19 January 2011

Author Answers with Simon Wood

Welcome back Simon Wood to Word Nerd. The Nerds met Simon at Bouchercon 2009 and he's just put out a really interesting transmedia story, Lowlifes, and he's here today to talk about that project.

Word Nerd: Where did the idea for Lowlifes come from?

Simon: The concept came from my collaborator, Robert Pratten. Robert approached me about a year ago with the idea for multimedia story set in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. He gave me brief character profiles for the principle characters and the initial scenario of a cop investigating himself and his possible involvement in the death of a homeless man. I liked the challenge of trying tell a story using different formats and jumped at the chance.

WN: Lowlifes is told across multiple platforms -- novella, video episodes and Facebook posts -- how you coordinate all the parts of the story?
Simon: I am one of those people who tries to do everything at once, but I wrote the book first, the movie script second and the blog third. However, I did outline all three storylines before I wrote anything so that I knew how all three stories would intersect. As I completed each part, I handed them off to Robert for comment and edit. So there were a few changes made and gave Robert free reign to interpret my movie script any way he wanted when it came to imagery and filming locations.

Our primary aim was to avoid filming scenes directly lifted from the book or blog and vice versa. This approach made it somewhat easier for me to write. I could focus on writing the book, get that out of the way, then turn to the movie script, write that in isolation and so on. At times, coordinating the various aspects to make three seamless stories did make my head hurt. To make all the individual pieces work took a lot of planning.

WN: Was it hard when writing to limit yourself to only Hayes' POV knowing that there was other intersecting story happening elsewhere?
Simon: No, it wasn’t hard. It actually made writing Hayes easier, because I know I’d have the movie or the blog to tell the story from a different character’s POV. Actually, Robert’s main instruction helped. He wanted each individual piece could be read as a standalone piece, but when read/watched in conjunction, the combined pieces would give a much fuller telling of the story.

WN: How do you think multi-platform storytelling is going to impact the writing world?
Simon: I’m not sure how transmedia (as it’s called) is going to shake up storytelling and the writing world, but hopefully in a good way. With the advances smart phones and handheld devices, there's the ability to play with the concept of storytelling. Combine that with the ever-increasing sophisticated demands of the consumer, I can the reader latching on multi-dimensional storytelling.

WN: What's captured your attention lately as a reader?
Simon: A few things actually, Stephen J Cannell’s ON THE GRIND was probably the best crime thriller I read last year. It had my pulse racing from start to finish. A great piece of work. And I just finished Debbi Mack’s second book, LEAST WANTED. It’s a mystery featuring a small-time lawyer and it was just a really well written and developed mystery. Finally, I got to read an advanced copy of John Vorhaus’ The Albuquerque Turkey, which is about a con man trying to go straight. It’s a lot of fun, definitely something for Donald Westlake fans.

WN: What's next for you as a writer?
Simon: Quite a bit. In the fall, I have the first in a series of mysteries set in the motor racing world. The first book is called, DID NOT FINISH. I’m switching genres with the first in a series supernatural novels with each one focusing on the four elements, earth, wind, fire and water. The first of those will be out at Christmas. Finally, I’ll be completing the final two books in THE SCRUBS trilogy. Those will be out in 2012. So 2011 is going to be a busy year at the keyboard.

Ready to dive into Lowlifes? You can find the story, video episodes and links to the online blogs at http://www.lowlifes.tv/.

Simon Wood is an ex-racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. Simon has had over 150 stories and articles published. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies and has garnered him an Anthony Award and a CWA Dagger Award nomination, as well as several readers’ choice awards. He’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. He’s the author of WORKING STIFFS, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN, PAYING THE PIPER, WE ALL FALL DOWN, TERMINATED and ASKING FOR TROUBLE. As Simon Janus, he’s the author of THE SCRUBS and ROAD RASH. Curious people can learn more about LOWLIFES at www.lowlifes.tv


Simon Wood said...

Thanks for having me here. :-)

Stacie Penney said...

Wow, Simon, what an amazing project! Thanks so much for stopping by!