At the end of May, the natives of Eastside mike thompson and Jake Skorheim have released their first two self-published books — The foundling and The Queen of Oz — on Amazon. Both veteran Hollywood screenwriters, the two decided to co-write and self-publish the young adult thrillers, which allowed them to have more creative license over their work.
Both books are published under the pseudonym WF Sawyer, a name they both created to honor their children – both have sons ages 2-4.
“We had an idea for a script and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be incredibly liberating if we just decided to write a novel instead of a movie?'” said Thompson, 50, who has spent his entire career as a screenwriter. . “If it’s a novel, we could pursue it with the creative control that only comes with literary writing – no one else comes in, no more cooks in the kitchen than the two of us.”
Skorheim, 35, has been mentored by Thompson in screenwriting since he contacted him about seven years ago in response to a screenwriting poster Thompson posted in the Seattle post intelligence. Skorheim had pursued screenwriting independently while working at KIRO until he partnered with Thompson.
“He let me come and talk to him about scriptwriting,” Skorheim said. “He guided me in writing stories and screenplays.”
Since then, the two have written movies and TV scripts for Universal Pictures, Fox Television, and more. When they had the idea of
– a teenage girl who discovers she was abandoned as a child by time-traveling parents and must find her way back to the future – they decided to try their hand at writing a book instead of a screenplay so that, Thompson said, they can “creatively control the franchise from start to finish.
About a year after writing The foundlingthe two had the idea of theQueenofouncesa contemporary interpretation theWizardofouncesand dove into writing together too.
“It’s obviously a different craft from screenwriting, and we have to be aware of the YA thriller genre,” Thompson said. “But it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to come up with our own ideas and see them through from start to finish. When we write a script, we give it to agents who send it to producers in Hollywood, and if they’re interested, they take it to the studios, and if they’re interested — if you’re lucky — someone wants to buy this. You are at the mercy of the powers that be. They must all sign and share your vision.
In the world of self-publishing, however, the two have had much more control over how they view their work. They decided to self-publish through Amazon, which they discovered through research, controls about 80% of the self-publishing market.
“Without too much difficulty, we could do it all on our own,” Thompson said. “Both of our books are available on Amazon for anyone and everyone to read, and that alone has been incredibly rewarding.”
“Coming from the world of screenwriting, where it takes so long to get things done, the idea that we can have people reacting to what we do and reading our work is really exciting,” added Skorheim. “The freedom to go straight to the reader is amazing.”
“As silly as it sounds, one day each of our children will be able to sit up in bed and read for fun a paperback book written by their father,” Thompson said. “You know, nobody pulls out a script and reads it. They just want to see the movie.
While writing books and self-publishing remain side jobs for Thompson and Skorheim – their daily bread is still writing screenplays – they hope to continue writing novels together: theFoundling is intended to be the first book of a trilogy. If their readers want more, they said they’re more than happy to deliver.
“We’re open to whatever it becomes,” Thompson said. “We are following the request. If there is demand for that side of our career, we will pursue that as it evolves.
While navigating the world of book writing, the two writers learned a lot, including the accessibility of self-publishing through a company like Amazon. It thrilled them with the immediacy and ease with which they and others like them can share their work.
“There’s a community of people who create books and art, and there’s also a community that chooses to celebrate those people who have the audacity to make their art available for consumption,” Thompson said. “The only way to survive in a self-published fashion is for an audience to ignite and celebrate that this material came to them through an individual who wanted to entertain them. And that’s really all we want to do. To entertain.”