Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Ethan Furman author of The Nubivagants. Ethan is a marketing copywriter and freelance screenwriter, having sold and optioned several feature length screenplays to DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures, and other studios and production companies. He hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. The Nubivagants is his first novel.
Norm: Good day Ethan and thanks for participating in our interview.
How did you get started in writing screenplays? What keeps you going?
Ethan: I interned at a production company while I was in college, and all I did was read screenplays all day. To be honest, most of them were pretty bad. Yet all of these scripts were being submitted by agents and managers. I just thought, “Man, I can write better than this, if this is all it takes to get an agent.” So I started writing. What keeps me going is I genuinely enjoy writing, and it’s about the only thing I feel I’m legitimately good at.
Norm: What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Ethan: Reading and writing seem to be kind of timeless, right? It’s a medium that’s pretty much always existed and always will. So the future will be a lot like the present, which is a lot like the past: people will always want to read stories and ideas that resonate with them.
Norm: How did you become involved with the subject or theme of The Nubivagants and how much research went into its writing?
Ethan: I’m not sure, to be honest with you. The idea of living in the clouds has always been kind of a magical, fantastical notion of mine. And the fact that Matthew is just different, I mean, that doesn’t take a degree in psychology to decipher. I was a pretty shy, introverted kid when it came to socializing and making friends. My biggest dream as a kid was fitting in and being liked. I didn’t really do much research for the book - just when I didn’t know something factual, like the way electricity works. Otherwise, it was all imagination.
Norm: Did your experience writing screenplays influence the way you wrote your novel? If so, explain.
Ethan: Yes. Screenplays are typically written in three acts, and this story has three distinct acts. In addition, the story beats of The Nubivagants are very similar to the way movies unfold (setup, inciting incident, debate, etc.). That’s just the way I learned to tell stories.
Norm: What were your goals and intentions in this book? Did you write the story to express something you believe or was it just for entertainment? As a follow up, what would you say is the best reason to recommend someone to read your book?
Ethan: My goal was honestly just to get this story out, because I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a long time, but for some reason I never really saw it as a screenplay. I really wanted to express the frustration and sadness of what it’s like as a child to feel different, and to want nothing in the world so badly as to just be like everyone else. Any child who can relate to that feeling is someone I think could relate to this story. I also recommend parents read the book out loud to their child. It was really written as a sort of bedtime story.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Ethan: Editing. The first draft was much longer, and included a 10-year time lapse, a romance, and even a pregnancy - all stuff I ultimately realized would be a little too mature for my intended audience.
Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Ethan: I really enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t restricted the way I am when writing a screenplay. Screenplays have a certain page limit, and you are limited in ways you aren’t in writing a book. For instance, as the narrator, I can describe what a character is thinking and feeling. In a screenplay, I have to find a way to show that, either in action or dialogue.
Norm: Did you write the book more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
Ethan: Certainly some combination. I think that’s how it must be with any writer, unless you’re so completely calculating as to write whatever you think will sell, with absolutely no feeling behind it. For me, the intuition comes first, as I try to just get the story down on paper. Then the logic takes over, as I try to shape it into something that will be more appealing to the reader.
Norm: Would you like to turn your book into a screenplay and if so, which actor would you like to play the role of Matthew Mitchell?
Ethan: If someone wanted to make this story into a movie, I’d love to turn it into a screenplay. I’m not really up on current child stars, so I’d have to get back to you on my casting choices.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and The Nubivagants?
Norm: What is next for Ethan Furman?
Ethan: I’d like to get back to screenwriting. I took a break from that to write Nubivagants, but it really is my first love. I’m going to start by revisiting a script I wrote a few years ago, a modern romantic comedy.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Ethan: I suppose I would have liked to talk about my writing influences. Ronald Dahl is the unquestioned master of children’s fiction, and The Nubivagants is my best Roald Dahl impersonation.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors