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Meet Writer/Director Christopher Angel
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on April 23, 2013
 


Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews writer/director Christopher Angel


                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Today, Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Christopher Angel. Christoper is a professional film-maker. His most recent movie as a writer/director This Is Not A Test, a satire about domestic terrorism aired on Showtime. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on James Cameron’s documentary, Expedition Bismark, and won a student Academy Award for his short film, Mr. October.  He has recently authored The Mona Lisa Speaks.

Christopher received his B.A. from Yale University, where he was a Humanities major, and an MFA in film-making from the University of Southern California.

Good day Christopher and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm:

How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Christopher:

My passion for writing and storytelling goes back to childhood. One of my strongest memories of 8th grade is being asked to read a very, very long story I wrote to my English class, trying to refuse because I was shy, and then being astounded as my classmates clamored to hear more and find out what happened in the end.

I still get that same thrill when I share a film or written story I created with an audience. And I find that impulse reinforced by telling stories to my five year old daughter, and watching her start to create her own.

Norm:

What would you say is the best reason to recommend someone to read The Mona Lisa Speaks and could you tell our readers something about the book?

Christopher:

I hope people find the book to be a fun, entertaining, thrilling summer read. The story follows a Canadian computer programmer, hired to update the Louvre’s systems, who has to steal the Mona Lisa and replace it with a perfect copy. He does all this to save the life of the woman he loves, and their child-to-be. The true complications begin after he steals the Mona Lisa, and faces betrayal and double-cross at every turn.

The story is a fictional update of the story behind the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. I’ve added in the elements of modern computer security systems, and the power of computers to create perfect digital copies. I also hope I created the feel of a foreigner falling in love with Paris – so people can travel in their imaginations as they read.

Norm:

How would you compare the process of writing The Mona Lisa Speaks with that of writing films?

Christopher:

I like to describe film writing as a “haiku on every page.” You have to be very economical in a screenplay, and you have to be external – you have to describe what the camera can see, or what an actor can portray. In The Mona Lisa Speaks, I’ve really enjoyed creating the internal voice of my main character, Robertson Ross, and also taking the luxury to spend some precious words describing the beautiful city of Paris. Also, the sheer scale of a novel complicates the writing process – in re-writing a one hundred page screenplay, you can make a radical new choice and execute it fairly quickly. If you pull apart one strand of a novel, it can be months of work! I also suspect that, given my background as a film-maker, people will find this book to have a cinematic tone and style!

Norm:

How did you decide you were ready to write your book? Where did you get your information or ideas for the book?

Christopher:

Great question. I was inspired by my own visit to the Louvre, where I dared ask the question, “why is the Mona Lisa so famous?” I went straight to Google, and found out that part of her fame was cemented by her theft in 1911. I became fascinated with what happened to her in the two years she was missing, and decided to update the story to modern times.

Norm:

What's the most difficult thing for you about being a writer?

Christopher:

The solitude of the writing process, and also keeping faith in your character and story: that they will find an audience at the end of the writing journey.

Norm:

What do you think makes a good story?

Christopher:

I always enjoy stories that are larger than life – those that depict the unexpected, quirky, and amazing aspects of human nature. Which means I also look for larger than life characters. I also think I’m secretly a bit of a romantic, so I enjoy stories about the great sacrifices people make for those they love.

Norm:

In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much is too much?

Christopher:

I feel that the answer is quite different for fiction and non-fiction. In non-fiction, I do believe a writer has a duty to stick to the facts, or report differences of opinion about facts. In a work of fiction, however, the ultimate arbiter is the audience’s willingness to suspend disbelief and to feel and share the emotions of a character. For this novel, I chose to create a work of fiction, because I was most interested in a speculative question – what happened to the thief and the Mona Lisa for the two years she was missing.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?


Christopher:

I have three passports – I was born in Boston, and raised in England and Canada. I like to think this happenstance of birth has led to an international, outward-looking point of view. I still love travelling to new places, and meeting people from all different backgrounds and cultures. It’s one of the things I Iove about Los Angeles (and Toronto) – you can take a quick trip to other countries within the boundaries of one city.

Directly, my upbringing in Canada led me to create a Canadian main character for The Mona Lisa Speaks. As they say, “write what you know,” and I felt I could best capture the voice of a Canadian abroad in this, my first novel.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and The Mona Lisa Speaks?

Christopher:

Our website:

My writer’s facebook page:

Twitter:

And, for extra fun, I’ve been twittering as the voice of the Mona Lisa:

Norm:

As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Christopher:

What’s next? I’m still going back and forth between films and novels. I’ve started on a sequel to The Mona Lisa Speaks, that follows my main characters in further adventures in Madagascar, called The Sapphire Screams. I can’t wait to share that with my readers.

Norm:

Thanks again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Christopher:

Thank you – and thank you for creating such a great website.

Follow Here To Purchase The Mona Lisa Speaks