Tuesday, 5 February 2013

INTERVIEW: Author and scriptwriter Jason Arnopp

Jason Arnopp is a British scriptwriter and author. I have known him for several years and he's a lovely man, as you might expect if you have come across him online, where he's a warm and cheerful presence on Twitter, and also shares information about the projects he's involved in on his blog, together with hints and tips derived from his years as a successful author and journalist, covering everything from how to pitch ideas to how to develop relationships with potential collaborators. He wrote and executive-produced the supernatural horror film Stormhouse, script-edited the Peter Mullan film The Man Inside and has written for the worlds of Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Friday The 13th. More recently, he released the Kindle novella Beast In The Basement and short story A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home. I caught up with Jason by email to ask him about his 'scary letter' and other projects.

Q) Personalised ‘Paper Editions’ of A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home are available. Can you tell us how that works and how you came up with the idea?
Well now, Lady Helen Smith, let’s see. The story takes the form of a scary letter to the reader and is designed to feel as if it really is directed at YOU, talking about your home. As a result, I had to avoid too many specifics and either make quite a lot of description generic or avoid it altogether! Somewhere along the way, I thought, “What if this story actually could be specific to the reader?”. Then I came up with the idea of a ‘premium’ version, which could be directly tailored to either the buyer or the person they’re buying the story for. For instance, it would start “Dear Helen”, or whoever, instead of “Dear friend”. Then I realised the ultimate medium for such a personalised story would be an actual, physical letter, snail-mailed to the recipient’s home! I honestly thought maybe one reader in 500 would want one... and then I was inundated with orders. People seem to love it: a letter turning up at their home is strange enough these days, but a scary one addressed to them? Even stranger...

Q) What’s next for you?
At the moment, I have irons in the fires of prose, TV and film. This year, it all depends on which gets hottest first. I especially hope the TV Thing happens, because it’s a collaboration with one of my favourite TV writers! I’d also like to write a novel this year: haven’t tackled full-length prose since the tie-in novel Friday The 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat in 2005.

Q) Who would play you in a film based on your life?
Since Jeremy Beadle is sadly no longer with us, it’d have to be Ricky Gervais. I’d imagine Ricky would be so delighted at bagging the role, he’d do it for free and no mistake.

Q) A stranger unexpectedly does something nice for you that brightens your day. You decide to carry out a random act of kindness for another person in return. What do you do?
I’d give them a 10-minute backrub, with good, hard thumbs-on-shoulder-blades action, then hand them Stewart Lee’s If You’d Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One live DVD. A release of musculoskeletal tension AND intense laughter? Unbeatable combination.

Q) The world will end in two minutes and there’s nothing you can do about it. You turn to the person next to you and you say…
“Shit. There was so much other stuff I wanted to do.” Also, here’s what I wouldn’t say: “At least we followed the latest fashions to the letter! That’s the main thing.”

Q) Where can we find you online?
This whole ‘personalised ghost story’ business of mine can be found at ScaryLetter.com. My main blogsite is JasonArnopp.com, while I’m on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jasonarnopp and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jasonarnoppwriter.

Thanks for the interview, madam!

Thanks, Jason!

For readers who are looking for an unusual gift, if you think that a personalised Scary Letter would entertain the recipient, bookmark the site. It's perfect for a Halloween party. If you'd just like to read the story, you can buy it for your ereader very cheaply from Amazon.

For full details of Jason Arnopp books, films and audio CDs, check out Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk.

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