Mystery Mondays: Haris Orkin on Finding Ideas

Today we welcome Haris Orkin. His novel You Only Live Once, was published by Imajin Books on March 21st. So it’s hot off the press, as they say. In addition to being an author, Haris is and playwright.

Over to Haris…

James Bond is Barking Mad

by Haris Orkin

Aspiring writers often ask me where I get my ideas. I don’t always have an answer for them on the spot. I’ll be glib or I’ll deflect, but in fact, it’s a very good question. Even though “You Only Live Once” is my first novel, I’ve been making a living as a writer for thirty years.

I’ve written radio and TV commercials for some of the largest companies in the world. I’m a produced playwright and screenwriter and for the last ten years I’ve been writing and designing video games. So I’m always generating ideas. Always. Sometimes I hesitate to delve too deeply into my process. I worry that if I pull it apart I may not be able to put it back together. I like the fact that my process seems mysterious and I trust that ideas will come to me, but the truth is the way I work is not all that complicated or mystical.

I’m a watcher, a reader and a listener. I’m endlessly curious and love eavesdropping on people’s conversations. (Okay, that sounded a little creepy.) I’m always reading newspapers and magazines and watching documentaries. I love movies and TV shows and my taste is incredibly eclectic.

It’s all grist for the mill. Those influences then collide with whatever internal conflict going on at the moment. (And I always have some internal conflict going on.) Writing is a way for me to work out those conflicts: a way to have a conversation with myself and the world.

Here’s an example.

When I found out I was going to be a father 28 years ago, I was happy and excited and terrified. My wife and I knew we were going to have a son and the prospect of impending fatherhood raised all kinds of questions and fears. What kind of example would I be? What would I teach my son? What kind of man was I? What kind of man would I like him to become?

It brought to mind my own childhood and the relationship I had with my own father. (And the relationship he had with his father.) With all those concerns and thoughts swirling around in my head, I started writing things down. It was a way to process my thoughts and feelings. Those thoughts and feelings eventually became a play that was performed in New York and at the La Jolla Playhouse in Southern California.

The play was called “Dada” and there was a scene in it that eventually became the spark that inspired “You Only Live Once.” The main character in the play, David, is an insecure father to be. He remembers a meeting he had with his guidance counselor when he was a junior in high school and it’s dramatized in the play.

The guidance counselor asks David what he wants to do when he graduates and he says doesn’t know. She pushes him, telling him, “Your grades are good. You’re clearly college material. You’ve always done well in math. Have you considered accounting?”

“My dad’s an accountant.”

“You want to follow in your father’s footsteps?”

“Definitely not.”

“Have you thought about actuarial science of the insurance industry?” Dave shakes his head, a painful look on his face. The counselor continues, “Well, there must be something that seems interesting to you. Isn’t there anyone you’ve read about or have heard of who has a career that seems the slightest bit intriguing?”

“Well, there’s one I guess, but it’s kind of dumb.”

“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that. You’re bright, you’re personable and if you apply yourself you probably could do most anything you want.”

“I want to do what James Bond does.”

“What?”

“James Bond. He gets to travel all over the world and drive really cools cars and he never has to sit in some dumb office and shuffle papers.”

“Very funny David,” she says as she sternly shuffles some papers. “But this is a serious question. What do you want to do with the rest of your life?”

Later in the play, grown up David has an imaginary conversation with James Bond and Bond confronts him on his choices, saying, “You settled. You gave up. You wanted to be me. How do you know you couldn’t have?”

“You’re not even real.”

“When you were fifteen I was more real to you than your own father. I embodied all your dreams. All your desires. You wanted to be suave and masterful and seductive and dangerous. You wanted men to fear you and women to fall all over you. Is that no longer true? Or do you know longer know what you want anymore.”

David stands up to him and says. “You kill people. You force people to have sex with you.”

“I have a license to kill and because I do I will brook no insolence from anyone. I take what I want and I do what I want and no one tells me how to live or what I can or cannot do.”

“But no one cares about you. And you don’t care about anyone else. What kind of life is that?”

“A life free of sticky and unnecessary encumbrances. To love is to allow someone inside so deeply the can cause you…unmentionable pain.” Bond’s eyes fill with tears. “Why give someone that power?”

David puts his arm around Bond and comforts him and, in that moment, finally puts the fantasy of James Bond to rest.

“You Only Live Once” examines the mythos of a Bond-like character in today’s world. It seemed to me that you’d have to be barking mad to actually do what James Bond does. And that brought to mind one of my favorite novels ever. Don Quixote. I could see the connections and from those connections “You Only Live Once” was born.

 

“You Only Live Once” Synopsis

James Flynn is an expert shot, a black belt in karate, fluent in four languages and irresistible to women. He’s also a heavily medicated patient in a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital. Flynn believes his locked ward is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and that he is a secret agent with a license to kill.

When the hospital is acquired by a new HMO, Flynn is convinced that the Secret Service has been infiltrated by the enemy. He escapes to save the day, and in the process, kidnaps a young Hispanic orderly named Sancho.

This crazy day trip turns into a very real adventure when Flynn is mistaken for an actual secret agent. Paranoid delusions have suddenly become reality, and now it’s up to a mental patient and a terrified orderly to bring down an insecure, evil genius bent on world domination.

http://getbook.at/YouOnlyLiveOnce

 You Only Live One

You Only Live Once Front Cover Official resized for websiteJames Flynn is an expert shot, a black belt in karate, fluent in four languages and irresistible to women. He’s also a long-term mental patient in a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital. Flynn believes his locked ward is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and that he is a secret agent with a license to kill.

When the hospital is acquired by a new HMO, Flynn is convinced that the Secret Service has been infiltrated by the enemy. He escapes to save the day, and in the process, Flynn kidnaps a young Hispanic orderly named Sancho.

This crazy day trip turns into a very real adventure when Flynn is mistaken for an actual secret agent. Paranoid delusions have suddenly become reality, and now it’s up to a mental patient and a terrified orderly to bring down an insecure, evil genius bent on world domination.

Reviews for “You Only Live Once”

“A brilliant homage to everyone’s favorite super-spy, and a hilarious, action-packed, made-for-the-movies thriller about a man suavely dancing along both sides of the thin line between heroism and madness.” —Matt Forbeck, New York Times bestselling author of Halo: New Blood

“Pacey and unrepentant fun, Haris Orkin’s You Only Live Once takes the James Bond mythos, gives it a swift kick in the backside and steals its wallet.” —James Swallow, New York Times bestselling author of Nomad 

“Fill shaker with ice. Add equal parts Ian Fleming and Quentin Tarantino. Shake (do not stir). Garnish with Douglas Adams, and you get You Only Live Once, a delicious martini as dry as the dusty California desert.” —Dan Jolley, USA Today bestselling author of the Gray Widow Trilogy

“If you’re looking—and who isn’t?—for a sexy, slapstick, razzle-dazzle, rock’em-sock’em re-imagining of Don Quixote as James Bond emerging from deep cover in a mental hospital to save the world, Haris Orkin’s hilarious yet touching You Only Live Once is the book for you.” —Charles Harper Webb, award-winning author of Brain Candy

WHO IS Haris Orkin?

Haris_1-25-18_120 FinalHaris Orkin is a playwright, screenwriter, game writer, and novelist. His play, Dada was produced at The American Stage and the La Jolla Playhouse. Sex, Impotence, and International Terrorism was chosen as a critic’s choice by the L.A. Weekly and sold as a film script to MGM/UA. Save the Dog was produced as a Disney Sunday Night movie. His original screenplay, A Saintly Switch, was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starred David Alan Grier and Viveca Fox. He is a WGA Award and BAFTA Award nominated game writer and narrative designer known for Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Mafia 3, and Dying Light, which to date has sold over 7.5 million copies.

Haris has contributed chapters to two books put out by the International Game Developers Association; Writing for Video Game Genres and Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing.

www.harisorkin.com

https://twitter.com/HarisOrkin

Find Haris on Social Media

Website: https://www.harisorkin.com/you-only-live-once

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHarisOrkin/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17753529.Haris_Orkin

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Haris-Orkin/e/B07B2L75HH/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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