Interview // Burt Weissbourd, Author of Danger in Plain Sight
Thank you, Burt, for stopping by Reading A Page Turner and sharing some background on your writing with our readers.
From your about page, one can learn you have a history with the screenplay. Can you elaborate on the inspiration pulled from this history to write your books?
The screenwriting experience that most affected, most inspired, my novel writing was actually learned as a movie producer, working with wonderful screenwriters. I saw how hard it was for even the most talented writers to get it right. How many missteps, how many rewrites, how hard it was to set the bar at perfection, and how difficult it was to reach it. I stuck with it, supporting them to go as far toward that bar as they could, and learned that as you got more experienced, you grew more confident that you could reach what you were going for and, as importantly, know when you had it. It was invaluable when I began writing to believe and finally know that if I kept at it, rewrote, and then rewrote again, I could get where I wanted to go, know when I got there, and happily move on to the next project.
Have you found that your books take on a similar theme or once you start writing, they take on their own path?
All of my books eventually turn on self-awareness as the protagonists gain genuine insight. My central characters are able to make unexpected, helpful decisions as they become more self-aware.
What was your most satisfying moment while writing Danger in Plain Sight?
The most satisfying moment for me while writing Danger in Plain Sight was when Callie understood exactly what she must do to save Cash’s life. It’s bold, even courageous, and totally out of character, yet it felt absolutely true and right. It grew out of her growing certainty about what she felt for him. Her clarity was very real and took me by surprise.
Did you find Danger in Plain Sight stayed along your chosen path or developed into a completely different book once completed?
Danger in Plain Sight stayed on my chosen path, but it’s actual execution, Callie kidnapping Christy, was unexpected. It grew from Callie changing, being more aware and confident about who she was, and who she could be.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? Why this specific character?
I don’t have a favorite character from my books. I spend a long time thinking about my characters, working to give them specific, complex qualities, and have come to love all of them.
Can you tell us which of your books (or series) is your favorite?
Likewise, I don’t have a favorite book or series. This question is a little bit like asking me as a parent, who is my favorite child. Of course, I love them all.
If you only had one sentence to capture a new reader for your books, what would it be?
I’d tell readers that my books will help them to understand and value the importance of self-awareness. Further, I’d like to help them learn to differentiate between genuine self-awareness and imagined often contrived or fabricated wishful awareness.
What author has inspired you the most in your writing?
I think Ross Macdonald has been the biggest influence on my writing. I worked with him closely on his only screenplay, based on his book THE INSTANT ENEMY, and he taught me a lot about how complex characters can drive a very complicated story.
Can you tell us your favorite book and why?
I have several favorite books including THE CHILL by Ross Macdonald, Scott Turow’s PRESUMED INNOCENCE, Elmore Leonard’s RAYLIN or MAXIMUM BOB, and Jame’s Welch THE INDIAN LAWYER. All of these books have original carefully drawn characters, and the plots are character-driven.
What one book do you recommend that every thriller lover read (not including your books)?
Any of the books above.
Of course, we have to know, what is in-store next – books, events, etc.?
I’m now finishing a book, ROUGH JUSTICE, I started years ago. It’s also a thriller, with a wide canvas going from Hollywood in the 80s and 90s to Seattle, Chicago, Paris, Vancouver Island, and then Laos. When I finish this, I intend to write the sequel to DANGER IN PLAIN SIGHT when Cash and Callie are together.
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Burt Weissbourd is a novelist and former screenwriter and producer of feature films. He was born in 1949 and graduated cum laude from Yale University, with honors in psychology. His book, Danger in Plain Sight, published on May 15th 2020, is the first book in his new Callie James thriller series. His earlier books include Inside Passage, Teaser, Minos, and In Velvet, all of which will be reissued in Fall 2020.
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