- an acclaimed, award-winning writer-filmmaker. Eric is a dark soul. Positive attitude. =)
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Eric Shapiro!
Eric Shapiro is the author of Red Dennis, the writer-director of Living Things, and an acclaimed, award-winning writer-filmmaker. He co-owns and edits The Milpitas Beat, a Silicon Valley newspaper. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Rhoda, and their two sons.
Eric, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
Definitely Falkor from The Neverending Story! That took me a minute, but there’s actually no other answer. And thank God I don’t have to feed him!
A classic selection and one of my favorites. Did you know that when you write fantasy, there’s no reason NOT to add puppy-dragons. *winks*
What do you write? And how did you get started?
On most days, it’s either news or dark fiction—which often have a lot in common. Generally I just sit down and start typing. I try not to think. Usually the first two paragraphs are agony, then I’ve dropped down into more of a meditative flow state where I can access my emotions. My book Ass Plus Seat actually covers the entire process.
You sound like me! When I struggle to get started, I do my “just five minutes” approach. If nothing happens, fine. But really, nothing beats sitting in front of your keyboard for getting out words.
What do you like to read?
All kinds of things. I’m trying True Crime lately, during Covid sheltering-in-place, but it might be too bleak and disturbing for me. But in general I like to read things that are fast, incisive, shocking, and anti-bull****.
I’ve enjoyed a decent amount of televised true crime, but I must admit, I shy away from it in my reading. I know it’s probably just the escapist in me.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Ways to ‘find your voice’
Anything to do with “finding your voice.” Your insight is the thing to track or look for. If you think too much about your “voice,” your writing just becomes mannered and obvious. Just work toward sharing your insights; look and see and share.
I think that’s to stop people from poorly imitating their favorite authors, but it’s true. Voice is the one thing that can’t really be taught, everything else is a level of mechanics.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Start writing and then the muse will appear.
It’s so true: She doesn’t come to you. You go to her. Every single time. If you’re not sitting there putting in the physical grunt effort, she thinks you’re boring and annoying. But if you’re exerting yourself and being present, she loves to come and dance and play.
I’ll admit that’s both true and untrue for me. True, in that the muse doesn’t come when I’m not writing, but untrue in that the muse doesn’t always come.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Dennis Fordham has it all: the wife, the kids, the established small business. And yet…he’s slipping. Something’s changing in his mindset. He’s regretting all the chances that he never took. And he’s getting a bad itch to visit illicit massage parlors. Even worse: He’s also starting to talk kind of funny. Only it’s not a joke — his strange words terrify his dental hygienist, who tells his whole Northern California community that he harassed her. When Dennis tries to push back, he’s met with intense resistance. Which is when his troubling thoughts turn into violent ones…
A story of red rage, red madness, and a bright red all-American psycho, RED DENNIS gives us a man on the edge, then invites us to follow him down into the abyss.
Writer and filmmaker Eric Shapiro worked professionally as a ghostwriter for over 3,000 clients around the world before co-running a Silicon Valley newspaper with over 30,000 readers. In between, he’s written acclaimed fiction books under his own name, along with award-winning screenplays. ASS PLUS SEAT, his first nonfiction book, is where he shares his secrets, exposing and exploring how for years he’s motivated himself to write each and every day.
ASS PLUS SEAT is an essential guide to help writers dealing with procrastination in the midst of the writing process. It’s a book on how to write from the standpoint of staying disciplined and inspired, complete with good tips for writing and expert advice for writers. Put it on your shelf next to the other classic creative writing books for adults, whether you are seeking inspiration to engage in the act of novel writing or screenwriting.
“Put ‘Ass Plus Seat’ on the shelf alongside Strunk and White, and Stephen King’s ON WRITING…” –Mason James Cole, author of Buster Voodoo
“I wish I’d read this sooner! I’m going to get back to my manuscript – not tomorrow, but right now!” –Shannon Giglio, author of Short Bus Hero
Short of a Picnic – 12 short stories about 12 different characters with 12 different mental illnesses.
It’s Only Temporary – It’s the last day on Earth. A meteorite will hit at sundown. A heartbroken kid hits the road to say goodbye to the only girl he’s ever loved.
The Devoted – It’s the last day in the life of a suicide cult. But as the clock ticks, one of the cult members gets second thoughts and stages a revolt.
Check Eric Shapiro out across the web!