The Big Idea: Steven R. Boyett

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And at this point I won’t exactly be burning any bridges when I opine that most of what’s good about that movie is me and Ken.)
Ken had this mental image of two warring, Braveheart-ish factions about to collide when something stops them. I jokingly describe Fata Morgana as a novel about a WWII bomber crew who fly into another novel. I write fiction. He’s been a storyboarder, head of story departments, and director for Hollywood studios for decades. Visit Boyett’s site. It has a ton of twists and surprises, and judging from the responses so far, they seem to have worked. A roaring from the sky. What was the harder part? Now I really want to write that. We hope you’ll find it a valuable member of the good society it has entered, and that it does us proud. But in the wake of Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan it seems a disservice now to look back on that war as an excuse to tell a Ripping Adventure Story. What those frighteningly young men went through was simply unbelievable, and the more we learned and the more the book took shape, the more we felt the awful weight of duty thrust upon an entire generation. Boyett explains, it’s everything else that he and co-writer Ken Mitchroney had to build up around that initial big idea. My fiction is often steeped in postapocalyptic imagery, what Salvador Dalí and Tears for Fears called “the beauty of decay.” Road trips are a big theme with me. He’s the single funniest guy I’ve ever met. A B-17 bomber smoking in on failing Wright Cyclone engines, crashlanding out of frame. This is clearly my first time around; I’m still in my shrinkwrap. It was just as true for the post-apocalyptic aspects of the novel: They went from plot device to holy crap, this is what it’d be like to live like this. (Oh, God. It has sections written in bullet time and dialogue you’d expect to hear on a Philco Cathedral radio. Imagine Jack Kerouac writing The Lord of the Rings. Ken loves ensemble movies & shows, from Jack Benny to Frazier, and put our bomber crew together. Visit Mitchroney’s site. A witch’s caldron of sensibilities, talents, interests. Ken and I have done our best to comb its hair and make it overall presentable, and now we’ve sent it out into the world all on its own. You talk to him and you realize he’s been around before. (Disclosure: As you can see from the image, I blurbed this book.)
STEVEN R. It’s an intensively researched WWII historical novel about a B-17 Flying Fortress crew on a harrowing mission over Germany in 1943. Apply heat and stir. They grow so quickly, you know. But we didn’t treat it as a joke at all. I think it makes you go the extra mile, do your due diligence to your characters and your world. We’d started out wanting a rollercoaster ride, a summer tentpole movie. It’s also a post-apocalyptic fish-out-of-water story, in the tradition of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or The Time Machine. And when all is said and done we have before this creature that combines our creative DNA to become its own unique self. The surprising thing was how seriously we began to take the whole endeavor. As Steven R. We logicked the living crap out of the storyline. —-
Fata Morgana: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Powell’s
Read an excerpt (pdf link). He’d encapsulated our different sensibilities in one image — I was so in. I once made a living as a paper marbler. (The truth is, if you saw Toy Story 2, you probably already know what we’re like when we work together. A World War II bomber gets sucked through time and space — and that’s the easy part of Fata Morgana. I have a naive idealist’s outrage at the ways that people and societies can behave toward one another, as if it’s a surprise every time. Our novel Fata Morgana is basically a mashup. So: Old friends. I’m a lifelong martial artist. I’ve published books almost literally since I was a kid. He pinstripes cars and did artwork with Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, of Rat Fink fame. The Baltimore Orioles wore his artwork. I’m a new soul. Share:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email (Opens in new window) The next four years came from that single image. Does it blend, gel, combust? Music has had a huge influence on my writing – the rhythm of the prose, the symphonic structure of a larger work, sometimes the subject matter itself. As a DJ I’m enamored of the mashup, and as a writer I’m enamored of the idea of putting music into words. That fusion of sensibilities caused our agent to market it as “Band of Brothers meets Lost Horizon” — a bit marketspeak, but totally fair. I think no matter what you write about it’s good to take your subject matter seriously. Ken was Senior Story Artist on that movie, and I wrote the second draft of the screenplay. I’m a firm believer in a fantasy or SF novel’s feet being planted on real ground, and I did a ton of research on bombers (including buzzing my neighborhood in one, woo hoo!), the US wartime economy, the European theater, the Biosphere 2 experiment in Arizona, and self-sustaining ecologies in general). It’s an educational and wonderful thing to write a novel with someone you’ve been friends with for a very long time, especially when you are two very different people, with very different sensibilities, collaborating on a book whose core idea is essentially a fusion of those two sensibilities. Ken is an Old Soul. He’s also weirdly steeped in Forties American culture: swing music, movies, slang, fashion, cars – and B-17 bombers. Through a fairly strange series of events, learning overtone singing led me to playing the didgeridoo, to recording electronic music, to being a club DJ with two very popular music podcasts (Podrunner and Groovelectric). He’s a cartoonist and animator, published & illustrated comic books (Space Ark, Myth Conceptions, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ren & Stimpy), raced NASCAR modified sportsman cars, and rebuilt and run locomotives. BOYETT:
When one creative person and another creative person love each other very very much, sometimes they get together and make a Special Thing that’s a combination of both of them, but that’s also its own unique thing. He’s the voice of Zurg on the Toy Story ride. Ken is primarily a movie guy. Such that the book became about the price of duty over desire. So in the Shire when the sun goes down and I sit by the Water watching the long skies over Middle Earth, and that road going ever on and on, and in Gondor I know by now the children must be crying just before the night that blesses Mirkwood cups the Misty Mountains and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen besides the forlorn rags of Gandalf growing old, I think of Frodo Baggins, I even think of old Bilbo who in some way was the father of us all, but I think of Frodo Baggins.)
Unlike Ken, I am not an Old Soul.