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Author Interview with Author Thomas E Antonaccio

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
The past.  I’ve always had a touch of nostalgia, even romanticism, for the past—especially for the 1930s and 40s, which many consider the golden age.  Though I was born well after these two decades, I find myself drawn to the music, the magic, the mystery…I can’t explain it, but it’s with me all the time.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
I’ve always been a fan of the TV show, Gilligan’s Island.  That being said, I’d say a radio, 6 fellow castaways as loyal and practical as Gilligan had, and…hmmm, well…how about a journal to collect my thoughts…

What is one book everyone should read?
The Diary of Anne Frank.  Her diary is one of the handful of stories that inspired The Generosity of Strangers

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate and peanut butter; peanut butter goes with anything, especially chocolate!

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? 
 Jesus Christ

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  
A bowl of Cheerios with blueberries

Night owl, or early bird?   
Early bird.

Skittles or M&Ms?
 M&Ms with almonds or with peanuts.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.  
Because even in the darkest hour, people can open their hearts

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
I would love to do a sequel to The Generosity of Strangers: When War Comes to Fornelli.  People are already asking me if I plan to do a sequel.  In the interim, I’m writing a short story that is somewhat autobiographical.  It’s still in the formative stages, so I won’t say much more…but it’s a writing project about which I’m very excited.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? 
 I have always been a voracious reader, so that has to be the number one inspiration.  The fact that I’ve traveled all over the world and lived 15 years overseas is a close second.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.  
One always expects a close friend or family member to praise your writing.  However, when I receive positive, heartfelt feedback from a perfect stranger…it’s exhilarating, especially if it’s from someone abroad—outside the USA.  Good storytelling does cross boundaries.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world. which would it be?  
James Patterson’s Sunday at Tiffany’s – one of the best books/movies I’ve ever seen. I wonder if I could be the ‘imaginary friend.’

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
I don’t think I have a favorite book, per se, but I was an avid fan of the Hardy Boys and read just about all of their books at the time.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?  
The song that’s going through my mind right now is “How Much Is Enough” by The Fixx.  The chorus goes something like this:  “How much is enough, when your soul is empty?  How much is enough, in the land of plenty?  When you have all you want and still feel nothing at all…how much is enough…”  When my teenage son asks me why I’m a frugal kind of guy, I tell him to listen to that song.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?  Write, write, write!  There’s no other way.  We all tend to procrastinate or look at a writing project and say “I can never do that…write ‘x’ number of pages, etc.  But when you write, and write consistently, new channels open up, and you just might be surprised by the result.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  
Cinque Terre, Italy – the closest place to Heaven on earth

What is your favorite Quote?  
“Every man is born an original, but sadly, most men die copies.”  Abraham Lincoln

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 
 I’ve always had many interests and aspirations…but I think the one thread that weaves through each of them is the notion of leaving a legacy.  That’s always been a compelling drive for me…though, honestly, I can’t say I’m any closer to figure out just what my legacy will be.

How did you know you should become an author?  
Ever since I was a boy, my mother has told me stories about her childhood growing up in Italy during World War II.  We had talked about capturing her story for many, many years.  One day, after visiting her hometown for the first time, I felt the urge to start writing.  One result has been The Generosity of Strangers

Who are your favorite authors of all time?  
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?  
Yes, Vincenzo (Lucia’s brother from The Generosity of Strangers) because he was a behind the scenes kind of guy, and that’s how I see myself…success is fleeting, many things so transient.  Unfortunately, that very mindset sometimes keeps us from realizing our full potential.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? 
 Expand and explore your universe.  There are many ways to get to a certain goal.  Much depends on how badly you want it and whether you’re willing to persevere.

Favorite Food? 
I like both Italian and Korean food, having lived for quite some time in both countries.

How do you react to a bad review? 
So far I haven’t received what I consider a ‘bad review.’  I’ve certainly experienced rejections, especially when I tried the traditional publishing route.  Unfortunately, none ever gave me any constructive feedback on how to improve the manuscript, so I basically took them with a grain of salt.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?  
I’d pay off my home—the one albatross around my neck

Which authors have influenced you most how?  
I’ve always enjoyed reading philosophy and such…so I’ve had the opportunity to sit at the feet of some of the greatest thinkers of all time.  All have influenced me in some way, shape, or form.

