Hello book lovers, welcome back! What a great interview we have for you today! Please join me in welcoming the authors Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the creators of the TV series, “Smallville,”.
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Double Exposure by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the creators of the TV series, “Smallville,” brings to life a unique storyline. Set in the 1960s to make the story believable, they explore the question, what if Hitler did not die in the bunker, and is still alive?
The plot begins with a KGB Russian agent, turned CIA asset, smuggling a film canister over the Berlin Wall. Because the East Germans shot the agent as well as the canister the CIA now needs help in attempting to repair it. They turn to David Toland, a decorated Korean War veteran, who wanted to leave his combat days behind him. Now the Director of Preservation for the Library of Congress’s National Film Archive, he is asked to restore the film by CIA Agent Lana Welles. The film shows Hitler is still alive, well, and dangerous. Because there are those that want to restore the Third Reich, Welles and Toland put their lives in danger as they attempt to pursue Hitler all over the world. Traveling to Russia for clues, they are saved by Simon Lean who is masquerading as a best-selling author. They join forces in their pursuit to find Hitler and to end his attempt at regaining power.
The novel is action-packed as the characters journey around the globe from Washington DC to Europe to South America. Betrayals, lies, deceptions, and deceits are at the heart of the story. David realizes that not everyone is who or what they are, learning that trust is a rare commodity with all the many traitors and moles.
Elise Cooper: Since you both are screenwriters why didn’t you try to make a movie?
Alfred Gough and Miles Millar: We initially imagined Double Exposure as a movie, but as soon as we started breaking the outline, it became clear that the scope of the story was too big and would be more suited to a novel with the period setting, the globetrotting locations, and the elaborate action set-pieces. Although Double Exposure is our first novel, we came to it after spending the entirety of our professional lives as screenwriters. We approached the story exactly the same way we would if we had been writing a movie or TV pilot. Like any great movie thriller, we wanted the narrative to have a propulsive drive. We loved the idea of starting with a real historical event and then using it as a jumping off point to spin our own wild, globe-trotting yarn.
EC: You are the creators of “Smallville,” the TV series about the life of Clark Kent before Superman?
AGMM: We were not huge comic book fans, but were fans of the superhero film, “Superman,” starring Christopher Reeve and directed by Richard Donner. We got the perspective from it, and with the TV series tried to stay true to the spirit, even as today’s Superheroes have become corporatized. When we started there was no Marvel universe. What we tried to do is dramatize the emotions of Clark Kent regarding how and why he became a hero. It was right after 9/11 where the mood of the country shifted and embraced Superman. It was the right show at the right time. He was the defender of America, which has been redefined and reinterpreted for every generation of Americans.
EC: Why the 1960s?
AGMM: Film restoration at the time was fairly new. When the Internet and technology is taken away the world is opened up more. There is not the crutch of the computer, cell phones, Google Maps, and DNA. The hero is challenged more.
EC: Are you both movie fans considering you included the classics “King Kong,” “The Great Dictator,” and the “Nun’s Story?”
AGMM: We are both die-hard movie buffs and have dedicated our professional lives to the art form. We first met at USC Film School and hit it off because we shared the same taste in movies. We wanted to write a book with movie references. It was a fun element of this story because we infused David’s job into the story. We hope readers caught all the references.
EC: How would you describe David?
AGMM: David Toland’s skill as a film restoration seemed unique, and was one that hadn’t been explored before in either a novel or a movie. We imagined him as the Indiana Jones of film restoration. He is conflicted about his life as a soldier so he escaped to this job so he does not have to deal with the real world. Now he is put in a situation that has world altering consequences.
EC: So what film personality describes David?
AGMM: He is a combination of Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, and William Holden. He has the quality of being the “every man” until he is pushed and then has an edge to him.
EC: How would you describe Lana?
AGMM: She plays things close to the vest and is very serious. She has to conform to being a woman in a man’s world. We wanted her to be the one to drive the plot. She is a strong female character who is mysterious and keeps David guessing.
EC: So what film personality describes Lana?
AGMM: She is a combination of Lauren Bacall, Veronica Lake, and Rita Hayworth. Lana has plenty of attitude and is strong, feminine, and smart.
EC: How would you describe Simon?
AGMM: Self-serving, in it for himself. The best party guest. A mercenary without much moral compass.
EC: So what film personality describes Simon?
AGMM: A combination of David Niven, Alec Guinness, and Peter O’ Toole. He is English and a scene stealing character.
EC: Why all the different settings?
AGMM: It is a globe-trotting adventure story. We wanted to use the Hitchcockian glamor and tone. Hopefully, readers take the journey with the characters who went from Washington DC to Russia to Europe to South America. Remember many Nazis went to Spain and South America on submarines.
EC: Can you explain the quote, “Films lie to tell the truth?”
AGMM: Everything about a movie is manipulation. The story has a cast of characters, and particular scenes. Putting it all together is for the emotional response.
EC: Is there going to be another book?
AGMM: We would love to continue David’s story in a series of novels. The jumping off point will have David restoring a piece of film that launches him on another unexpected adventure. We have already written the outlines to two follow-ups, but we obviously need to wait and see the reaction to Double Exposure.
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