Please welcome Phil Brody, author of The Holden age of Hollywood, to the House Millar. Today he dropped by to answer some questions for us and he’s even left us a wonderful excerpt and giveaway! Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on this tour for more information about this book and author.
Title: The Holden Age of Hollywood
Author: Phil Brody
Publisher: Medallion Press
Publication Date: July 17th 2012
Length: 296 pages
Tour Host: I.O. Book Tours
“Hollywood died on me as soon as I got here. Welles said that, not me, but damn if he didn’t nail it, you know?”
Sam Bateman came to Hollywood to settle a score, but amidst the sunny and 75, his plans went astray. Everything changed the day he drank in the intoxicating legend of Meyer Holden, the greatest screenwriter Hollywood has ever known, the one who pulled a Salinger and walked away. Holden now tacks pseudonyms onto his works and buries them in the bottomless sea of spec that is Hollywood’s development process. They’re out there for anyone to find—but at what cost? In his quest, Bateman severs all ties and sinks into a maddening world of bad writing and flawed screenplays. Paranoid and obsessive, the belligerent savant encounters an eccentric cast of characters—each with an agenda—in his search for the one writer in Hollywood who does not want to be found.
Phil Brody’s The Holden Age of Hollywood is at once a detective novel, an unexpected love story, and a provocative exposé of a broken industry. With dark humor and incisive commentary, the novel immerses readers in a neo-noir quest to attain the Hollywood dream, integrity intact.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I relocated to Chicago after college, where I worked in advertising, at first on the account side before making the leap to the creative side as a copywriter. When I realized I was not doing what I really wanted to do in life, I quit my job and started moving in the left direction, which turned out to be the right direction. I ended up in LA, where I’ve worked in development, penned a few screenplays and short films, worked in documentary TV as a writer-producer-director, and wrote my novel, The Holden Age of Hollywood.
What or who inspired you to write? And how long have you been writing?
Well, Budd Schulberg wrote a novel called What Makes Sammy Run, which I read in college. It made me want to move to Hollywood and become a writer, which I did. I was writing long before heading west, though. I think I began crafting stories sometime in high school.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While I think I always wanted to write, I did not consider myself a writer until I headed west. I see that now as an error in my ways. You are a writer from the moment you choose to write and you should call yourself a writer from day one. Jeff Goins, a fantastic writer and popular blogger, recently wrote a great book entitled You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), and he preaches calling yourself a writer from the get-go. I wish Jeff had written that book years ago. It might have sped up my process a bit.
What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
The Holden Age of Hollywood. It’s a modern detective novel, unexpected love story, and provocative exposé of a broken industry, which immerses readers in a neo-noir quest to attain the Hollywood dream, integrity intact.
What sparked the idea for your book?
It’s pretty common for any writer who spends enough time here — or does time in Hollywood as it’s referred to in the book – wants to write about it. The old adage is, ‘write what you know’ and I know Hollywood. However, I refused to write a “typical” Hollywood book about down-and-out talent struggling to be discovered. I think that scenario has been played out. When I stumbled upon a way to turn that world upside down, though, and analyze it via my conceit of "searching for the one writer in Hollywood who does not want to be found," I smiled, knew I had something, and I ran with it.
I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?
WARNING: Reading the words of this author will seriously make you want to grab a drink with him in the near future.
If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
The Holden Age of Hollywood is told in the first person. So, I gave my main character ample opportunity to speak and, well, he took the mic and ran with it.
LOL. Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
I love my characters a lot and miss them in many ways. They all have these distinct voices in my head and on the page. My main character, Sam Bateman, speaks the loudest—after all, he’s a self-proclaimed belligerent savant. Having said that, the antagonist in the novel, Justin Lackey, gives him a run for the money in the bravado department.
How did you come up with the title?
The book used be called something else and during the editing process we all agreed a name change was in order, We batted around a lot of possible titles, but ultimately settled on The Holden Age of Hollywood, which is a reference in the book.
Is any of the book based on your real life experiences?