What do you do in your free time? 
Free time?  What’s that?  I like to think that if you’re fortunate to enjoy what you’re doing—work, hobbies, etc.—then you really don’t have or need free time…it feels like free time.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?  
Don’t Look Back

Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.  Wake up at 5:00 a.m., write for about an hour; leave for work at 7:00 a.m.; come home and usually exercise before dinner; after dinner, I study Italian, and (time remaining) I’ll do some light reading.  I’m usually in bed during the week by 10 or 10:30 p.m.

What’s your favorite season/weather
 Winter.  The colder it is outside, the warmer it is inside.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
a travelogue of my 15 years of living overseas.  I’ve experienced so much but put very little of it on paper.

Favorite places to travel?  
Italy, Pacific Northwest

Favorite music?
Pop (The Fixx, Pet Shop Boys) , Classical (Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky), Big Band (Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman)

Connect with author Thomas Antonaccio on Facebook

Generosity of Strangers
On Amazon:
Genre – Children’s NonFiction / History – Europe
Rating – PG

 Author Feature & Interview with Author and Filmmaker 

Guy Magar

Author Feature

Written by Guy Magar – From his memoir KISS ME QUICK BEFORE I SHOOT: A Filmmaker’s Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love  

Finally, I had found the financing for my first feature, SHRIEK. We started hiring a crew, casting the picture, and focused on creating the all-important creature/monster.

My search for the best (and most affordable) visual effects designer I could find led me to the Roger Corman Company. Corman is famous for making a lot of movies on very cheap budgets, employing first-timers who become big-timers—from Scorsese to Coppola to Howard. Everyone there was raving about a young hotshot who was the art director and visual effects guru on Roger’s latest $3-dollar (as in extremely low budget) sci-fi epic Battle Beyond the Stars. So I arranged to meet with him.

His name was James Cameron.

Jim showed me a very impressive 10-minute short he had made called Xenogenesis. It was a futuristic sci-fi robot/laser battle done for about a nickel on his kitchen table using miniatures. You just knew this young guy had one hell of a visionary mind and his tech genius would shine in the visual effects world. Jim reeked talent. Still, no one would have guessed he was going to become one of the greatest filmmakers of our time.

Jim has said that he had Avatar in mind for many years and was waiting till the visual effects world caught up to his vision so he could make the film. It’s true. The short film I saw had a walking robot machine driven by a human inside it. It was the initial primitive model he had designed 25 years earlier which became the dazzling human-driven machine we all ogled in the finale battle of his unforgettable, jaw-dropping AVATAR wonder when it premiered around the world in December 2009.

Jim liked the SHRIEK project, and was willing to leave Corman and come aboard as my production designer and visual effects specialist. He designed and built a very scary, hairy creature, complete with an expressive facial apparatus that was remote controlled. It was probably the most advanced and inventive creature ever built on the pennies we had. He even built the giant box to ship it to New Orleans. Cameron was incredibly resourceful and a very hard-working guy. His focused dedication to his work, even then, was mind-boggling.

At the time, I was living in Laurel Canyon with roommates, and we had thrown a kick-off party the Saturday before we were scheduled to leave for New Orleans. James showed up at the party looking bummed out. He told me he had bad news. He explained Roger Corman had found out he was leaving to design my film. Roger, known for his ability to spot talent, was not letting Jim go so easily. Roger promised to give Jim his first feature as a director if Jim continued working for him. Roger had correctly sensed Jim was a major talent. He fought to keep him.

Jim felt bad letting me down, especially a week before we started shooting, but Roger was dangling a dream apple. Cameron had no choice; he really wanted to direct a film. Two days earlier, after months of working together, we had packed the Cameron monster in its custom case, and got it to the airport. Now, at our kickoff party, he was handing me the keys to the case. We hugged and wished each other well. I’m sure he later heard SHRIEK was never made. He obviously made the better choice by staying with Corman. Had I unknowingly come close to ruining or delaying James Cameron’s career had he left Roger to do my film? Would his career path have been altered? Destiny can be a strange, unpredictable force in Hollywood…ask anyone.

