Hollywood is an ALL-Volunteer Army by Steven Paul Leiva

By L. Dean Murphy

What Those In The Know in Hollywood really know is that if they need a dark deed done, if they need a sticky personal or professional problem “fixed,” they can call upon the mysterious Fixxer. Whether you are a successful comedy film director whose “art” truly has never been appreciated because an important film critic has held a grudge against you, or you are a neophyte screenwriter who resents the professional blackmail just suffered, you call upon the Fixxer. Keep this on the QT with the Writers Guild!

Steven Paul Leiva added: “Finding evil plans afoot to ‘draft’ Hollywood into a class-war conspiracy, the Fixxer goes into action to stop a potential war between the Haves and Have-Nots. I mix an L.A. Noir feel with the more high-styled adventures of the Saint or James Bond, peppering in some satiric takes on the business of Hollywood for spice.” Hollywood is an ALL-Volunteer Army is a fast-paced thriller with more twists than a box of rotini pasta.

Leiva ratchets up the action to a nuclear level, following his first Fixxer novel, Blood is Pretty, which Ray Bradbury said “is a fine first novel. Bravo!” Academy Award-winning producer Richard D. Zanuck (Jaws; Driving Miss Daisy) said “Blood is Pretty is a wonderful read, a highly entertaining and impressive debut novel.” An Amazon reviewer said that Leiva “gives the reader an occasional tongue-in-cheek nudge just when everything may start to look a little too serious.”

Legendary Hollywood producer/manager, Ken Kragen, talking about the new Fixxer novel, said, “Leiva [has] the same wry humor, intellectual insight and terrific story telling that are the consistent signatures of his work. Once you start this novel you won’t put it down.” Paul Provenza, author of ¡Satiristas!, director of The Aristocrats, and host of Showtime’s The Green Room with Paul Provenza, said, “Leiva’s immense gifts for mystery and suspense are matched only by his wry, biting wit in skewering the Hollywood he clearly knows so well.”

Leiva said “The Fixxer was inspired by the hero I’d like to be—tall and larger-than-life! And also the heroes of pulp and pop fiction that I loved growing up, while still having him grounded in the contemporary world. Many of the other characters are inspired by people I have worked with for many years in Hollywood—especially the more idiotic ones.” He added that “the main plot is not based on true-life, but many of the subplots are based on things (often bad) that happened to me or to others in the landmine-laid fields of Hollywood.”

Of reading before he became a thriller writer, Leiva said: “I’m an eclectic reader. I love Nineteenth Century British novels and as for the Twentieth Century, I like John Dos Passos, James T. Farrell, W. Somerset Maugham and I’ve read much Philip Roth, John Updike and Ray Bradbury. For mysteries and thrillers, I’m a character of the past, loving Sapper, Leslie Chateris and, of course, Ian Fleming.”

Leiva has advice for writers: “Read—read eclectically, then read some more. And write as if you will always be read out loud.” As for the mechanics of writing, “I don’t really outline, except with major beats which I keep in my head. I know where I want to end and some of the stops along the way, but I’m always open to interesting detours.

“Much of my writing is rewriting—I love rewriting, making it better. Although possibly what I really do is revisions, honing, rather than rewriting, depending on your definition of the word. I write straight through, but I’ll proof and revise a chapter many times before moving on. As I write the Fixxer series in the first person, his narration becomes, in a sense, a personality profile.”

As for writing a series, Leiva said, “For thrillers, I believe a series would always be the most fun, especially if you come to love your main characters and want to spend more time with them. But for standalones, I have a science fiction novel coming out soon called Traveling in Space.”

Had he not been a writer, Leiva may have enjoyed being an historian, and “if I had had any math skills, a scientist.”

For final thoughts, Leiva concluded: “I spent some years working with the great cartoon director Chuck Jones of Looney Tunes fame. Chuck said that the most important element in a story is character, that ‘Character is everything. If you know who your character is, then you will know how he will react to the situations you throw at him, and that takes care of the plot.’ People are wonderful and awful; quirky, fun and a joy; selfish, destructive and arrogant; helpful, contentious, loving and hateful; dumb and smart, reaching for the stars, stuck in the mud. What a friggin’ great canvas!”

Steven Paul Leiva has toiled for years in the hills and valleys of Hollywood as a producer and writer. He produced the animation for “Space Jam,” pairing witty Bugs Bunny with sweaty Michael Jordan. His play, “Made on the Moon,” had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Miranda.

Being one of “those in the know” (and computer knowledgeable, a/k/a “geek”), Leiva has several venues. The Chamber-of-Commerce version of Hollywood is an ALL-Volunteer Army is at this site. And here is info about Blood is Pretty, which introduced his mysterious Hollywood-based hero. Leiva writes about The Fixxer on his blog. An excerpt from “Hollywood Army” can be found at this site. Whew! All those links made me hyper.

Dean Murphy

L. Dean Murphy interviews authors and reviews books for Bookreporter.com & The Big Thrill. The MWA, FWA and ITW member is working on, The Art of Murder, and Two Bodies. His maxim is "When there’s nothing left, write."

Visit him at: www.DeanMurphy.net.

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