Monday, May 7, 2012

A CHAT WITH AUTHOR/ACTOR STEPHEN JARED

Cover by Atula Siriwardane
Author/Actor Stephen Jared
Writers come from a multitude of backgrounds as varied as their genres
Recently, The Free Choice E-zine had the opportunity to chat with actor turned author Stephen Jared upon the release of his second novel Ten A Week Steale.

The Free Choice E-zine: The cover looks like the novel harkens back to the days of Sam Spade and The Maltese Falcon. Please tell us a little about your latest work.
Stephen Jared: It’s set in the early days of Hollywood. A WW1 vet takes jobs from his brother who is the lieutenant governor of California. The vet thinks he’s just pushing around bad guys but then discovers his actions are part of a complex plan. He’s being manipulated to engage in corruption. Meanwhile, his girlfriend is an adorable silent film star who loves him desperately. Their relationship turns tricky. As he becomes public enemy number one, the movie studio doesn't want her seen with him because she’s a public figure. The book is a Solstice Publishing release.

TFCE: This is your second novel. How did you go from acting to writing?
JARED: I’m still an actor. I did an episode of iCarly a while back and just shot another episode where I returned as the same character that will air May 12, 2012. I have a small part in an independent film with Robert Carlyle (currently Mister Gold/Rumpelstiltskin on Once Upon A Time) coming out in the fall, called California Solo. I was writing screenplays without success. Over the years Hollywood has changed a lot, making it even harder to break in, and I changed a lot too, wanting to have a bigger voice in some of the creative endeavors I was involved in, wanting to look at a product and be able to say, “That’s mine. That reflects me.” Acting is collaborative and I enjoy that aspect of it, but it’s also nice to have something that’s all me—the way a painter does—a work of art with my name on it, and was created without me having to answer to anyone else.

TFCE: How are the two aspects of your career(s) similar or different?
JARED: They are similar in that what actors and writers express has to have a relatable component in order to draw an audience in, and then the work has to be believable and interesting enough to hold the audience. They differ in that writing is a creative art form while acting is interpretive. As an actor your job is to help another person’s vision become realized. The writer, on the other hand, provides the vision.

TFCE: Why do you write what you do?
JARED: I write in the areas that have always spoken most profoundly to me as a fan. I like the golden age of Hollywood. I like stories with a lot of exterior action and drama as opposed to a lot of introspective meditation. I like escapism, and I think if someone is seeking philosophical value in works of art that can be found in escapism; it just might not be as readily apparent. As example, Indiana Jones always loses the treasure in the end; that says something.

TCFE: What inspires you to write?
JARED: I think it used to be vanity more than anything else. I just thought it would be cool to be a writer. At some point, after many years, I think it became a way of putting the chaotic pieces of my life and the world into a cohesive whole so that I could understand life more, appreciate it more, and at least pretend to make some sense out of it. It became therapeutic. It’s a way of organizing thoughts and emotions. When I pick up one of my books and read it, I recognize what I’m reading as me. But it’s well organized. It’s coherent and it makes sense; and yet, amazingly, it’s my thoughts and emotions, which tend to be scattered even on the best of days. So there’s a terrific benefit to writing, just in coping with life.
   
TFCE: What has influenced your style and technique?
Also by Stephen Jared
JARED: Being an actor has influenced my writing in that it taught me to be true to myself. I think acting helped me to find my voice as a writer. This was particularly important when writing Ten-A-Week Steale, because a lot of writers covering that ground—a crime thriller set in old Los Angeles—might find it too tempting to slip into some other writer’s voice. I just try to keep things simple and tell the story in as dramatic a fashion as I can. I don’t think about style. I do, however, consider the tone carefully. Jack and the Jungle Lion has a light, brisk tone to it that obviously would have been wrong for Steale.  

TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
JARED: I think my life will remain relatively the same. I hope it will. If within more conversations my name comes up, that will be terrific. I’d love to have strangers say to friends and colleagues, “Oh, if you’re a fan of classic movies, you have to read Stephen Jared’s books.”

TFCE: Has there ever been an interview question you have not been asked but would love to answer, and if so, what is it and your response?
JARED: I can’t think of one. But I will take advantage of the opportunity to push the cover artists I’ve worked with. Paul Shipper did Jack and the Jungle Lion and the Ten-A-Week Steale cover is by Atula Siriwardane. Both were directed to create covers that resembled old-Hollywood movie posters. I’m extremely proud to have worked with them. They did amazing work.

TFCE: Any other projects you would like to promote?
JARED: The new episode of iCarly (called iPear Store) is going to premiere May 12, 2012. As all the episodes do, it will repeat many times throughout the year. And, I’m nearly finished with the sequel to Jack and the Jungle Lion. Paul Shipper is working on the cover for that right now. Anyone who enjoyed Jack will not be disappointed with the sequel.

TFCE: Thank you for your time Stephen.
JARED: You're welcome.

Stephen Jared's novels can be acquired via Amazon.com in print or E-formats.

2 comments:

Nik said...

Thanks for a great interview with interesting insights. It's a great book, highly recommended!

Mary H. Collins said...

What a great interview Jared! I'll have to ask my granddaugter what channel ICarly comes on so I can watch the episode you're in.