John Kane-Interview with the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I started as a film publicist, worked on the production of “Fame,” “Tender Mercies,” “Prince of the City,” and “Ricochet,” among several others. Then worked for HBO as a publicist on their films, most notably “The Far Pavilions,” an epic mini series filmed in India. Over the years I interviewed many stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Robert Duvall, Denzel Washington,Martin Lawrence, Ben Stiller, and Carol Burnett. I can share stories, mostly flattering, about them. But I would remind you that a publicist on a film set is like a eunuch at an orgy: everyone else is doing the work. You’re just taking notes.
I’m using that analogy because it was watching others do creative work that led me to finally attempt it. There were some one act plays done in various basements, but then I wrote a book in 1998, Best Actress, that changed things for me. It was published by Ballantine Books, published in six counties, and turned into a cable film by E! Entertainment. That led to work as a screenwriter. I wrote and rewrote several screenplays. None were ever made, but I was paid regardless. The film industry is peculiar in this respect: your product doesn’t have to get to market for you to get paid. Along the way I wrote a play, “The Eleven O’Clock Number,” that was produced in South Florida and won two Best Plays Awards. Finally, I wrote another book, Somebody is Killing the Trophy Wives of Beverly Hills, which, I hope, will be the start of a series.
Let’s get started !
TRC: Hi John and welcome to The Reading Café. Would you please tell us something about yourself and your career?
John: I was a film publicist, working on the set of such films as “Fame” and “Tender Mercies,” moving on to work for several studios and networks, including HBO and United Artists. I always had an itch to write, often looked at a script and said, “Hey, I can do this.” So about a decade or so ago I began to scratch that itch.
TRC: As a child, what were your dreams and aspirations? Do you feel you have accomplished what you set out to achieve?
John: As a kid raised in New Jersey I was fascinated by Hollywood, this industry on the other side of the country where dreams are manufactured. I live and work here now so I count myself lucky.
TRC: Your novel BEST ACTRESS (1998) was made into a television movie for E! Entertainment. Would you please tell us about your involvement in
bringing the book to TV?
John: Everyone should have their book made into a TV movie, first for the money, second for the humiliation. I was brought in to rewrite the screenplay. The executive in charge of production loved my work and offered me a long term contract. Two weeks later she stopped returning my calls. The script was rewritten by someone else, and the resulting film stank from here to Hoboken. But the check cleared and it got me into screenwriting, so, no complaints.
TRC: The Advocate ™ labeled BEST ACTRESS a cult novel. How do you feel about the categorization? Do you believe the categorization paid homage to the novel’s status at the time?
John: It’s sad but true that many people who read BEST ACTRESS later joined cults. Seriously, because it’s about the Oscars and has lots of inside gossip, people still seek it out. I actually get a couple of pieces of mail or email every year on that book.
TRC: What were some of the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to publication?
John: BEST ACTRESS was the first book I ever wrote, ever attempted to write, so the biggest challenge was convincing myself I could do it. By that I mean that I could create a fictional world, sustain it over several hundred pages, and have faith that other people would be interested in entering that world. I learned two things in writing it that might help other aspiring authors. First, you don’t have to know everything that’s going to happen when you start out. Once you get going, inspiration kicks in and takes you places you never dreamed of. Second, it’s not a bad idea to stop writing while you’re inside something, really feeling the moment. That way you have a place of passion to return to the next day, instead of having to start from scratch.
TRC: Have you ever considered writing a sequel to BEST ACTRESS-a sort of “where are they now?”
John: At one time I gave some thought to BEST ACTOR, but the male nominess for the Oscar just aren’t as provocative as the females.
TRC: Would you please tell us about the premise of your latest novel SOMEONE IS KILLING THE TROPHY WIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS?
Click HERE for our review.
ORDER LINKS: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / KOBO /
John: TROPHY WIVES is a comedy mystery set in motion by a tell all book that spills the secrets of a series of wealthy, pampered Beverly Hills wives. I had always wanted to write a murder mystery set in Beverly Hills, but could never come up with a proper detective. Then one day I read an interview with Jackie Collins in the Los Angeles Times, very dishy, very funny, and I thought, that’s it, Jackie Collins meets Nancy Drew. And I had my detective and I was off.
TRC: Do you have any future storylines proposed for Nikki Tyler or Rocco Stefano? If so, how many books do you have planned for the series?
John: I’m working on a second one right now, involving reality television. I’m a writer, not a mystic, so I can’t see into the future and tell how long I’ll sustain this. But the kind of good feedback I’m getting from this first book will probably keep the idea going for a few more.
TRC: The storyline was written from the heroine’s Nikki Tyler’s POV. What challenges did you face writing from the female perspective?
John: I found that once I had the tone of Nikki down, her blend of wit, sarcasm, and common sense, the rest of it flowed fairly easily. If you find your character’s voice, you’ve pretty much isolated their POV.
TRC: Are any of the characters or experiences based on events in real life? Or are they an amalgamation of many characters and your imagination?
John: As Nikki, a chick lit author, says in the book, “Like the women in a harem, all my characters are thinly veiled.” The characters and situations in the book are purposely close to folks that we all read about and see on TMZ. I hope that’s part of the appeal of the book, that it has the irresistibility of a good piece of gossip.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about you?
John: That I’m rich! Still working on that one, which is why I keep writing.
TRC: If you could change something about yourself personal or professional, what would it be and why?
John: See above for the superfical answer. The honest one is that as I grow older I don’t believe it’s constructive to think about “what if.” You take what you’re given and do what you can with it. And I think that works well enough for most of us.
TRC: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
John: My parents believed in me and so did a high school English teacher, Mr. Sheratsky. To have someone invest in you when you’re young is everything.
TRC: Who is the first person you think about when you need someone to talk with and why?
John: I’d have to say my Dad, but he’s long gone.
TRC: What five things would you like to accomplish in the next ten years?
Establish Nikki Tyler as a series heroine.
See one of the books turned into a TV movie.
Take a course in French cooking.
Finish reading “Sophie’s Choice.” I stopped in the middle twenty years ago.
Be here for the next ten after that.
TRC: What are your thoughts on book reviews-good or bad?
John: Good, even if they’re bad (though, like all authors, I hate that.) You sat down and wrote something to reach someone, a reader you’ve never met. A review tells you if you were successful. That’s good information.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas with family and friends, as well as other authors. With whom do you bounce ideas and information?
John: Truth is, I keep the idea to myself, mulling it over constantly, seeing if it seems “real” enough to write about. Only when I’ve convinced myself that it is real can I start the actual writing. Then I can talk about it, but not before. I’m very superstitious in that regard.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
John: Outlining the next Nikki Tyler book.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
John: I’d love to hear from any of your readers! They can contact me at JohnKaneLA@aol.com.
New York Strip Steak
Haagen Dasz Deep Chocolate with Peanut Butter
Favorite TV Show
Last Movie You Saw
Zero Dark Thirty
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark with some fruit, cranberries or orange
A late 60s Mustang
Last Vacation Destination
TRC: Thank you John for taking the time to answer our questions. All the best
in your writing career.