< p align="justify">Yes and no. It’s a work of fiction. The book is an allegory or extended metaphor for that creative battle those chasing the dream out here deal with on a daily basis. I made up the characters and the scenarios that drive the plot. None of that happened to me or anyone else. Within those scenes and that plot, though, a lot of experiences, personalities, and places I’ve come into contact with are embedded into the prose. After reading the book, people do often ask, ‘is this character based on you?’ However, that just tells me I’ve written something that’s resonating with people. And that makes me happy.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
This book is not part of a series. I am presently working on my second novel. Like Holden, the new book combines genres. It’s called The Dog Wonder, and this time it’s part thriller, part detective novel, an unexpected love story, and a quest to prove a theory as to why man’s best friend would ever attack their friend.
Who designed the cover of your book?
The very talented James Tampa at Medallion Press designed the cover of my novel.
Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?
I see myself in 2017. See how I did that?
Cheeky If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I love LA and think I’ll always be here, although . . . London, Maui, and Chicago during baseball season often beckon.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
I wish I had the opportunity to meet Budd Schulberg when he was still alive. Just to say, ‘thanks’ and ‘can I buy you a drink?’
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I love books. Physical books—paperbacks, hardbacks, comic books, graphic novels, etc. I love the feel of them in my hands and the look of them on my shelves. Having said that, getting on a plane and heading on holiday with a mere Kindle packed with a small library of books is pretty choice. Long story short, I love both.
Are you a self published (Indie) Author or big trad published?
The Holden Age of Hollywood was published by Medallion Press.
How do you market/promote your books?
In any possible way. Virtual blog tours, websites (theholdenageofhollywood.com), Facebook, Twitter, etc. Promoting via social media is an amazing thing these days, but I also enjoy and lean on the old fashioned method of hitting the campaign trail, shaking hands, and kissing a lot of babies.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
There is no formula except writer something great and hope it resonates with readers. Then pray those readers tell everyone they know.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer’s block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Well, writing every day can be tough. The blank page is pretty intimidating and the process of crafting a story of any length can be maddening at times and writer’s block can rear its ugly head. Personally, I believe writing in various mediums is healthy. If I am feeling uncreative while working on a novel, I switch to a screenplay or a Blog posting and it helps me avoid those frustrating stretches of writer’s block.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? What has been the best component?
People used to say my female characters lacked depth and substance. I took that as a challenge and feel I’ve succeeded in crafting memorable characters of both sexes in recent years. One female character in particular from The Holden Age of Hollywood has been eliciting rave reviews from the most important sex—females. Actually, both women and men seem to like her a lot, so win win for me.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I’m a writer, therefore I drink.
Have you ever read a book more than once?
Absolutely. Aren’t those the very best kind?
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
No. I am of the book-is-always-better mindset. However, I am ecstatic when the movie version is as good as the book—e.g. Fight Club, Sideways, Silence of the Lambs.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My standard, often repeated advice is three-fold:
- Upon ‘finishing’ your book, there’s still a lot of work to be done. You have to polish and edit, and my advice is to find someone you trust to help with that process.
- A compelling query letter is key, along with perseverance.
- If you don’t believe in your book, you won’t succeed in selling your book.
What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Just write. No excuses. Just write every day.
What are your pet peeves?
People that ask about my pet peeves have been topping that list lately. I’ll tell you about my pet peeves when I know you better. Isn’t that how it should be?
Cats or dogs?
White wine or red?
Coffee or tea?
Sushi, pizza, or a really great burger.
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Mint Chocolate Chip. Sorry, I am unfamiliar with the flavours you mentioned.
Mmm… finally someone picked my fav! What are 4 things you never leave home without?
My iPhone, shoes, pants, and a destination in mind.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
Desktop. Although I can write via laptop or iPad if need be.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I can find inspiration and write anywhere. However, most of my writing happens in my den, staring first thing in the morning.
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Tom Hanks (CASTAWAY), Evangeline Lilly (LOST), and and Robinson Crusoe. Get the idea?
One of your favourite quotes:
Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Other times I let her sleep.
