drafts of anything, I find that I fall into those patterns easily and sometimes to a fault. As I subsequently rewrite, I change those things up and try and keep the writing fresh. Also, characters tell you how they speak and how they see the world. I like to make sure how I tell their story is close to them and their uniqueness.

Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar? 

A: Without a doubt. I’ve been doing this a long time, it’s not a hobby, it’s my livelihood. And I don’t think I could have sustained a career this long as a storyteller on my own. Things just come to me, as if given over by some other internal creative entity. I don’t consider myself a smart guy, an inventive guy, and it took me years to tell people I was a writer because I never struggled with story or character because they created themselves in my head and tell me their stories which I am blessed enough to be able to write down.

Q: What is your worst time as a writer? 

A: When my kids are home. Oh, you don’t mean it that way? I think the worst time is when I’m just beginning to flesh things out on a project. I’m a results kind of guy who likes to run full bore at whatever I’m doing, and at the beginning you are taking baby steps, learning about your characters as they reveal themselves, understanding your story so that it’s cohesive and interesting. There’s a lot of time spent walking around the house, taking the dogs for a walk, being moody (just ask my family.) But eventually it all starts to click. The hard part, which is the worst part, is trusting that it will.

 Q: Your best? 

A: When the writing is flowing, the story is great and the characters are talking to you. When that portal inside you is open and it’s just pouring out and you can’t take credit for it, but you’re sure as hell happy it’s happening.

 Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing? 

A: No. I’m a savant, it’s all I know as an occupation. And if it wasn’t my occupation (which I’m glad it is) it would be my hobby. Next to my family, writing is my greatest passion.

Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author? 

A: As an author, it was having my first novel, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY, received so well and then selling the movie rights in a big splashy sale that was covered in the press. Silly, vain…sure. But it was also a trip. Things like that don’t happen every day, so I tell every writer to wallow in the pig slop when you get the chance. Just never buy your own press. Because if you do, you don’t just get to believe the good, you have to believe the bad as well.

Q: Is writing an obsession to you? 

A: Completely. To the detriment of a lot of other things. Writers never really live totally in the moment. There is a piece of their mind that no matter what the circumstances, what the events going on in your life, is saying “I can use this,” and you are partially watching your own life.

 Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way? 

A: Without a doubt. I have come to the conclusion that as a storyteller, I can only tell stories that I am connected with, in the voice that I have. I am the best me. I’m not very good at being anyone else. So the stories have to come from my soul.

Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree? 

A: Ouch. I get it but ouch. Sadly, yeah, I somewhat agree with that on a variety of levels.

Q: Where is your book available? 

A:, Barnes and are probably the easiest places to find it.

Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work? 

A: I have a web page and I have a Facebook page. I love social media because I can stay connected with people, so I do use my Facebook page more than I update my website. I’m still a bit of a technophobe so the mechanics of how to change things on the web page addles me.

Bart and his family, Pastor Joe Elvis and their two sons Isaiah and Emmanuel, moved to St. Louis, Bart’s hometown. For nearly 30 year, Mr. Baker resided in Los Angeles, where he worked as a writer/producer in the entertainment industry.

He has had two feature films produced LIVE WIRE for New Line Pictures, and SUPERCROSS for Fox, as well as eleven films for television, including CHILDREN OF THE BRIDE, which spawned two sequels, BABY OF THE BRIDE and MOTHER OF THE BRIDE on CBS, as well as the Christmas perennial, A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS for Lifetime.

 Mr. Baker has worked on film and TV projects for Warner Brothers, Tristar, New Line, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, Lifetime, USA Network, Syfy Network, Fox Television, The Family Channel, as well as working on staff on the FX Network series, DIRT starring Courteney Cox.

 Presently, Mr. Baker has two projects in development, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY a feature film based on Bart’s debut novel of the same name at New Line with Bradley Cooper attached to star. Mr. Baker has also completed his second novel, IMMEDIATE FAMILY.

Mr. Baker also has eight produced theatrical plays under his belt. An avid fitness buff and political junkie, Bart enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends, and enjoys teaching film/television writing classes at Webster University. Writing is his passion and he feels blessed that he’s been able to make a living doing what he loves and for all the interesting people and events that he’s been exposed to through his work.

For More Information

Visit Bart at his website
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