Interview with screenwriter and author Bev Gandara

Bev Gandara's comedy screenplay Rent Money garnered her the Golden Palm Award for Best Screenplay at the 2012 Beverly Hills International Film Festival. As a New York native, Bev attended Brooklyn College and Marymount College before beginning her screenwriting studies at the Gotham Writers Workshop. CONCRETE WINGS is her debut novel. We have conducted an interview with Bev.

What is your second novel based on?

Soaring in Silence, a thriller is about a handicapped married woman subjected to relentless sexual advances by a dangerous retiree with a hidden criminal past. In a battle for survival, by her own resourcefulness and the wonders of the Internet, she derails an impending attack, positions the bully to meet his destiny and triumphs in secret.

Why did you choose a different title than the screenplay?

The screenplay Unprotected Witness co-written with Jack Knight, an actor of stage screen and television focused on the stalking and the triumph. The novel which I am writing on my own with Jack’s approval, permission and blessing, includes a wider range of topics not covered by the screenplay; it focuses more on the lives of the individuals involved, not just the perilous situation. With a clearer understanding of the triumph, I felt the title Soaring in Silence was a better choice for the novel; it is an entirely different project than the screenplay.

What inspires you the most about writing stories based on true stories?

I believe everyone’s life is endlessly interesting; as a result I am a great listener. Most of my stories are inspired by true stories, not necessarily biographical and in that vein I feel a responsibility to protect people whose experiences they share with me. A novel gives me permission to combine stories, embellish situations, exaggerate outcomes and stretch the imagination while creating plausible scenarios from which we learn the skills and lessons we need to guide us through life about behavior, ethics, decision-making --at any age.

Which kind of challenges do you get most of the time?

Early in my writing career I worked with a person who desperately wanted their story told. When we finished and it received industry attention with the possibility that it might become a movie, the person changed their mind. It was autobiographical. After airing family secrets, foibles and bad behavior they realized their relatives might be affected and feared the outcome. The project was squelched. I invested a lot of time and energy and believe in the project but cannot move forward without their cooperation and legal clearance.

Which are your other award-winning works?

My screenplays have all placed in contests; I have only one win so far - The Golden Palm Award for Best Screenplay for my comedy Rent Money at the 2012 Beverly Hills International Film Festival. I’ve just recently entered my novel Concrete Wings into a couple of contests, so I await those decisions. Please wish me luck.

How long have you been writing?

I began writing after retirement, so not very long but I did start late in life.

What keeps you excited about writing?

I find people endlessly interesting; their experiences, behavior and language. Life excites me. Every day is different and I feel a responsibility to record compelling stories for ourselves and future generations to learn from our history.

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