Friday, January 10, 2014

A Conversation with Novelist Burt Weissbourd

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Burt Weissbourd
with Burt Weissbourd

We are delighted to welcome novelist Burt Weissbourd to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of JKSCommunications, which is coordinating his current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find his schedule here.

Burt's new novel is Inside Passage (Rarebird Books; February 2013 hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook formats), the first book in the haunting, heart-stirring Corey Logan trilogy.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to the author about his book.

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Omnimystery News: Tell us a little more about your writing process, especially as it relates to your experience as a producer.

Burt Weissbourd
Photo provided courtesy of
Burt Weissbourd

Burt Weissbourd: My writing process evolved from my years as a movie producer developing screenplays. As a producer, you'd look for strong, complex characters and a "rich stew" — that is to say, a situation with conflict, emotional intensity, and the potential to evolve in unexpected ways. The specifics of the story could be worked out with the writer as the script was written.

For Inside Passage, that situation was a woman — Corey Logan — coming out of prison who just wants to get her son back. She's still in danger from the man who framed her. She falls in love with the psychiatrist who does her evaluation as part of the dependency adjudication to get her son back from foster care. The psychiatrist's mother, a mover and shaker in Democratic party politics, is living with her candidate for State Attorney General — the same man that framed Corey Logan, and now, wants to kill her. That's a rich stew — the plot specifics evolved easily from there.

OMN: How did the book come to be titled? And were you involved with the cover design?

BW: The cover design and the title both came out of hours of close collaboration with my publisher, Tyson Cornell at Rarebird Books. He and I went back and forth with many, many titles — when I submitted the manuscript the title was Corey Logan. Our understanding was that we both had to be excited by whatever we chose. One idea led to another, and I remember that when we hit Inside Passage, we agreed that it was perfect.

The cover was more complicated. Tyson did a mock up with a wonderful photo of two men in a rowboat on a lake. It was beautiful but it didn't quite capture the mood we wanted. I started looking through thousands of photos of the Inside Passage, and sending him anything I found that was remotely interesting. Finally, I found what eventually became the cover — a photo of the northern lights over the Inside Passage during a storm at dawn. Tyson secured the rights from the photographer, Jack Swenson. We then tried different fonts and layouts until we agreed on what I still find a very handsome cover.

OMN: The setting would seem to be an important element to your story.

BW: All of my books are set in real places. The first, Inside Passage, is set in Seattle and up the Inside Passage in British Columbia. The second, In Velvet, is set in and around Yellowstone Park. In both cases the setting is very important to the plot and to the characters in the books. I do, however, create imaginary features in these very real landscapes. At the beginning of each book I put a disclaimer that explains what I'm doing. For Inside Passage it read: “Seattle is, of course, real, though the author has created an imaginary landscape in and around capital Hill.”

OMN: What is the best advice you've received as an author?

BW: The best advice I've received as a writer is to keep writing. My experience writing novels has been that as I write more and more, I become a better writer; I feel more confident about my writing; I know when something is working and why, and I know to keep writing until I get there; and finally, the final product, good or bad, is what I want it to be.

For many years I produced movies, and I found that the longer I did that, the more cynical and burnt out I became — movies got made for the wrong reasons; the best work on screenplays wasn't often recognized; as a producer, I didn't have creative control over the final product — an actor or a director could demand a rewrite of a very good script, etc. I felt that as a producer, my focus and the quality of my work diminished the longer I did it. As a writer, the opposite has been true — as I write more, I believe the quality of my writing improves.

As I begin working on my 4th novel, I am genuinely excited to write it, and I feel lucky to be able to spend my time writing. My advice to an aspiring author would be — even though it is often difficult to get a first novel published, even though there are rejections from agents, even though there are days when you hate what you've written, keep writing.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests? Have any of these found their way into your books?

BW: I love fishing, especially fly fishing. Though there is no fly fishing in Inside Passage, there are salmon fishing and cooking sequences when they're up the Inside Passage. One of the protagonists of In Velvet is a fly fisherman and his story begins when he's fishing in the Gallatin River and he sees a suitcase with a life vest around it floating down the river.

OMN: Give us a Top 5 list on any subject.

BW: Top 5 books you should read — in no particular order:

The Chill — Ross MacDonald
The Indian Lawyer — James Welch
Briar Patch — Ross Thomas
The Woman Lit by Fireflies — Jim Harrison
Red Harvest — Dashiell Hammett

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Burt Weissbourd Book Tour

Burt Weissbourd is a novelist, screenwriter and producer of feature films. He was born in 1949 and graduated cum laude from Yale University, with honors in psychology. During his student years, he volunteered at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and taught English to college students in Thailand. After he graduated, he wrote, directed, and produced educational films for Gilbert Altschul Productions.

He began a finance program at the Northwestern University Graduate School of Business, but left to start his own film production company in Los Angeles. He managed that company from 1977 until 1986, producing films including Ghost Story starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Patricia Neal, and Raggedy Man starring Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard. In 1987, he founded an investment business, which he still runs.

For more information about the author and his work, please visit his website at or find him on Facebook.

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Inside Passage by Burt Weissbourd

Inside Passage
Burt Weissbourd
The Corey Logan Trilogy

Corey Logan was set up. She knows Nick Season's terrible secret. Coming home from prison, all Corey wants is to be with her son. To get him back, she needs to make a good impression on the psychiatrist evaluating her. But Dr. Abe Stein doesn't believe she was framed — until his well-heeled mother falls for the charming state attorney general candidate, Nick Season.

As the dogs of war are unleashed, Corey and her son run for their lives — taking her boat up the Pacific Northwest's remote Inside Passage. Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)  iTunes iBook Format  Kobo eBook Format

1 comment:

  1. Lance,

    I think you did a great job putting this interview together, and I was delighted by your friend request on Facebook. Let's keep in touch. Would you like an advance copy of my new book? It should be available in several weeks.


    [email protected]



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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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