Welcome to The Interview Room! Please help yourself to coffee or tea here on the tray.
I do love both beverages!
I’ve learned you are a playwright (wow do we love playwrights) as well as a fiction author. Who is your favorite playwright and why?
It’s hard to pick just one. I mean, we’d have to count William Shakespeare in the mix, right? I like the work of Thornton Wilder because I happened to be in a couple of his plays in high school (when I attempted to act). “Our Town” is a classic and also “Skin of our Teeth”
Your play, Follow Your Dreams, had an eight week run in L. A. Which venue? I wish I could have seen it while I lived in L.A.
I wish you had as well. We played in the NoHo district which is the North Hollywood arts center. The theater is called The Secret Rose. The area is a mecca for small theaters, which is where you see a lot of independent and fresh art these days.
What? But… but… that’s where I lived! Right in NoHo! What playwriting techniques have you carried over to your recent series featuring Gabriel McRay?
Dialogue. You seem to be a fan of theater so you’ll know how important that is — good dialogue. In fact, I often write the dialogue first in a “scene” of the book and then fill in the description.
In this series, which of Aristotle’s six elements (plot, character, thought, language, melody, spectacle) do you feel is your strongest? My guess, based on the synopsis, would be “Theme/Thought.”
I’m happy you think thought (no pun intended). There is a running theme through all the books and that is overcoming the fear in facing our fears. Every book features a murder case that causes the main character, a Detective Gabriel McRay, to deal with his own issues in some way. The next element would be character. This is definitely a character driven series. Gabriel has heavy issues to deal with in this book. How do you balance out serious character traits to show other layers to his persona?
He was a challenging character to write because of the nature of his probems. At every turn I have to watch out not to let him become emasculated by his issues. Because of what happened to him, he is sympathetic to his victims. This is one layer that balances him out. The other is that he’s a good detective and feels comfortable in his work — it’s one of the spaces he’s truly comfortable in.
So tell me how you delve into the dark world of Gabriel’s past trauma and especially from a male central character’s perspective.
Male survivors are not as rare as we all think. And although it’s tougher in ways for a man to deal with this kind of trauma (because it is not addressed as intensely as with females), male survivors actually stand a better chance of overcoming their problems because they more apt than women to get it out in the open (once it is addressed), get it out of their system, and get on with their lives. I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and spoken with a lot of professionals who consult with me on the book.
Considering your theatre background, how did you incorporate a theatrical aspect (Archwood?) into this story? The minute I read the blurb, I knew I must have you visit us!
Hah! Being a theater graduate myself it was easy. I love the spookiness of a catwalk and the fantasy of staged sets and props and costumes. Archwood is so uncomfortable in his own skin that he falls naturally into that staged world. He enjoys transforming into someone else.
And finally, if you could plop Gabriel into the middle of a play (Shakespeare, Pinter, anyone) which one would it be and why?
Any play by Sam Shepherd. That man has such a feel for the human condition and human relationships.
It has been such a pleasure having you visit. Let us know when you have a play running. We’d love to hear about it!
I certainly will. Thank you for the coffee, the tea, and the enjoyable questions!
Ms. Stevens grabbed the last scone and exited stage left. She was so enjoyable during her visit. We hope she stops by again with more playwriting or book release news. Feel free to leave any comments below for Ms. Stevens!
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/lauriestevens