Friday, July 17, 2009

Hollywood Trivia Interview with young adult author Tom West, author of First Night, A Jackie and Alex Adventure

How would you convince seven shipwrecked individuals on a deserted island to read your book? If you were asked to give a speech on the Hollywood Book Walk of Fame who would you thank and why? What character name would you want on the Wheel of Fortune puzzle board? Find out all this and more today when The Real Hollywood’s Book chat welcomes author Tom Weston.

About the Book: Alexandra O'Rourke, aged 16, is not a happy camper. It's New Year's Eve. She should be partying in San Diego with her friends, but instead she is stuck in Boston, with just her younger sister, Jackie, for company. As if that wasn't bad enough, she is being haunted by Sarah, the ghost of a seventeenth century Puritan. Oh, and there is the small matter of the charge of witchcraft to be sorted out.

Armed only with big shiny buttons and a helping of Boston Cream Pie, the sisters set out to restore the Natural Order. Can Alex solve the mystery of the Devil's Book? Can Jackie help Sarah beat the sorcery rap? And can they do it before the fireworks display at midnight? Because this is First Night - and this is an Alex and Jackie Adventure.

1. Gilligan’s Island Trivia – Taking a three hour boat tour, you find yourself shipwrecked on this tiny little remote island where 7 people were also shipwrecked. How would you convince this varied audience to read your book? Remember on this island besides The Skipper, his little buddy Gilligan and MaryAnn, is the smart Professor, the rich Mr.& Mrs. Howell who have the money to make your book into a movie and Ginger the movie star who might have a starring role. Please talk to the audience not to me.

Hello fellow castaways. Good news – my suitcase finally washed up, and the copies of my book, First Night, that were inside it, are miraculously dry and in good shape. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I read was Gilligan’s diary – Oh, sorry Gilligan. So in the absence of television, I thought I’d share the book with you all. First Night is a ghost story set in Boston, on New Years Eve. Just like us, my book could be described as the story of a castaway, searching for a way to get home. I’m sure my little book has plenty for everyone.

Take you, for example, skipper. My book also has a skipper: Captain John Ayres, Master of the 16 guns merchant ship Rebekka. Just like you, he’s a man of action and a bit of a rogue, decisive yet fair, tough yet well respected.

And you, Mary Ann, you’re a county girl. In fact, I heard you say that, "The first thing I'll do when I get back home is bake an apple pie, milk the cow, and feed the chickens." So I know that you’ll love the character of Sarah Pemberton, who says, “I can plant crops and milk a cow. I can churn butter. I can cook. I can spin yarn. I can sew. I can make clothes. I can say my catechism. And my grandfather taught me how to make beer.” Not bad for a child, even if she is a Ghost.

And Professor, you know that mental exercise is as important as physical. So in the pages of this book, you’ll find mention of Harvard University, Homer, Ovid and Virgil, the philosophy of Plato, and Cartesian logic.”

Mrs. Howell, may I call you Luvey? Didn’t you and Mr. Howell meet at Harvard? I don’t want you to get the impression that the book is all farming and sea-faring, because it also includes shopping, and of course, Boston’s biggest social event of the season, New Years Eve – First Night. And my two Californian sisters, Alex and Jackie, love nothing better than to stop by Louis Vuitton; at least when they’re not partaking of the Boston Cream Pie at the Parker House.

Mr. Howell, may I call your lovely wife Luvey? Mr. Howell – Thurston – picture if you will the Puritans – forerunners of your Boston Brahmin ancestors. See them, not just as religious fanatics but also as men of business, ruthlessly cornering the market on the tropical island rum trade, by eliminating (quite literally) the competition. Thurston, it would make a great motion picture. Did I tell you that the book began as a screen play? We actually tested the climax of the book by creating a short five minute animation.

Ginger, you’re a movie star. If we could get Mr. Howell to back this, I’m sure that there would be a part for you in it. In fact, as I just told Thurston, I began First Night as a screenplay. That is how you should read it. It has it all: drama, comedy, action, mystery, All the main characters are strong and female. I smell Oscar. Of course, it doesn’t yet have a passionate love scene, but I’m sure we could add one in the rewrite.

And what, Gilligan, is in this book for you? Do you like mysteries? Do you like Ghost Stories? Do you like things that go bump in the night? Do you like to read such things on a dark and stormy night, with the wind howling, and the rain lashing through the palm trees? You do? Well then, here’s your copy of First Night.

2. Wheel of Fortune – you have been asked by the Wheel of Fortune writers to create a word puzzle spelling one of the books characters his/her name. Which character name would you want on the Wheel of Fortune puzzle board and why?

I would pick Sarah Pemberton, the ghostly heroine of First Night, just a child but “old beyond her years”, according to Uncle Jim. Sarah is the bridge between the different worlds of the 17th and 21st centuries.

3. Gone With the Wind – If Rhett Butler were to change his famous line from “Frankly, My Dear I don’t give a damn” to Frankly, My Dear I think you should read this paragraph from this bestselling novelist. What paragraph is Rhett referring to? Tell us how it fits into the novel?

My character Jackie, the younger sister of Alex, prides herself on being a movie buff. She has spent many an hour in front of the TV watching old movies, and loves to insert quotes from theses movies into the dialogue. She has seen Gone with the Wind at least half a dozen times. So, in answer to Scarlet’s question, "Where shall I go? What shall I do?" I think it would be fitting for Rhett to quote something from Jackie, such as:

“Never ask a question if you don’t already have the answer.”

Not that Jackie has all the answers, or even a single answer. She has a tendency to operate on instinct, and the principle that everything is connected, even if we don’t understand the connection.

4. Hollywood Book Walk of Fame – A bookstore in Hollywood, California had decided that books should have their own walk of fame. So they have lined the sidewalk in front of their store with book molds in the sidewalk. Your name is to appear on one of these book molds. You give an acceptance speech at the ceremony. What would you say and who would you thank?

First Night, the novel, would not exist if not for Boston and the First Night Festival, and I must thank them for supplying me with such wonderful material to work with. For those that do not know, the heart of the Festival is the First Night Inc., a non-profit organization that works year round so that our year end party is a success. I would encourage everyone to visit Boston, especially for New Years Eve. But in the meantime, I’d equally like to encourage every one to visit the good people at First Night, at their web site:

Thank you, Tom Weston for stopping by The Real Hollywood blog today. I wish you continued success on your virtual book tour and who knows your book might just make it to the silver screen.

Originally from England, Tom now hangs his hat in Boston, Massachusetts; with occasional spells in such faraway places as London and Luxembourg. Tom has a degree in Computer Science, and he claims to speak three languages: English, American, and Visual Basic. Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a systems consulting company, conference speaker, and writer of industry articles and business books.

As well as the novel, First Night, Tom has also written the screenplay, Fission, based on the true story of scientist, Lise Meitner, and the race for the atomic bomb. While Fission has yet to find a home in Hollywood, it garnered enough critical acclaim, including being named as a finalist at the London Independent Film Festival, that Tom was encouraged to keep on writing, resulting in his latest work which is, of course, First Night.

For more, check out:

Tom Weston's FIRST NIGHT VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 officially began on July 6th and will end on July 31st. You can visit Tom's blog stops at during the month of July to find out more about this great book and talented author!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.


Anonymous said...

Great questions Rebecca! This was a lot of fun. Regards, Tom.