List 3 of your all time favourite books?
What Makes Sammy Run, The Sun Also Rises, and Fight Club
List 3 of your all time favourite movies?
Three Days of the Condor, Star Wars, and The Godfather
An actor you have a crush on:
The very married but very lovely Odette Annable
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
It’s looking like Breaking Bad will go down in my personal history as the greatest TV show of all time.
Where can your readers stalk you?
I go to Runyon Canyon in Hollywood every day to exercise and I can often be found sipping some racer 5 at happy hours around town. If you see me, don’t stab me and I might buy you a drink.
Reviews have been rolling in and here’s what the critics have to say:
“The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody delivers the premise and promise of its title. It is an original, rollicking, picaresque novel that would make J.D. Salinger proud.”
~ Stan Corwin, former publisher/CEO of Pinnacle Books, author of Betty Page Confidential and Oxy-Morons I Have Known
“Brody’s debut novel has an ambitious agenda. It’s a coming-of-age novel, a mystery, a love story, and a stinging, knowing send-up of the movie biz. Brody melds these disparate elements with energy, wit, snarky insider dialogue, and a clipped, telegraphic narrative style. . . The Holden Age of Hollywood is fine entertainment."
~ Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (May 1, 2012)
“As the sun came up today, I turned the last page of Phil Brody’s The Holden Age of Hollywood. That’s because I couldn’t put it down. I can rarely make time for novels, but this one had me rifling through pages with constant anticipation. The back drop of this story is the same backdrop I live and work in. Hollywood. With all its fast-talkers, posers, and users, Brody weaves a tale through all the madness that is Hollywood with a voice of reason, integrity, and hilarious sarcasm. . . I have rarely been this entertained, while being informed, all from reading the same book."
~ Doug Jones, Actor, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy I and II, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
“If anyone knows Hollywood, author Phil Brody knows Hollywood. The Holden Age of Hollywood is a cynical and witty look at the real town . . . exposing the often underappreciated business of screenwriting, all while unfolding an unexpected love story. . . .”
~ Jessica Druck, The Five-Stir
“Readers will enjoy watching a fascinating Bateman get sucked into the Hollywood drama machine. Filled with a quirky cast working humorous scenes, this is a fascinating character study as Bateman goes the extraordinary extra kilometer to find a Holden screenplay.”
~ Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Reviews (June 18, 2012)
The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody
excerpt from Chapter 1: Doing Time
I escape to the patio, perch myself at the bar, where the bartenders can’t pour the Red Bull or the Kettle One fast enough. I watch them work, mesmerized by the stampede for this overhyped mixture of depressant and upper. I know no one uses terms like that anymore— depressant, upper. Call me old-fashioned. Actually, call me well-rounded. Helps me do my job and deal with the reason I’m doing time in this town. Drink to that.
“Another gin and tonic?”
I nod once to my best friend at this party, my only friend in this fucking town—the bartender. Not this bartender per se. Every bartender. They mix a cure for what ails me. Sure, it’s a momentary cure, but those are some of my happiest moments. Way it is.
Too many people. Too loud. Attitudes starting to asphyxiate. I stare at the sea of lights, the view from the Hills of this coldfuckcold city that’s 75 degrees every day. It’s an endless four- story grid of isolated, lock-the-door-behind-you lives, where everyone is either so wrapped up in creating their own success story or so damaged from their failure that resentment for one another is all we have in common.
Lights everywhere twinkle, look so inviting, but it’s a trick. I know it.
ody lives in Los Angeles and writes every day. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he relocated to Chicago after college and enjoyed a successful career in Chicago in advertising. After moving to LA, Brody toiled in development, penned a few spec scripts, and has worked as a writer, producer, and director in documentary TV. His short film, A Blue Christmas, was the grand prize winner in The Short Film Group’s First Annual Script Competition and was acknowledged in the WorldFest-Houston and Cleveland International Film Festivals. Brody is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio and an alumnus of Writers Boot Camp in Santa Monica, California. The Holden Age of Hollywood is his first novel.
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