Monday, November 12, 2012

Blog Tour Event: An Interview with Lee Chambers, Author of The Pineville Heist

Today we welcome Lee Chambers author of The Pineville Heist as he stops at I Blog, You Read for the Taking It To The Streets Blog Tour event. The Pineville Heist was originally an award-winning screenplay written by Lee Chambers and Todd Gordon then adapted to a book by Lee Chambers. It’s a book that I can without a doubt recommend to any age. It’s got action, original characters and a carefully laid out story delivered by Lee Chambers. It delivers an entertaining read that deserves to be made into the future film that will star Booboo Stewart and be directed by Lee Chambers. So I invite you here for my interview with writer/director Lee Chambers to find out more about the book and movie, The Pineville Heist. Enjoy!

                                                Click here for my review of The Pineville Heist.

First I would like to thank you Lee Chambers for stopping by I Blog, You Read to talk about your YA novel The Pineville Heist that is now in the works in becoming a motion picture that you are going to direct.  How excited are you right now to see your project in this stage?

Thank you for having me here on I Blog, You Read.

Yes, it is exciting. As with most filmmakers, the whole journey, production and post-production is always exciting, although not a lot of people can experience that excitement and action. So by writing the novel, I can share the story and journey with readers. It also keeps me energised and passionate, as well as a great opportunity to test the market with readers and get them energised to see it.  It’s not only exciting for me, but also for co-writer of the screenplay, Todd Gordon in being able to craft this fun thriller.

Pineville Heist can be read and enjoyed by a wide audience.  I personally am excited to have a book to recommend to the young men who struggle to find a book they can identify with.  Was this always a target audience in the back of our mind when writing the book?

I know traditional authors say “think target audience, write to that target audience”, as it helps selling, which makes sense. For me, when I sit down and read or go to the movies, I grab the popcorn and I want to be entertained, and that’s the driving force when I write, to entertain. Then I develop it more to recognise the tone, motivation and give more resonance to the story.  The story becomes stronger and stronger and you create more engaging characters.

Not dissimilar to Twilight, although marketed to a teen audience there are lots of moms who enjoy Twilight, the story transcends into a different market.  The Pineville Heist is similar in that essentially not only can young men relate to the hero, but the hero can also be recognised by audiences in their 30 and 40s, who remember what it is like being a kid and remember some of the difficulties of growing up.

While reading The Pineville Heist I already had Booboo Stewart in my mind since finding out about his casting as Aaron Steven’s.  Are there any characters in particular that you’ve already cast in your mind and if so, who are they?

The search for the main character, Aaron Stevens, happened early on. I searched IMDB and came across Booboo and thought he looked like the perfect Aaron.  When I met up with him last summer, he read the script and loved it, loved the action.

I have thought about the other characters, but with the funding model we are seeking, there are certain criteria that we need to meet, including the actors we engage to take part. Our other partners in the project also have a say in choice of actors, so at the moment it wouldn’t be right for me to start talking actors and my wish list.  But... for a bit of fun for your readers, why don’t they check out this Table Reading for The Pineville Heist and let us know what they think, or who they think should play certain characters.

The layout of your book is pretty amazing because of all the impressive twists you’ve written.  What was your process in what seems like a meticulously planned path for Aaron?

The canoe scene is the pivotal moment. When Aaron takes the money that is the focal point; it’s almost a short story in a sense.

The story was carefully plotted and was always considered with a movie focus.  When you don’t have tens of millions of dollars at your disposal to produce the movie and it’s your directorial debut into feature movies, you have a smaller budget to work with.  So you have to focus on producing a story with less location, less characters to fit the budget, but with the same amount of excitement as bigger budget productions.

So the next challenge is getting 80% of the characters in one area but still making the story interesting and thrilling, you have to make it work within the difficulty of the constraints faced.  David Fincher’s Panic Room with Jodie Foster as a mother who is trapped inside her house with her daughter is a prime example of this.  You have all the action, different set pieces in one small area; I take homage from this, and want to make The Pineville Heist as enthralling as possible.

There are a lot of detailed action sequences written in your book.  Did you have to do any research to provide the realistic detail?

Research, always! Always write what you know and research what you don’t.

I had high school teachers read The Pineville Heist, to make sure it reflected what it was like in a high school class and to consider the high school layout.  Most people can relate to high schools, we’ve all been there and they haven’t changed much.

I’ve done ride-alongs with police officers to see how they moved and talked, go beyond what you see in CSI: Miami. I’ve been on a shooting range to feel what it is like to hold a gun and to shoot a gun, although I haven’t shot anyone, get as much realism as possible.

When you look at characters, there’s no research, it’s more connecting emotionally. You think of what motivates them, what scares them, what it would be like to fight for their life, making the choice of whether to go up into the duct to escape; it’s all emotionally drawn.

Because Aaron is trapped in high school we don’t get to know some fun things about him. I’m curious if Aaron has a favourite band, or what he does in his free time.

Aaron’s favourite band is indie Canadian band Kalle Mattson. He writes and hangs out with his buddies. He is trying to write a play himself, as he has an aspiration to be an actor and although he has only experienced theatre, he wants to venture to Hollywood to be an actor.

He also tries to distance himself from his father and money.  He has all that he wants, but he prefers to go over to his friends, he is grounded and yearns for the less lavish lifestyle and working class.

When he was younger, about 13, in one of the constant struggles with his father, he stole his father’s Jaguar and ended up crashing in the gazebo in the park (oddly named after the Stevens’ family).  So he has had previous run-in with the Sherriff, who thinks Aaron is nothing more than a trouble-making rich kid.  But Aaron is a good kid, although he likes to thinks he is tough, he really is easy going and likeable.

I like to match up songs to the books I’ve read if one should come to me, how do you feel about the song I’ve chose for Aaron and The Pineville Heist?

Love it!  If you could please contact the Foo Fighters to donate the song to us to use that would be awesome. The song starts slow and builds up, very similar to the story.  Without even looking at the lyrics, the title of the song The Pretender is also interesting and relevant to Aaron, as most of us act, presenting in ways that we are not. 

That would be the perfect song to feature, so I need you to start a campaign to see if we can get it!

I'll get right on that! Finally is there anything more you’d like to share about your novel/movie The Pineville Heist, and most importantly can readers purchase The Pineville Heist t-shirt I’ve been seeing lately?

The Pineville Heist is a really good, fun thriller, so why not get a copy? 

At the moment The Pineville Heist shirts that you have seen have been part of promo gear, however as the movie gets closer to release, fun stuff like shirts will be available.

I would like to thank Lee Chambers again for allowing me the pleasure of this interview. I can't wait to see The Pineville Heist on the big screen and hope others will read and share this action packed entertaining thrill ride. 

Book trailer:

My song pick:

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