Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Post: Author E. Van Lowe + Giveaway

Today it is my great pleasure to welcome E Van Lowe to Red House Books. 
E shares with us today the story of the beginnings of his TV writing career. 

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People always ask me how I got started writing for television.  Growing up in New York I had no desire to write for TV or film.  I knew I was destined to become a playwright/novelist.  I’m lucky enough to say I am a playwright and a novelist, but most of my career has been spent in TV and some film.

This started when I finished college.  I had written my first horror novel Child’s Play under the pseudonym Sal Conte.  My mentor/professor from USC, Shelly Lowenkopf had high hopes for the novel.  And since he did, so did I.  I envisioned getting one of those dream advances.  I would become a media darling, taking up the author’s seat on late-night couches.  That did not come to pass.

After Child’s Play was rejected by all the major houses, I got the manuscript back from my agent.  Dejected, I went to a newsstand and was looking over paperback original horror titles.  Many of them seemed to be similar to what I was doing.  I sent letters to a number of the publishers, and heard back from Dorchester.  I sent them the manuscript and a few weeks later I received a contract in the mail.  The advance was $5000.  If I wanted to write full time I needed a writing gig that paid a whole lot more.

I was lamenting my situation to a friend who said “why don’t you try writing for TV?”  My brother and I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid.  I mean LOTS of TV.  Having watched so much, I felt I had a good handle on TV, but I’d never seen a teleplay.  I’d spent two and a half years at USC and not bothered to look at anything dealing with television.

The calling card for a TV writer is his/her spec script.  This is an episode of a popular show that you write.  You have to make sure you don’t write subjects the show has already covered, and you have to sound exactly like the show.  That was the challenge for me: fresh idea on a popular show, while capturing the characters voices exactly.  It’s not as easy as it seems.  You need a good script, and a lot of luck to get the right people to read it.

Eleven spec scripts in, my luck kicked in.  I met a producer at MTM, one of the major production companies back then—Taxi, Bob Newhart and The Mary Tyler-Moore Show.  It was Mary’s company—MTM.  The producer was honest enough to tell me I was doing everything wrong.  He mentored me on writing a new spec script.  The script caught the eye of a few big companies.  Both wanted to sign me.  Happy days.  I signed with Universal in 1985, and haven’t looked back.  For Universal TV I wrote, He’s The Mayor, Charles In Charge and Knight Rider.  One thing I knew when I started working was one day I would return to writing books.  Books were my first love. What I didn’t realize is it would take twenty-two years.

That’s how it happened for me.  I kept writing and eventually got lucky.  That, to me, is the formula for success as a writer—if you keep working hard, and eventually you will get lucky.  However, while I was working at getting lucky, I think I gained some skill. The first four chapters (pdf) of Boyfriend From Hell are available for free right now on my website. Readers can go to http://evanlowe.com/  and click on the Boyfriend From Hell Sample link to get them.  Please read them, and let me know if the hard work and luck has paid off.   Peace.
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Thank you so much E for sharing your story! I absolutely love Knight Rider - so very cool that you wrote for the show, probably while I was watching it :)

E's first young adult novel, Never Slow Dance with a Zombie released in 2009 and his second novel, Boyfriend From Hell (Falling Angels #1) hit shelves earlier this month.

Place's to find E. Van Lowe
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter



GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Roxanne from Bewitching Book Tours  I have 1 print copy of Boyfriend from Hell for a US resident 13 years or older. Fill out the form for a chance to win! 

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting career you've had. You're also a good example of staying in there, following your dream, and never giving up.

    Congratulations and best of luck to you.

    ReplyDelete



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