Interview with Bart Baker, author of What Remains

With two feature films, eleven movies for television, four television series credits, as well as eight theatrical plays produced around the world, WHAT REMAINS is Bart’s second novel. Bart’s first novel, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY, was a critical and commercial success and the movie rights were bought by Warner Bros./New Line Cinema for a feature film. He’s recently sold a film project in conjunction with the hit song by Miranda Lambert, OVER YOU, to the Lifetime Network. Bart lives in Ellisville, Missouri with his family.

Visit him at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Bart. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: Thanks for having me. I’m a typical aging jock who fights hard to hang onto his youth, has been blessed to make his living writing for over the last 30 years and most importantly I’m the father of two seven year old boys who exhaust me and elate me on a daily basis.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it? 

A: What Remains is ultimately the story about family. I have a big, extremely colorful family. They are a constant source of material for me and believe me, I’ve used them in many of my stories. But What Remains was special because I had just been through the adoption of my sons and was in a highly charged, very emotional space. My mother had died never meeting them, the adoption of my second son was a two year nightmare and I was dealing with people and situations that were foreign to me. This book allowed me to dump some of my emotion and create a story of love and loss that was vital to me at that time. The book is written in the first person from four different character’s points of view and that allowed me to dive into the guts of these characters. I needed to do that, I needed them to be an extension of my love, my loss, my rage, my humor, my feelings. On many days writing this book saved me from losing my mind.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it? 

A: The emotion. I invest in the characters with everything I have when I write and it often consumes me. Their emotions are my emotions. Their humor, my humor. Their drama affects me, their victories sustain me. Writing for me means getting into the people I create and finding a way to make them live and breathe. I don’t always write the nicest people. My characters are usually a hot mess. Hell, I’m usually a hot mess. Their journeys are tragic, difficult, complicated and loaded with insane humor. And when you’re wiped out from living that life, you return to your own, where you are caring for two little boys and their high energy, manic craziness, I’m ready for bed most nights. But I don’t know how to work any other way than to invest deeply and take on the lives of my characters.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so? 

A: I have done a few book readings and book signings. I’ve also spoken at book clubs which is a kick. I love talking to people who have read my book and get as invested as I do in the characters. You end up talking about the characters as if they are real people and it’s guilt-free since you can say what you want and not hurt someone’s feelings.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one? 

A: I’m also a screenwriter. I’ve had two feature films (Live Wire and Supercross) as well as 11 movies for television produced. I’ve also done work on four television series and had eight plays produced around the world. The movie rights to my first novel, Honeymoon With Harry, were bought by New Line and is development for a feature film. Presently Bradley Cooper is interested in the project. And I just finished rewrites on a film project I have at the Lifetime Network, in connection with the award winning song, Over You, written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. So, to answer the question, yes, I’ve had agents. Many over the course of my career. I’ve had a couple book agents. They didn’t do much for me. It seemed that most of the interest in my novels came from having so much attention from the movie industry in my books. Do I feel an agent is necessary? I am probably not the best person to answer that. I work solely with a management company in L.A. for my film work and that’s necessary. So even though I have been able to get my books published, I would imagine that an agent would be helpful over the course of a literary career. But in terms of what I experienced, they weren’t very successful and I found it easier to do it on my own. Which means you do a great deal more of your own footwork but that’s not a terrible thing.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it? 

A: Nope. Hahahahhaha!

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: I have my next book at the editors. It’s titled After Ozz, and it’s the first in a series of three YA novels I’m doing which uses the framework of The Wizard of Oz and resets it in the future as a young woman, Dot, must have her brother Ozz,before he becomes a warrior for their Aunt Emily who has taken over the country. She must cross dimension to the find the Emerald Isle and along the way picks up a rag-tag trio, Scared Crow, Heartless and Lars, who help her not only save Ozz but also save the country from being taken over. As I said, there’s two more books in this series that I’m going to write as Dot battles the Empresses of the North and South in the next two books (she takes on East and West in After Ozz.) I’m also mapping out a sequel to my first novel Honeymoon With Harry because I came up with an awesome concept for the book that will carry the story to some place new and wonderful.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Bart. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: What Remains and Honeymoon With Harry are both at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, in both paper and digital versions. The book can be bought in most digital sites and it is also in select bookstores.

When Conner Carter is banished from New York for cheating on his socialite wife, he flies across country to Sonoma, California to stay with his brother Cody, Cody’s ridiculously wealthy husband, Rhett, and their two adopted Cambodian children. Since childhood, Conner has been jealous of the gilded life Cody has led, but Conner learns that what glitters often tarnishes and shatters in shocking and dangerous ways. Having always taken life’s easiest route, Conner now finds that path closed when he is forced to step up for his brother when Cody’s personal life crumbles after Rhett goes missing in Colombia on a documentary film shoot. Conner’s world unravels when the woman he’s fallen in love with, their black Puerto Rican nanny, Zinzi, finds her violent past catching up with her. From the tattered and surprising pieces of these characters’ intense and complicated lives, these people will discover the strength in WHAT REMAINS.
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