Carla Malden grew up in
With her husband, filmmaker Laurence Starkman, she wrote twelve feature screenplays; they also served as rewrite guns-for-hire. The team of Malden & Starkman wrote and produced the short romantic comedy Whit & Charm, which screened at eight major film festivals, including The Hamptons, and won several awards. They also wrote and created a series of Cine Golden Eagle Award-winning Art History films produced in association with The Detroit Institute of Art and The National Gallery.
Along with her father, Academy Award-winning actor Karl Malden, Carla co-authored his critically acclaimed memoir, When Do I Start?, published by Simon and Schuster.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Carla. It's a honor to have you with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. I have spent most of my professional life working as a screenwriting team with my husband, Laurence Starkman, but since his death four years ago, I have segued into writing prose, which I am finding enormously rewarding. I am crazy proud of my daughter who is currently attending grad school at The American Film Institute. I consider myself beyond lucky that we see each other several times a week and spend most of that time laughing.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Los Angeles, ten minutes down Sunset Boulevard from where I now live. My mother still lives in the house I grew up in.
When did you begin writing?
I can’t really remember not writing. I have a distinct memory of being home from school, sick in bed, and writing little stories to pass the time when I got bored with “I Love Lucy” reruns. I began writing professionally in my twenties. I majored in English in college, but never took a Creative Writing course, though I now teach a Creative Writing workshop at a rehab facility.
What is this book about?
AFTERIMAGE: A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life is about my transition to widowhood. It’s about a last year and a first year: the last year of my husband’s life and my entire life up to that point, and the first year after his death and the rest of my life. It is not a primer; it’s a personal story, an account and an accounting. It’s about giving in and riding the wave of grief however it crests. And, at its heart, it’s a love letter.
What inspired you to write it?
It was one of those “I had to get it out” projects. I wanted to describe the journey that his brief illness set us on, but also to bear a sort of witness to my husband’s life – to who he was. It kept me connected to him, though, of course, it was also excruciatingly painful to relive. It took on a life of his own and began to shape itself.
Who is your biggest supporter?
I am so lucky to have so many magnificent supporters: my daughter, my sister, and several spectacular friends who genuinely want to see my succeed.
Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have a favorite author. Recently, I went on a Meg Wolitzer jag and read everything of hers. Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright – I love him for the poetry of the dialogue and because every single line is heartbreaking.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I have a literary agent – though we have never met face-to-face. I have been with my screenwriting agent for eighteen years.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Amazon has already begun shipping. They shipped early! The official release date was May 3, 2011. The book is available in book stores everywhere, as they say, as well as Amazon. It can also be ordered through my website: www.carlamalden.com.
I was dragged kicking and screaming into the website world, but I am very pleased with the finished product. www.carlamalden.com. I don’t blog, however.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
If you feel that there’s something else you can do that gives you as much pleasure, you should do that. If, on the other hand, you have no choice but to write. If finding the “most juste” or nailing a character with that single detail thrills you like nothing else can, then keep writing.
What is up next for you?
I am just completing my first novel. I have also finished a children’s book that my daughter, Cami Starkman, illustrated. It’s about a little boy and the Beatles – how can you co wrong?
Thanks for spending time with us today, Carla. We wish you continued success.