Novelist Jonathan Tropper is trying a new medium. The best-selling author is a writer and producer for Cinemax’s new series “Banshee,” which is being filmed in Charlotte. The show is a crime drama about “an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the murdered sheriff of Banshee, Pa., where he continues his criminal activities.” Tropper’s other projects include a sixth novel due out this summer.
Q. How does the writing process differ between novels and screenplays?
Novel writing is much more solitary. You do it alone from start to finish. Then you go through the editorial process, but that’s pretty much it. Screenwriting is a much more collaborative. You are continually developing and refining the work at every stage. You write your script, then you do rewrites for the producers, the director, the actors, etc. It’s always a work in progress until it’s shot.
Q. Your characters are so relatable. Are they based on real people you know?
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I almost never base any of my characters on real people. I just try to imbue my characters with very realistic foibles and motivations. I write about the kind of people that would interest me.
Q. Your work balances humor and poignancy. How do you achieve this?
That’s not something I really think about. I’m very much interested in the things that hurt, the pain we all experience as we move through life. But I’m also interested in finding the humor in all of it. Death, illness, divorce there are moments of absurdity and hilarity in all of it and that doesn’t detract from the seriousness of it. So I come at it from a place where neither can overwhelm the other.
Q. How was the decision made to shoot “Banshee” in Charlotte and how do you like it here?
That decision was made by HBO (which operates Cinemax), based on numerous factors including cost, aesthetics, and the availability of seasoned film crew out here. Now that we’ve been out here for a while, we feel really good about that decision. Our locations look great, we’ve got a fantastic crew out here, and we’re loving the city itself.
Q. What will your next book be about?
My new novel is called “One Last Thing Before I Go.” It’s about a middle-aged, divorced man who puts off having vital, lifesaving surgery on his heart to spend time trying to repair his relationship with the 18-year-old daughter he neglected for the last seven or eight years. It’s a bit darker and sometimes sadder than my previous novels, but I think it’s still a lot of fun. I just finished editing the book, which comes out on Aug. 21. To learn more, visit jonathantropper.com.