Author Spotlight: Derek Milman
|© Jordan Matter|
Today we are pleased to feature actor, screenwriter, and author Derek Milman and his debut YA novel, SCREAM ALL NIGHT (Harper Collins/Balzer & Bray, July 24, 2018).
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|Cover art © Tom Whalen, designed by Jessie Gang|
I grew up in the suburbs riding my bike, jumping through streams, and reading lots of books. I read almost all of J.D. Salinger's oeuvre before I was ten years old. When I was in college, studying English and theater, I was tapped to play Zooey in (a probably illegal) stage adaptation of FRANNY & ZOOEY. I was probably 19, 20 years old? I internalized so much of Salinger's thinking and language I think I was destined to ultimately write YA. He really created the concept of a young voice in contemporary American fiction.
I had been writing plays, short stories, I published an underground humor magazine when I was a kid; YA needed to reach a certain point in the zeitgeist for me to find a way in. Then as children's publishing evolved, and my voice evolved, there was ultimately a match: in terms of risks people were able to take, and what I wanted to attempt to do.
Congrats on your debut, SCREAM ALL NIGHT. Tell us about it and what inspired you.
Thank you. Many things inspired SCREAM ALL NIGHT: loving movies as a kid, working as an actor, training to be one at Yale School of Drama (certainly an inspiration on Moldavia's strange, insular family), even taking a tour of Universal Studios as a little kid, and seeing all the famous façades (the house from Psycho, the clock tower from Back to the Future), the warehouses where they kept props, costumes, furniture. I wanted to run a movie studio.
I had an idea for years about a kid who inherits one. It seemed so far-fetched! But then I read up on the history of Hammer Horror films, and how they moved into a manor house called Bray Studios in the English countryside, and even had a repertory company of actors; they were churning out these Universal Studios-approved creature features for years. Fascinating stuff.
You started out as an actor and screenwriter. How did that background help you with writing novels?
Developing an ear for dialogue, working with language, and understanding high stakes, and the importance of conflict in a storyline. Also, developing a character's psychological profile.
Who would you cast in the movie of your book?
I better be careful what I say here, hahahahaha. I don't ever picture actors, or cast things in my head when I write, however cinematic people seem to find my writing. But one of my acting heroes, Jack Nicholson, hasn't been doing a lot lately. I'd love to see him attempt a slight Romanian accent and play Dario's dad. He'd be great, and he's (almost) the right age!
What projects are you working on now?
My second YA novel will be published by James Patterson's imprint at Little, Brown in 2019. It's very different from SCREAM ALL NIGHT, but thrilling in its own way. I am about to start editing it, just at the right time for me to emotionally and psychologically let go of SCREAM ALL NIGHT, and release it to the world.
What were the one or two things you did that most helped you get published?
Refining my voice, and being patient while I found the exact right people (agent, editor, etc.) who would be the best fit for my writing.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I used to teach at a film school! Also, I can sword fight. (I answered that in someone else's blog, but I still think that's a cool random fact.)
Where can people find you online?
I am @DerekMilman on Twitter and Instagram. My website, www.derekmilman.com, is a great place to get updates and such.
Website / Twitter / Goodreads
Derek Milman has worked as a playwright, screenwriter, film school teacher, DJ, and underground humor magazine publisher. A classically trained actor, he has performed on stages across the country and appeared in numerous TV shows, commercials, and films. Derek currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Scream All Night is his first novel. His second novel for young adults will be released by Little, Brown / Jimmy Patterson in 2019. You can find Derek online at www.derekmilman.com.
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