Next up in our troupe of fourteen Hollywood writers who banded together to write an anthology of short stories they’re calling LOVE AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS, and whose proceeds KIDS NEED TO READ is Keith Domingue!
R: Hello, Keith, and welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
K: I think it began with being a voracious reader before becoming a writer.
When I was a kid, I had the big comic book collection-- mostly Marvel and DC stuff, along with several Sci-Fi and fantasy books. Terry Brooks Sword of Shannara series, along with Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game comes to mind. And a bit later on, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series was a favorite.
The call to write didn’t come for me until I was in my twenties. I had spent time as a product engineer for IBM, a financial consultant for Bear Stearns, and a martial arts instructor. Like most in their twenties, I was searching.
I had a close friend who was a screenwriter, and I bought his laptop. It had Final Draft on it, the screenwriter’s software, and I started tinkering with it. Once I did, I just knew. I had no idea what I was in for, and how much work it would be, however. But the discipline that martial arts had instilled in me was a transferable skill set. For two years, I basically apprenticed under my friend before I felt both my craftsmanship and story ideas were mature enough to introduce to the professional environment.
It came full circle when I had the opportunity to work with comic book icon Stan Lee, several years ago.
R: How did you hear about Kids Need to Read? Tell us about your short in the anthology – what inspired that?
K: I heard about Kids Need to Read from author and dear friend Christiana Miller. A successful author in her own right, Christiana really paved the way for many like myself, writers who were considering their first novel, and wanted to go the indie route.
For those of you who haven’t read her work, I encourage you to check it out. When she asked if was interested in participating, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
R: You recently published a novel, LUTHECKER. How different was writing a novel from screenplays? What made you decide to take the plunge?
K: If I could only use one word to describe the difference, it would be freedom.
Screenwriting follows a market driven format that you deviate from at your own peril. And your audience is not the end user, it is the brokers in between—Agents, managers, producers, studio execs.
This is neither good nor bad, it’s just the business. But your work rarely if ever gets in front of anyone unfiltered, in front of someone who is simply looking to enjoy a good story.
When I decided to write LUTHECKER, and then publish it independently, it was because I wanted to engage an audience directly, with no one in between my story and their experience with it. And I would let the readers tell me if my story was worthy.
To be honest I was a little nervous on how it would be received, but I was stunned by the strong response, particularly among women. It was such a great feeling to read reviews from people who had no connection with you other than your book, about how much they enjoyed the story.
And ironically enough, it’s come full circle—I’m working with television producers now to create a television series based on the characters in the novel.
R: You are also a fitness coach and an avid martial artist – how did you become interested in these?
K: I began studying martial arts at the age of nine. I credit my father for that. Martial arts instilled a discipline and philosophy in me that has had a direct influence on my writing work ethic.
My work as a fitness coach was a natural progression from that. I’m a big believer in the mind, body, soul trilogy that defines life. To me that means creativity, health, and a sense of spirituality. In my mind, all must be fostered and cared for.
And let’s face it writing is not the most stable of incomes. Having another passion / profession that engages others and helps them, provides a balance for me.
R: What writers would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
K: I’ll limit it to the top four:
1 – Neil Gaiman.
2 – Dan Simmons.
3 – James Elroy.
4 – Stan Lee.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
K: Musts: Coffee and quiet.
Process: Reading of course, but also watching movies, multiple times. They are like game tapes for me.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
K: Becoming a writer. Without question, a crazy idea…
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
K: The television pilot and series treatment based on Luthecker.
Television is a team sport, and a new one for me. It’s been both a fun and fascinating process. I’m very excited about the possibilities.
And of course, I’m working on the sequel to Luthecker.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
K: I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a bit delinquent in the self-promotion category.
You can find me on facebook, “Luthecker by Keith Domingue,” and the novel is available in Amazon.com
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
K: Keep writing. Find another source of income that makes you happy, so you can be free of market demands.
Writing is a catharsis. Self-exploration. All stories are love stories—Love of God, country, family, or another. Even love of self, if that journey is a struggle for the character.
So whatever story you are trying to tell, find the love in it.
And keep writing.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?
9am. First cup of coffee. L.A. sunshine and a day full of possibility.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)
A cat that acts like a dog. (Note from ROCCO: we LOVE this answer!)
Beach or Pool?
Steak or salad?
That one is a rotating answer. Right now, I think that “I, Lucifer” by Glen Duncan is genius.
Favorite TV Series?
I’m going to limit this to what is currently on air: Breaking Bad.
Oof. Another toughie, another rotation. I’m going to say Syriana for today.
Daniel Day Lewis.
Marion Cotillard. (If you haven’t seen it, watch “La Vie en Rose.”)
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?
Shaken, not stirred…
Hawaii or Alaska?
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be The Buddha.
If I had just one wish, it would be more happiness, less fear in the world.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be Tom Brady. That cat seems to have a pretty good life…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Keith Domingue is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, and has written scripts for MGM Studios, Dimension Films, and Village Roadshow Pictures. His first original screenplay ONE THIRD, is being produced by Safady Entertainment and Lions Gate Films, and is scheduled to begin production in 2014. LUTHECKER is his first novel.