THE RED CARPET AT CANNES: AUTHOR Q & A with Duane Byrge @byrge_duane #blogtour

Today's guest is mystery author, Duane Byrge. His new book is The Red Carpet at Cannes and he is on a virtual book tour this month with Pump Up Your Book! We're very glad to have him here today to talk about his new book, writing and what surprised him about getting his book published.



Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I came up with the idea while covering the Cannes Film Festival  for The Hollywood Reporter for the first time in 1994.  Robert Osborne, my best friend at the paper, was showing me the ropes.  He was passing the film-critic baton to me. Giving me the grand tour, telling me tales of the Carlton Hotel and other vaunted festival spots.

Since Bob had just begun his new gig as host of Turner Classic Movies the month  before, it was a last-festival, nostalgia tour for him and a great beginning for me. He filled me in on Cannes juicy history when he took me to lunch at one of his  favorite Cannes spots, La Pizza.  We got laughing and joking, as we always  did, and I said, “There's a whole shelf of novels waiting to be written  about this place.” He looked at me and said seriously, “Someday you  will write one. You'd better.”  Years later, Bob read the second draft  of my novel. I still remember his comments over dinner one evening at the Four Seasons, where he stayed in Atlanta while hosting TCM:  “This is really  terrific. I can't  wait to read your final copy.” It inspired me to carry on. To this day, I can hear Bob's  voice when he said  that, one of the highlights of my life.   

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I decided to self-publish when I found out that a former Hollywood Reporter alumnus, Charlie Barrett, whom  I had known for years when he was Johnny Carson's  personal  publicist on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,  had gone on to become one of the top  book  publicists in the country.  Not only did we share a friendship of many years working in  the entertainment business, Charlie knew the world I was writing about better than any publisher's  house publicity team could appreciate. Why would I endure a publishing house's overworked marketing division and their perfunctory representation, when Charlie Barrett could do a much superior job.

And, having written so many years for The Hollywood Reporter, I have stumbled into being a brand. I mined 30,000 Linkedin connections in a couple months. Re-connecting with  Charlie and publishing in the social-media age has been serendipitous.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I envision The Red Carpet at Cannes as the first in a franchise series centering on a film-critic/detective.  People always ask me about the behind-the-scenes stuff of the glamorous festivals and awards-shows that I've covered for The Hollywood Reporter.  I am currently writing Sundown at Sundance, a festival I have covered since 1983, before Sundance even took over the then existing United States Film  Festival in Park City, Utah.  At the time, Sundance was dismissed by the Hollywood community, and, to my great surprise, Robert Redford sought me out to do a story on the festival for The Hollywood Reporter. He was desperate for favorable press on the little-known festival. Redford was at the peak of his Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid/Sting stardom, and I was a cub reviewer/reporter. I vividly remember meeting him for the first time in Park City's old town hall,  beside the indoor basketball court.  He wore a bright red shirt and was alone. He kept shaking his head to get the snowflakes out. Just him and me, and the thud of mid-afternoon hoops.  Lots of Sundance stories since then, many of them kinda crazy.

Duane Byrge has written for The Hollywood Reporter for more than 20 years. Starting out as a secretary for the entertainment industry newspaper while he was a graduate student at the University of Southern California, Byrge rose to serve in various capacities, including news editor and senior film critic. He serves as a consultant to the Chicago International Film Festival, where he brought Halle Berry to Chicago in 2001 for a career tribute.
A Wisconsin native, Byrge holds a Ph.D. in Communications, with an emphasis in Cinema, from the University of Southern California, where he has served as a lecturer. His Ph.D. dissertation was the basis for the book, “The Screwball Comedy Films,” which he co-authored. The book was re-released in hardcover in 1991 by McFarland Publishing and re-released in paperback in 2001 as part of the publication’s Classic Series.
Currently an assistant professor of Mass Communications at Virginia State University, Byrge teaches journalism, motion picture history and appreciation, and mass communications. He is working on a book on movie producers, “Before the Shooting Begins,” which will be published by the University of California, Berkeley Press.

Veteran film critic Duane Byrge takes readers on a behind-the-scenes thrill ride at the legendary Cannes Film Festival in his new mystery, THE RED CARPET AT CANNES.

A longtime movie writer and editor for the Hollywood Reporter, Byrge turns to the thriller genre to tell the tale of Ryan Hackbart, who, like Byrge, covers the Cannes Film Festival for the fictional Hollywood Times.

Hackbart finds himself in the middle of a Hitchcock-style mystery as he becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the lead actress of the festival's opening-night film. Interrogated but released, his passport is confiscated, and he is hounded by the world media. He must solve the murder before the culprit kills him or the police arrest him.

Aided by his female companion, Delisha, Ryan's investigation thrusts Hackbart into the underbelly of the most glamorous film festival in the world and opens his eyes to what lies underneath the glitz and glamour.

After a long, successful career as a film journalist, Byrge decided to change to the novel format to tell his story.

“You can reveal truths within a novel that you can’t convey with the ‘facts’ of a news story,” Byrge explains. “It allows me to flesh out the full story of the events I have covered.”

THE RED CARPET AT CANNES will please mystery fans and film buffs alike. It's a five-star travelogue straight into a celebrity universe of dazzling parties, high-end cuisine, superstar celebrities, high fashion, and movie-world politics.


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