Interview With The Author: Will Staples
John Dwaine McKenna
Will Staples is a busy busy man. He’s not only a first-rate novelist, whose newest work Animals is reviewed in Mysterious Book Report No. 442, but an award winning screenwriter, producer and video game writer whose success is measured in Oscars, Golden Globes and billions of dollars in box office. At the same time, he’s an open, friendly and down-to-earth man with serious conservation and environmental concerns that he’s bringing to all of our collective attention. With many thanks for your time, expertise and insights Mr. Staples, here’s our first question . . .
When do you write?
I am someone who shows up at the office at 9am and leaves at 5pm, with an additional late night session when I am up against a deadline. Generally, my most productive hours are in the morning when the coffee is fresh and my head is clear of all the other noise that seeps in throughout the day.
Where do you write?
I have an office in Venice, California that I share with another writer. It’s great to have someone to talk through story challenges when I need a little outside perspective from an expert.
Are any of your characters autobiographical?
I put a little piece of myself into every character I write, including most of the primary characters in Animals.
Who inspired you to write?
In the case of Animals, I was inspired by getting to know Jane Goodall and by other friends who have dedicated their lives to protecting the earth. It seemed like using my particular skills to support the cause was the least I could do. That is why 100% of my proceeds from the book are going to non-profits protection wildlife.
What’s the most important element for writing success?
Hard work. Nearly every great quote about writing is some version of this sentiment.
What makes a character compelling?
I love characters who have a fundamental paradox built into them, or a circle they can’t square. When a character is at war with her/himself, it creates great internal conflict in every scene.
Do you plot-outline or wing it?
I like developing complex plots that don’t necessarily deliver what the audience wants, but what they need. To deliver this type of nuanced payoff, it requires layering in the appropriate setups and turns throughout the story, and in my opinion this is impossible without proper preparation/planning.
Do you use humor in your work?
Yes. Sometimes intentionally!
Do you have any other comments, suggestions, tips, anecdotes, quotes or inspirational material you’d like to share?
Quote: My favorite quote about writing is Zola’s “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.” As for tips/advice: Don’t get arrested in Myanmar.
Where could you be reached on the World Wide Web?
Twitter: @stapleswill, Instagram:_willstaples, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1475436/
All best wishes for continued success, and please, keep ‘em coming!