Interview with Pat Silver-Lasky

Interview with author of The Offer, Pat Silver-Lasky: You have a long list of credits, as an actress and writer-–and working with Jesse Lasky, Jr. What was Jesse's background and yours? How did you meet and start working together?
Jesse was a Junior. His father was the film pioneer whose company Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company produced the first full-length motion picture in Hollywood, 'The Squaw Man'. But he was not a man to be judged by his father's success. By the time he was 17, he'd had three books of poetry published––and knew he wanted to be a writer. When we met, he'd already written 40 films, 8 for C. B. DeMille, including 'The Ten Commandments' and 'Samson and Delilah'. Both are on the top 10 all-time box office hits. We were to write 8 more films together.
How did you meet?
At a typical Hollywood party. We didn't meet again until 6 months later, when I was cast as the lead in one episode of the TV series he was co-producing. Remembering our long chat at our first meeting, and knowing he hadn't written that particular script, I was bold enough to tell him I didn’t think much of the dialogue, and suggested a few changes.
Instead of throwing me off the series, he offered me the chance to do a rewrite. Three Rescue 8 scripts later, Pat Silver was an established scriptwriter and member of the Writers Guild of America West. When I helped Jesse plot out a novel he had been trying to write, he asked me to write with him. We started our partnership with three films at Twentieth Century Fox, and a pocketful of Hollywood TV scripts. Together we wrote 8 films, 119 TV scripts and 4 books. I've had 4 books published since his death.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Born in Seattle, Washington, attended the University of Washington, Stanford University and Reed College––where I produced and directed their first play. I was acting and writing when I met Jesse.
How do two people write a book together?
I'm strong on structure and story ideas, Jesse looked for relationships and flow and we were both good on the psychology of our characters. We'd written several books together before we had the courage to tackle The Offer.
How does that work out, writing with someone else without fighting?
Ego must go out the window. If each is stuck on a different idea, there is always a third answer. Look for the third way. You'll be surprised that you'll find it––and you'll both like it. The work decides what is right. The secret is discussion, not argument.
How did you create 'The Offer', with its epic theme, dealing with historical facts and real people?
Into this factual framework, Jesse and I wove our fictional characters. We structured and plotted the overall fictional story, broke it into chapters, each of us writing a chapter, then reading them aloud, discussed it, and traded chapters to do a polish. The characters developed, were refined and grew. Three and a half years later, working with a researcher who was an authority on the historical landscape and issues involved, the book was finished.
That's a long time on a book!
Of course we had to eat, so there were interruptions for TV scripts. One of my favorites was the Philip Marlowe series with Powers Boothe.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Moving to London opened up Europe to Jesse and me. Like most writers, my 'story mind' is always switched on. It's sparked by travel. Seeing the world brings new ideas, new ways of looking at things, new points of view.
Where do you work?
Jesse and I always shared a workroom and in Hollywood, we had an office at 20th Century Fox. When we moved to London we shared a writing room in our flat and finally, kept an old farmhouse in Spain for 12 years. We used to write a lot of TV scripts there, and producers loved to fly down to get a 'working holiday'. When we finished 'The Offer', Doubleday gave us an office in New York for one month of final editing––a first, we were told. Jackie Onassis worked across the hall. She knew Jesse's mother and we often chatted.
What is your writing process?
Something has to spark an idea. Sometimes, it is a character who seems to cry out for a story to be told. Sometimes it's simply a line of dialogue or a thematic subject. I ask myself, why do I need to tell this story? What is new and original that I can add to what has already been written? Shakespeare said there are only 36 plots. Who are the characters to tell this one, and why will readers relate to them? What is the design of the plot? Where does it start? Where will it end? What research must I find?
Is The Offer character driven - or plot driven?
Good Question. We have many historical characters, who meet and interact with our fictional characters. The framework of events, historical and current, drives our created characters on their personal paths, traversing the real-life actions of the times. It is their lives the reader identifies with, on both sides––their dramas that the story focuses on. The reviewer on the L.A. Reporter compared 'The Offer' to another epic novel of a people and a time, He called it the 'Roots' of Israel.
Why are you republishing 'The Offer' now?
The Middle East crisis affects the entire world today. That was true when we originally wrote the book and is even more true today because Secretary of State John Kerry has created a new impetus for peace. One of the reviewers said, "the beauty of the novel is that it offers an objective view of the confrontation. … shows both sides of the question without offending the sensibilities of either Jew or Arab. In addition to the accurate portrayal of a people caught up in the sweep of history, The Offer provides a tale of abiding human interest."
For this re-publication, key historical events which have occurred since the birth of the state of Israel have been added, and a short chronological time-line brings history up to date.
The Offer is a long book - over 252,000 words. A lot easier for readers to carry around as an ebook. Thank you, Pat Silver-Lasky.
I hope that Smashwords readers enjoy the book.
Published 2014-01-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Offer
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 251,020. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General
This epic novel sweeps over generations of passion, hatred, friendship and fear––tracing the fortunes of two Palestine families. In 1843, an Arab boy and two Jewish brothers form a partnership that grows into an International banking empire - until the Zionist dream of Israel threatens their unshakeable friendship. The Offer explores both sides of a people caught up in the sweep of history.