Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Interview with Michael Mustizer

An award-winning independent filmmaker. For the last ten years, Michael has been writing and producing independent feature films and short films that have played in theaters and festivals around the world. 

His feature, The Coldest Winter has won awards for Best Action Feature from Hollywood Digital Fesival and Best Independent Feature from the Fargo Fantastic Film Festival. His earlier work Two Days with Juliet won it's lead actress Laura Yuhasz a Best Actress award in Philadelphia.

Michael is also a musician and has worked with a number of indie bands over the last twenty years as a lead singer and songwriter. His current band, Cooper's Kennel has singles available on iTunes and are currently recording a full length album. The Seven Isaacs is his first novel.

What will readers like about your book?

The book is a fast read. It is action packed and full of heavy cliffhangers that carry you from one chapter to the next. That being said, the real draw to the book is the humanity of the characters. The reader develops a very tight bond to the children who are the center of focus throughout the story and with that bond comes consequences. The children begin as blank slates with a preconceived notion of what the real world is and are thrust into a deep and introspective, and sometimes harsh view, of what their world is and what they have been sheltered from.

Why did you self publish?

I shopped my book around for quite a few months and as the rejections continued to come in from publishers and agents across the industry, I decided that it was going to be far easier and much more fulfilling to take care of it myself. I have used a similar tactic with my films in the past and seeing those residual checks come in over time is nice. It's like Christmas in the mailbox.

What is your writing process?

I have been writing for many years. I have written and produced a number of independent feature films. The biggest bad habit that I developed was that of writing at work. My various jobs have often afforded me time to put my words down on paper. Sometimes handwritten, sometimes typed. For my first novel, the process was no different. This time, the iPad was my muse and gave me the freedom to spew my creativity while on the go. I would tap into that vein in the cosmos that feeds us our words at any given moment and with the iPad, I was able to transcribe those thoughts instantly. I wrote A LOT at my day job.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

The first draft... well let's see I suppose overall it took me four years to write. In fits and starts. The original idea hit me in 2007, maybe 2008 and I spilled a few handwritten pages down on a yellow notepad. These were pages for a screenplay. A few days, maybe weeks later I pounded out the first three chapters over the course of a day or so. Then, I think I tapped out. I had used up those creative juices. A year later I picked it up and wrote another easy two chapters. The sixth chapter was the one that almost killed it. Writer's block. Divorce. Resistance. A new life. Call it what you will. It almost took me out. It wasn't until I had the iPad in hand that the ideas began to flow fluidly. I chopped away at the remaining chapters over the course of two weeks. At some point the ending hit me full force and then it was all a race to get there. I talk about it pretty in depth at my blog.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I don't really know what exactly set me on my course with this novel. I had an idea for seven human cloning children set out into the world after their lab had been shut down. I wanted a story that I couldn't put on screen. I knew these children were going to face death, and some not come back from it. I wanted something that was too hard for a regular audience to swallow. Thankfully, that's not what I ended up with. Somewhere along the way, I wrote the most human experience I could ever write and is probably more suitable for the screen than anything I have ever written. Bring it on Hollywood!

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