Title: The Actor
Author: Douglas Gardham
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It is 1991 when Ethan Jones finally wins the role of his dreams in an upcoming, big screen movie. With the envelope holding the script clutched in his hand, he arrives at his California apartment where he can hardly wait to tell his girlfriend the exciting news. But when he finds the door unexpectedly ajar, he has no idea that in just a few seconds, the life he has fought so hard to obtain will be shattered. Eight years earlier, Ethan is attending university in Ottawa, Canada. One evening after seriously contemplating suicide, he finds his way into a club where he meets Mila Monahan, a beautiful acting student who saves him from himself. After he watches Mila rehearse a university play, Ethan catches the acting bug and decides to pursue his own creative passions, causing a collision with his more secure ideals. But when Mila suddenly disappears, Ethan vows he will never stop chasing the dream she inspired in him, believing in a world entirely different from the one he is living in. The Actor is a gripping tale of a young man’s unforgettable journey of self-discovery in overcoming the trauma of a personal tragedy. It is a story of love, hardship, persistence and overwhelming joy where The Actor learns he can portray anything he can imagine.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Understanding what the story was really about. I wrote it as one pursuing something they loved to do but wanted it to be more. Editing the original manuscript of 800 pages down to a more manageable 400 pages.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
“Good try, but you’re not getting off that easily,” Mila added. “What about your drama class in high school? You didn’t continue ’cause someone said you were good in science, right? … The sciences always win. It’s like the arts don’t matter in the real world, and it’s the only thing that’s real.”
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
That life is a journey no matter where you’re at in your current circumstances. Being well and mentally healthy is more important that almost anything else in life.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
The inspiration for the novel came from seeing the Titanic movie when it first came out. I became fascinated by what someone would go through—the ups and downs—of getting up from what they were doing and chasing a dream.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I can’t say I really have a mentor outside of my mother and father. My father demonstrated work ethic and commitment and to do what you say your going to do. My mother showed us the importance of family and self and you can do pretty much whatever you set your mind to.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
I don’t know whether reading determines whether you’re a good writer or not, but I don’t know how I could be a writer without reading. One leads to the other. (Good is subjective and determined by the reader.) First, I don’t know how I would know about writing without having read. Second, for me at least, learning to write happens in many ways through reading. Could one play and create music without listening to music? I suppose you could but I’d wonder how you’d even know what it is. I don’t think the converse is true that everyone who reads is a writer. I love reading that’s both entertaining and thought provoking. My reading is wide ranging. Thrillers, horror, fantasy. I do read non-fiction, mostly history. I’m fascinated by creativity and science and marrying the two together. Stephen King is one of my favorites who inspired me to write and I’ve read since high school. I love the classics—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Melville. There’s so much.