Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Interview With Author Fraser C. Heston, The Son Of Legendary Actor Charlton Heston

1.      Fraser, what inspired you to co-author a thriller, Desolation SoundI first came across this story while sailing up in Desolation Sound, a few years ago. I lived in British Columbia for several years in the '80s, and have since spent a lot of time knocking round the islands and fjords of BC’s misty, craggy coast in boats, float planes and kayaks. Hard to believe that since 2008 fifteen severed human feet have washed ashore in BC, with no solution to the mystery. The RCMP claims “there is no sign of foul play” (tell that to the people who are missing feet!), and attributed it all to “suicides” or other "natural causes", like car accidents, but why no severed feet washing up before 2008? Why doesn’t this happen anywhere else in the world, with similar watery geography, like Alaska? This is too good a story to ignore! When I suggested we write it as a novel, to my writing partner Heather McAdams (with whom I have co-authored three screenplays) we both leaped into it with (ahem) both feet.

2.      What intrigues us about gruesome crimes?  I think we are both horrified and fascinated by gruesome crimes - from Jack the Ripper to Edgar Allen Poe to Sherlock Holmes to Stephen King ( and I have made films based on the works of the latter two) - murder and especially serial killers , the most coldly dispassionate of criminals, have held a weird attraction for us all. Perhaps because their “motives” are so far from what we understand in normal life.

3.      What kind of character is retired detective Jack Harris, the central figure in this book? Jack is a washed up cop, retired early from a brilliant but tarnished career as a Seattle Detective, specializing in serial killers, who killed a killer - a man who definitely needed to be taken off the board - though that, and his drinking, ruined his career. He’s a  deeply flawed, depressed alcoholic and you will love him. Our female protagonist is equally interesting, Liz MacDonald, 20-something, blond, attractive, compulsive  long-distance runner, addicted to her work - her profile happens to match perfectly the 22 missing blond females in BC’s lower mainland. She volunteers to help catch a sadistic rapist, and with Jack’s help, ends up tangling with a killer. They’re a really compelling combination and we hope to continue Liz and Jack in the series. We’ve already started the next book, set in norther BC.

4.      In your story a profiler is used to help track a serial killer. Do such killers really have such distinct patterns that make their capture imminent? Serial killers - both sociopaths and psychopaths - are the hardest murderers to catch because they do not usually know their victim (most “normal” murders are committed by people who know their victims; serial killers often pick them out at random) and thus do not have any of the usual connections which lead to capture and conviction. Their crimes are also, at least at first glance, motiveless, making it doubly difficult. Their one failing — they will kill again, and eventually make a mistake —  will eventually get them caught. Geographic profiling is a relatively new forensic science which attempts to apply algorithms to geographic locations of crimes committed, locations of the bodies, and residence and work place of the victims, to narrow down the likelihood of both the killer’s home and "place of business” as it were, within a given radius. It’s been quite effective. 

5.      Did you write it while envisioning it as a movie? Yes, definitely! Heather and I think Desolation Sound will make a great indie thriller, or even a limited TV series — the next "True Detective" or “The Killing”! We’ve always planned it as such, and are in talks now to adapt it for cable TV.

6.      What challenges or benefits are there to releasing your book as the son of the legend, Charlton Heston? I have been blessed in this life in so many ways, not least of which is I won the parent lottery. Both my parents were, first of all, loving, wonderful people, who took my sister Holly and I all over the world, and gave us a love of life, literature and great stories. I grew up essentially on film sets, from Hollywood to New York, from London to Cairo, from Rome’s Cinecitta Studios to the Yucatan’s pyramids of Chichen Itza. I began writing films about forty years ago, at age 20, and had some early success, both in films with and without my movie star dad (who was wonderful to work with, by the way). I think on the whole, though there are indeed difficulties — getting taken seriously as a filmmaker, apart from my Hollywood pedigree is one of them, obviously — the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Now that Heather and I have released a stand-alone, original novel, and hope to go on with the series, I think that issue can safely be left behind. Besides, I wouldn’t have traded my life (so far) for anyone’s!

What advice did he give to you when it came to creating your literary art? Dad — or CH as we call him — was a big aficionado of both Ernest Hemingway and William Shakespeare. I grew up with to the writings of both of them, not to mention hearing my dad read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island to me as a bed time story, doing all the voices with different accents (we later got to make the movie together, with CH as Long John Silver and Christian Bale as Jim ). It was Hemingway, I believe, who said,  “Writing is easy: begin every day by writing one true sentence - then just stare at the typewriter until blood comes out of your forehead." Ray Bradbury was also one of my early writing mentors, and a long-time family friend. Ray’s advice can best be summarized by his four maxims for turning out good writing. “Do these things,  in any order," Ray said: "Don’t think. Work. Relax. Love.” Good advice for life as well as art.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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