Within a year, Roger kept his promise and gave Jim his first feature, the very low-budget Piranha Part Two: The Spawning. I had heard it was a miserable film for Jim to make, and he was locked out of the editing room. I’m sure he had his own producer battles; most powerless, young directors do on their first films. But I am also sure the directing experience must have helped Cameron secure the directing reins on Terminator. As they say, the rest is history.

Jim was such a great talent, I’m sure he would have found a way to make his films with or without Roger. Nothing could have deterred him from his destiny to become one of our greatest filmmakers. As an old director friend who hired Jim early in his career, I am in awe of his amazing accomplishments and of the visual breath of his cinematic work.

Photo: Me and the creature Jim Cameron built for my movie SHRIEK, which had servo-controlled facial features. For the pennies he built it with, it was amazing and very effective.

Avatar is a mind-blowing wonder, a truly magical film experience in every sense. It is absolutely an industry game-changer, and has helped reignite the 3-D craze. Jim made both the first and the second biggest box-office, record-grossing movies in the history of cinema. I doubt any other director will ever match that in the history of mankind.

Bravo, Jim. In my book, you are indeed the undisputed king of the film world!

Author Interview

Guy Magar was nine years old when he left Egypt in 1958. His family immigrated to the U.S., where he grew up in Middletown, NY. Graduating from Rutgers University with a B.A. in philosophy, Guy began his film career at the London Film School.

Guy has over 100 film credits, including La Femme Nikita, The A-Team, Blue Thunder, The Young Riders, Hunter, and the daytime drama Capitol. He was nominated in 1995 for a Golden Reel award for his TV work on the series Nowhere Man.

Guy’s film work includes ‘Lookin’ Italian’ starring Matt LeBlanc and Lou Rawls (in their first feature film); Stepfather 3, and the cult thriller Retribution (look for it on DVD this year!). His most recent feature directing credit is Children of the Corn: Revelation, based on Stephen King’s original story for Dimension Films.

Guy is the founder of the Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars which provides ‘page to screen’ industry workshops. He’s taught thousands of filmmakers at over 100 weekend seminars in the USA and internationally. He’s also the founder of the Action/Cut Short Film Competition, which MovieMaker magazine called one of the ‘Top 10 Shorts Festivals in the World for Filmmakers!’

Guy continues to provide consultancy services for directors, screenwriters, and private coaching for actors. Contact him at http://kissmequickbeforeishoot.com or http://actioncut.com.

Guy lives in the Hollywood Hills with Jacqui, his beautiful wife of twenty-six years.


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 
I would travel back to 1776 where I could meet with the Founding Fathers and explain to them how automatic weapons work in our modern times and ask if they would kindly change the wording of our Constitution for all the NRA morons out there who think that when they said we could keep weapons at home in order to form militias if need be – they meant single shot simple guns which is all they knew at the time and NEVER could imagine automatic weapons that could mow down 70 people in a movie theater by a demented lunatic!

Of all the insanity in America, open buying automatic weapons and ammunition at will with zero gun control is certainly a top ten shameful horror of our nation…and #1 in the white trash/blue collar moronic NRA divide with the rest of America. All those folks who believe in no sane adjustments or interpretations of the Constitution regardless of 235 years of industrial progress are a disgrace to the well-being and safety of all Americans, including keeping our collective IQ to a stupefying low level of idiocy in front of the rest of the world. That’s worth fixing going back in time to add the right progressive reform what-ifs to the Constitution.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? 
President Obama and First Lady Michelle, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, Ghandi, and Jesus Christ.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? President John F. Kennedy.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book
If you love the magic of the movies and love to read behind-the-scenes stories, if you’re a romantic at heart and wish to share the joys of a true love marriage that started with a Renaissance wedding, and if you would enjoy an informal, wild and crazy fun memoir about making dreams come true, then this is the book for you.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
The response to the book has been so overwhelming with so many people expressing how surprisingly engaged and entertained they were with the storytelling, it gave me the idea to adapt it as a stage play. As soon as I complete the playscript of the book, I will look for a theater company in Los Angeles to put it up. I look forward with great anticipation to cast it and direct it. If Carrie Fisher can do it so successfully with her memoir, so can I.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? 
Since I became a director first, it then dawned on me that finding great projects and nurturing them through development and financing and production was paramount to making features and creating TV shows and being in charge of my own destiny. Being a director for hire worked great with my television work, but if I could find great projects that inspired me as a filmmaker, then I could produce them and work on my own features, which are much longer time-commitments.

