Guest Blog + Giveaway: A Storyteller’s Dream By E. Van Lowe
Early in the spring of 2006 I hit a wall with my career. I had reached what felt very much like a crossroads in my life. After several months of talks with a studio, I had failed to land a job writing and producing a popular TV drama. I had the feeling I wasn’t hired because of my age. I had had a stellar career writing and producing many great TV shows and some not so great shows. But in show biz, people over fifty have been known to hit a wall. I was over fifty.
I wasn’t certain I’d hit the wall, but I didn’t want to knock on doors for several more years only to discover I was unhireable–not because of my lack of talent, but because I had allowed myself to grow old. I decided I wasn’t going to wait to find out if I had been, what we in the biz call, “aged-out.” It was time to begin my next career.
I grew up loving to read. I had started my writing career as a novelist and playwright. In grad school, I wrote two very popular horror novels of the 80s under the pseudonym Sal Conte. I decided it was time to return to my great love—books. Only this time I would write under my own name.
I also decided to write Young Adult. I chose Young Adult because when I was at Disney I developed a show for the Disney Channel called Even Stevens. I had a great time developing that show and felt writing for a younger audience was my thing. I went into writing YA for girls as a neophyte. I had done no research. I didn’t know anything about the genre—other than I’d read quite a few books, including those of Meg Cabot, and the Fearless series by Francine Pascal.
I then told my Hollywood agent and manager not to send me out on any job meetings for a while. I was writing a book. Never Slow Dance With A Zombie. While neither of them liked that I was not earning them a commission, they both embraced my new career. Midway through writing the book I asked my manager host a reading for me at Sony Studios. I wanted to get some feedback, but mostly I wanted to hear the book for myself, and decide if I was wasting my time. I figured if it was at a studio a lot of people would show up—they did.
As soon as the reading ended my agent, Jim Kellem, came up to me and said “I can sell that.”
“You don’t know anything about selling books,” I told him. “I’m talking to a New York agent to sell the book for me.”
The reading went very well. The book was fairly well received, so I continued writing. A few weeks after the reading, my agent called and told me he’d scheduled a few meetings for me. “What did you schedule meetings for? I told you I was writing a book.”
“These are movie meetings,” he said. “People want to hear about the book.”
“I haven’t even finished it.”
“People still want to hear about it,” he said. Both he and my manager, Sheree Guitar, started setting meetings at studios and production companies to talk about the book. Suddenly Hollywood seemed interested in me again. That’s when that old saw came to mind: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Or as far as I was concerned: There’s more than one way to skin a cat and have a career in Hollywood.
I love writing novels. It’s much more fun and rewarding than writing for TV. But I also enjoy working in Hollywood. I realized as an artist that our art can take many forms. Sometimes it can begin in one form—a book—like Harry Potter, and wind up in another, reaching an even wider audience. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to write books and help my books exist in broader mediums that can increase my audience. My art is not just writing. As a storytelling artist I include film and TV and theater and video games—even the internet as my medium. As a storytelling artist I want to be somewhat experimental.
As of this writing that first novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, is slowly winding its way to the big screen. The screenplay for my Sal Conte horror short story, The Toothache Man is currently being written by a screenwriter. I have two more novels, Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel. They are the first two books in the Falling Angels Saga. Earth Angel just came out and is on blog tour as of this writing. I’ve also been in discussions about doing something fresh and different for the internet. I am busier than ever.
It’s exciting to be able to use everything I’ve learned in my twenty plus years in Hollywood in my new career as storytelling artist. My dream is to have my stories exist in more than one medium, reaching people wherever they may be.
Looking back, I am actually happy I didn’t land the job on that TV drama. I may not be making as much money (sometimes I don’t make any money) but I am much happier. I am no longer wondering about the end of my career. I am at the threshold of something new and exciting. You’re never too old to chase a new dream. Trust me; I know—I’m having the time of my life.
By the way, even though I signed with a New York agent, it was my Hollywood agent, Jim Kellem, who sold Never Slow Dance With A Zombie to Tor (McMillan/St. Martin’s Press) in the spring of 2007. Go figure.
We’ve several giveaways today. The first, we’re offering an ebook set of Boyfriend from Hell and Earth Angel. This is open internationally. All you need do to enter is to post a comment on this very post and include your name and email address so that we can contact you should you win.
For the second giveaway, just fill out the required information on the form below for a chance to win a signed set of both books.
Good luck to all those entering!
Synopsis for Boyfriend From Hell:
Aww, Hell No!
Fifteen year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a special relationship—they are friends, close friends, who do almost everything together.
“But come on, guys, she’s my mother… Can I really tell her that while we’re snuggled up on the sofa watching Spider Man Three, I’m secretly undressing James Franco with my eyes? Of course not…”
The special bond takes a turn for the worse when Suze decides to start dating again. She hasn’t had a man in her life since Megan’s father left ten years ago.
Enter two mysterious young men, Megan’s new classmate, sinfully attractive bad boy, Guy Matson, and the dangerously handsome art dealer, Armando. Before long Megan and Suze both wind up in steamy relationships. But neither of the handsome guys is quite what he seems. In fact, one of them is Satan, with his sights set on a new bride. Megan has precious little time to figure out how to stop him. If she doesn’t, either Megan or Suze are quite literally going to HELL.
Boyfriend From Hell is the first book in the Falling Angels Saga from the author of the gruesomely hilarious, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie
Synopsis for Earth Angel:
Heaven Can Wait!
Just because Megan Barnett recently defeated Satan, has a fantastic new best friend, and has won the love of deliciously handsome, Guy Matson, doesn’t mean her troubles are over. Far from it. For Megan doesn’t realize it, but in her possession is a powerful weapon, a weapon sought after by both angels and demons and everything in between. They will do ANYTHING to get it.
In E. Van Lowe’s humorous, romantic and thrilling sequel to Boyfriend From Hell, Megan winds up in a gripping life or death battle to save herself, the boy she loves, and all of mankind from unthinkable evil.
Megan Barnett has recently defeated Satan, found a fantastic new best friend, and has won the heart of deliciously handsome, Guy Matson. But that doesn’t mean her troubles are over. Far from it. For Megan doesn’t realize that she is in possession of a powerful paranormal weapon, a weapon sought after by both angels, demons and everything in between.
In E. Van Lowe’s romantic yet thrilling sequel to Boyfriend From Hell, Megan finds herself in a gripping life or death battle to save the boy she loves, and all of mankind from unthinkable evil.
About The Author:
E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screenwriter, Playwright and Producer who has written and produced such shows as The Cosby Show, Even Stevens, and Homeboys In Outer Space. He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. Van Lowe recently stepped into the young adult fiction genre with his comedic novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie. It was a selection of the Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an ALA Award. Boyfriend From Hell is Van Lowe’s second YA novel.