This week we are thrilled to feature not one, but two talented authors for our Author Spotlight feature. Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, authors of the book series The Familiars have taken a few minutes from the promotion of their second book: The Familiars: The Secrets of the Crown, to visit with us today. Welcome to the Sidewalk, Adam and Andrew.
ADAM JAY EPSTEIN spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while ANDREW JACOBSON grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in a parking garage out in Los Angeles. They have been writing for film and television together ever since. This is their first book.
One day, Adam asked Andrew, “Are you familiar with what a familiar is?” And from that simple question, Vastia was born, a fantastical world filled with the authors’ shared love of animals and magic. They wrote every word, sentence, and page together, sitting opposite each other.
Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, their daughters, Penny and Olive, and a black-and-white alley cat who hangs out in their backyard. Andrew Jacobson lives with his wife, Ashley, their son, Ryder, and their dog, Elvis, four traffic lights away.
Q: What was your road to publication?
A: We began our careers as screenwriters 10 years ago. Our first movie was NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE. It was very different from the kind of writing we are doing now. After about 8 years of writing comedy films and TV, we wanted to try something different. That led to our first novel, THE FAMILIARS. We were fortunate to get a book agent off of our proposal for that series and sold it to Harper Collins soon after submission. It sounds like it was an overnight success, but just because our first book was published, we spent many years in the trenches of Hollywood working to establish ourselves.
A: We like to start with a big idea. For THE FAMILIARS that was simply telling a fantasy story from the perspective of the wizards’ animal companions. Then we started to think about our protagonists. Once we decided on a cat, a bird, and a frog, we began plotting an outline. For the book, we had a very detailed outline. We always know where our story is going to end… in this case, where the third book of the trilogy would end. In order to have plants and pay-offs, we find it is crucial to know where you are going before you start.
Q: Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?
A: We have recently signed a new deal with Harper Collins for a fourth Familiars book and two books of a brand new middle grade sci fi series that we are not yet able to disclose the details of. Additionally, we continue to write screenplays. Currently, we are working on a movie for Nickelodeon/Paramount with the producer of TRANSFORMERS called LIONS, TIGERS, AND
Q: Describe your studio or usual work space for us.
A: Typically, we work together in the home office at our respective houses. Either way, Andrew sits in front of the computer typing while Adam sits across from him in a big, comfy chair, usually eating snacks.
Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A: Adam has always wanted to try his hand at being a video game designer. Andrew would probably take a shot at being an ESPN Sportscenter anchor.
Q: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
A: Adam attended space camp when he was in high school. Andrew was his freshman dorm’s ping pong champion.
Q: Can you share a little bit about your writing process? How do you divide up your writing duties?
A: We write every word, sentence, and paragraph together, sitting across from each other in the same room from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.
A: As we said, we began our careers as screenwriters, so we had the advantage of having a film agent in Los Angeles who was able to sell the rights to THE FAMILIARS to Sony Animation. After the book sold to Harper Collins, film executives in Hollywood heard about it and began calling. Within a few days, the deal was done, and as a bonus, we were hired to write the screenplay!
Q: We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate with our writing, where do you fit in Procrastinator or Proactive?
A: We are so Proactive that we both use the skin product even though neither of us have acne. To our wives’ dismay, we never miss a day of work.
WOTS: Thanks Adam and Andrew.
If you’d like to learn more about Adam and Andrew or to check out their books be sure to check out the following links:
Writing on the Sidewalk