The problem is it is difficult and extremely time-consuming to read hundreds of scripts to find the one gem that resonates with my sensibilities. The really good stuff is optioned by studios while in galley form who have pre-arranged deals with the big publishers.

For the rest of us, we gotta mine for gold. It is a lot easier and a much more exciting journey to write your own projects and tell the stories you want to see on film. So for me, the best and most exciting job in the movie world is as a director/writer and the most fun and adrenaline rush I’ve ever had was when I directed my own screenplays. That writing experience gave me the confidence that I know how to tell a good story. When my wife Jacqui was diagnosed with leukemia, out of the blue in late 2008, we embarked on a new journey that was very emotional and amazingly inspiring. Her bravery and courage throughout what turned out to be a challenging six months ended in a medical triumph of her healing. That inspired me to tell the world about this “celebration of life” and it took the form of writing my memoir.

I had never thought about a memoir before, but somehow it all just flowed out of me in a once-a-lifetime, super-inspired, writing journey that took four months to complete. It then took 15 months of rewrites to get it to a place that I thought was ready to publish. My discipline as a screenwriter who knows the great value of “rewriting” – which is what true writing is all about – guided me throughout this writing process. I’m satisfied with the reading journey and the entertaining story that my book offers its readers.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
For me, as for all writers, the feedback from readers is what is the most rewarding. As a filmmaker, the audience in the movie theaters are the folks I want to hear from regarding their cinematic experience watching my films or at home watching my TV shows. When I hear from readers how “engaged” they became with my memoir or how they enjoyed the “passionate voice” telling the story like an old friend while sharing a cappuccino with them, that’s special to me, as that was my intention.

The 4 and 5 star reviews are great too because reviewers read so many books, so many memoirs, and to be able to stand out in such a crowded world and receive such reviews recommending readers to get this book is very gratifying. The San Francisco Book Review said, “If you’re going to read one Hollywood memoir this year, this is the one!

What is your dream cast for your book? 
There is a great true story in the book about almost decapitating Drew Barrymore at my house when she was 8 and had just finished ET. Her mother was friends with my wife Jacqui who had babysat for Drew when she was younger. They were up on our balcony at 2AM returning an evening gown Jacqui had loaned her Mom for some award show.

Anyways, I thought they were burglars and I came charging out with my machete ready to chop heads. It was a crazy night! Now, Drew’s a beautiful accomplished actress and she would be our first choice to play Jacqui when this book goes to film. We’d need a European to play me and one of our favorite actors is Javier Bardem, and he’d be great.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 
The song “Give in to Me” from the film Country Strong soundtrack album comes to mind. That film was very underrated and never got its full due which was a real shame. It is by far Gwyneth Paltrow’s best performance and in my book she deserved the Oscar for it. The song is one of the most memorable and romantic in years. It reminded me of how Jacqui and I reacted when we first met…and we’re still at it thirty magical years later. I “give in to her” all over again, every day!

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Like anything else we choose to seriously do in life, we need to do it well and to the best of our abilities. I wish to inspire authors as I also do screenwriters to be great at their work and that means years of working and learning, and constantly dedicated to becoming better storytellers.

Pride of authorship is paramount and most people rush their works to get it out there before it’s the best it can be. The proliferation of ebooks has exploded the self-publish world and just because it is now easy and inexpensive to put out an ebook does not mean the responsibility of an author to deliver the best possible work to its readers has diminished or is no longer of value.

If you want to write, then do all you can to follow your passion to inspire your self-discipline to make sure you become the very best writer you can be. This can take years of studying and writing and especially rewriting. Writing is no less an art-form than any other art. How many great artists are out there?

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 
Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Celebrity / Memoir / Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the book
Connect with Guy Magar on Facebook & Twitter
Website http://www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com/

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting and I hope your visitors enjoyed the interview and James Cameron story.