BIO: Joel Eisenberg is a writer and producer whose acclaimed book series, “The Chronicles of Ara”, an epic 8-volume fantasy saga written with Stephen Hillard and published by Incorgnito Books, has been sold to Ovation TV for an upcoming 8-hour miniseries. Joel is a partner in Eisenberg-Fisher Productions and former head of EMO Films@Paramount Studios, feature film production companies. He is the co-founder of All Cities Media, an entertainment industry networking group. His events have been hosted by Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios, Sunset-Gower Studios and the Law Offices of Greenberg-Traurig, among others. Feature projects include “April Showers,” based on the Columbine school shootings tragedy. “January Rain” and “Assassin and Son” are presently in development, as is a new television version of an old horror comic book favorite (to be “re-announced” shortly). With Gilbert Adler (producer of "Valkyrie," "Superman Returns," "Tales from the Crypt") Joel is presently scripting a biographical feature film based on the life of boxer Joe Louis. Bill Duke is directing.
Joel is also the writer of several award-winning independent feature films and producer of a slate of past and upcoming feature and television projects. In early 2007, Joel was fortunate to have received substantial international publicity by locating, identifying, organizing and archiving a long-considered lost handwritten John Steinbeck archive, collectively valued at nearly $1 million. Author: “How to Survive a Day Job,” “Championship Networking,” “The Mirkwood Codex” (upcoming). Contributor: “Tales of the Dead” and numerous others. www.eisenbergandhillard.com
BooksAndAuthor.com: Why do you write?
Joel Eisenberg: I think of Rocky Balboa when I consider this question, from the first "Rocky" film. "Why do you fight?" asks Adrian. "Because I can't sing or dance," Rocky responds. One of my favorite film exchanges ever.
I write for the equivalent reason. My doing anything else for a living is dishonest. I need to write. I have as compulsive need to create. It's like breathing to me. I've had close to ‐ not an exaggeration ‐ a hundred day jobs en route to my earning the ability to write full‐time. I simply cannot do anything else and find it fulfilling. On another level, this may sound highfalutin but I truly do want to change perspectives with my writing, and by doing so contribute to a better world.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Who are your literary influences?
Joel Eisenberg: Mary Shelley. Frank Herbert. Dostoyevsky. Rushdie. Any writer who takes chances and is not afraid of exploring the dark.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Your new book is Chronicles of Ara?
Joel Eisenberg: Discuss briefly. Who is Ara? In our books, Ara is the muse who inspires the entirety of art and invention. The old Greek myth of the nine muses? Partially true, though there was only one in reality. This is our conceit. Ara becomes corrupted following a tragic loss. So, if the muse who inspires all of creation is corrupt, what then is the true purpose of our art? In our books, the end of the world begins when man is betrayed by his art, his most soulful creation.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Artistic Influence is a theme in Chronicles of Ara - Explain.
Joel Eisenberg: A true artist needs to create. There is no other way, no other outlet. But where does this need come from? Why and when does it appear? What is it about our consciousness that compels us to express our innermost thoughts on paper, or in a film, or a piece of music? And what is that inspiration that causes it all? These are some questions I wrestled with while writing these books.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Chronicles of Ara: Perdition ‐ Was first pitched as a film but now a major television network is developing CHRONICLES OF ARA. Explain.
Joel Eisenberg: Actually ... About four years ago, my wife and I were taking pitches from aspiring screenwriters and filmmakers at an event called "The Great American PitchFest." I'm in the film industry, and we were open at the time to listening to outside pitches. Someone named Steve Hillard arrived at our table, and pitched us a book called "Mirkwood," which was a fictional novel about J.R.R. Tolkien. We ultimately formed a partnership and the book was announced as an in development feature film. We elected to go in another direction after not being satisfied with either our offers or our representation. I had an idea to expand upon the Ara character from Steve's book, and develop this as a TV series instead. From there, I wanted to bring this to its fullest potential and the book series launched as well. Ovation TV, an AMAZING outlet, purchased the TV series rights and an 8- hour miniseries will launch this endeavor.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Explain the biblical reference in Chronicles of Ara.
Joel Eisenberg: Simple. We treat The Bible as another piece of literature. Not to discount this or any other holy book or to insult anyone of religion, but to further one of the themes of our work ‐ the extreme power of the written word to build and destroy civilizations. Within this frame, if we did not address The Bible our series would have been incomplete.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Chronicles of Ara: Perdition is 8 volumes ‐ How will these be released ?
Joel Eisenberg: Once a year or is Chronicles of Ara: Perdition a release to launch the screen version. One book of "The Chronicles of Ara" series every six months. One book of "The Lost Chronicles of Ara," our spin‐off series, in the three‐month interim between the others. Plan as of now is 8 books in the original series, and 3 in The Lost Chronicles," the first of which will be released at the end of January.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What is it about the fantasy genre you enjoy and why?
Joel Eisenberg: Like science fiction, fantasy to me allows us to indulge in metaphor more so than most other genres. Not a blanket statement, but true for us. And, as a consumer of fantasy product, it's a genre that fires my imagination. BooksAndAuthor.com: How is Chronicles of Ara: Perdition different from other books in the fantasy genre? A good question that seems to have a common answer. The overall response to this one so far is that we've really veered into literary fiction with this material. We have such a strong focus on art, and the real lives behind the artists that "Ara" inspired within our framework ... that we're being told we're transcending. I love it, if true. I'm particularly flattered by that response.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What do you hope to achieve with Chronicles of Ara?
Joel Eisenberg: As I mentioned above, I want to change perspectives. One comment someone gave me on the first book I particularly love: "Shift happens." On a more selfish side, I want this to be Harry Potter for the adult lit fiction set.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What was the last book you read?
Joel Eisenberg: I just reread the wonderful "Servant of the Bones" by Anne Rice, and also "Joseph Anton" by Salman Rushdie concurrently.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What's next?
Joel Eisenberg: After all this is said and done? Sleep. No, actually before that, I'm writing a feature film based on the life of boxer Joe Louis, with Gil Adler (producer of "Superman Returns," "Valkyrie," "Constantine," "Tales from the Crypt," etc.). Bill Duke will be directing it. I've been carrying around this passion project for 25 years, when I wrote my first draft. Things take time in Hollywood. And then sleep. Finally. And I'll think of my next project from there.