Author's On The Grill: Sarah Fine and Walter Jury

She's a popular young adult author of the Guards of the Shadowlands series, and he's a producer of the blockbuster film of the year, Divergent. Together they've created a new young adult series that's been described as MacGyver meets Jason Bourne, with aliens and a little romance thrown in. I've read SCAN, and loved it. Check out my review.

So how does an author and movie producer collaborate to release one of the must read books of the year? I nabbed an interview with the authors and asked.

How does an author and movie producer come together to collaborate? Had you crossed paths previously before SCAN?
We came together via our agents, but it was quite organic! Pouya came up with the idea and built the infrastructure since his day job as a producer requires him to think big picture. Sarah is a brilliant writer with a special talent for pacing and tension. It was a lot of fun to collaborate.
As Tate is a modern day MacGyver, did you need to consult with a source to verify how he could create homemade explosives for example?
Sarah consulted with a chemistry professor for some things, mostly about how to make explosions and chemical reactions happen in a feasible, realistic way. Much of the mayhem Tate whips up can be found through the magic of Googling, though. YouTube provided a lot of inspiration--it's both hilarious and terrifying what teenagers will do with toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil. And here we need to add a disclaimer: PLEASE do not try any of this stuff at home!
SCAN flows seamlessly, did you both have set goals in who was writing particular parts of the storyline?
Pouya likes to think big picture, so he ended up handling those types of items: story outline, plotting, character and concept creation, etc. Sarah researched the details, she focused on developing the characters on an emotional level, and her prose and tension-building talents are stellar. We worked on world-building together. It really works well between the two of us.
Tate is essentially an average teen with extraordinary training that readers can relate to. What do you think sets him apart from other young adult heroes?
There is an analogy between Tate and many kids in school growing up who don't understand the point of their grooming and educational path. Pouya had this conversation with his own cousin when he was in high school – his cousin said he had no idea why he was learning European history. Tate lives in a real high schooler's shoes. He doesn't know the point of his father's tough grooming. While Jason Bourne may have sought out his career choice or Jack Ryan may have been thrust into world politics, they understood what they were getting into - Tate doesn't and it’s frustrating and causes a divide between him and the adults in his life. This is a huge element of his character, creating lots of internal conflict.
With SCAN ending on a cliffhanger, what can readers expect from book two in the series, Burn?
We can’t share much, but what we can say is: more secrets revealed, more MacGyver like maneuvers, and definitely more action!
It's no secret that Walter is one of the producers of possibly the biggest young adult movie release this year, Divergent. How have you found the transition from producer to author?
WALTER: Believe it or not, it is very much a part of the same creative process. As a movie producer and a shepherd of the wonderful creations of major authors in the Hollywood system, I am constantly grappling with story ideas, story arcs and creative solutions to literary writing issues. As an author, the process is similar, it’s just starting from the ground up. So long story short, it really felt like a part of the same day job, and similarly rewarding!!
You're both writing the SCAN series under pen names, with Sarah's being shortened to her initials. Was that a decision based on keeping both your previous projects separate from your collaboration?
Creating the Walter Jury brand is really a big picture mindset to write fun cinematic stories that can all be read and identified by fans of big action thrillers, and yes, to keep it separate from Pouya’s work as a film and tv manager and producer. As for Sarah, we originally had the thought to keep it separate from her work as an author, but in the end we’ll be publishing under her name, Sarah Fine, and not the pen name.
And finally, do you think we'll see SCAN adapted for the big screen sometime in the future?
The film business is, to quote a wonderful studio executive friend, analogous to 'herding cats!' There is no telling what will happen, but as I do with all the literary work I shepherd, I will make sure quality is foremost on our minds in pursuing any sort of adaption.
Scan is due to be released in May, 2014. A blend of action, adventure, science fiction and romance, it's set to be one of the biggest young adult books this year. If you want to find out more about SCAN, simply visit Goodreads or Penguin Books.

Thank you to Stacey Barney from Penguin Book in the US, Sarah Fine and Pouya Shahbazian.

You can follow Pouya via his pen name Twitter account Here.
Sarah can be found via Twitter, her Website and Facebook


  1. I'm definitely looking forward to divergent and reading the series. this was a brilliant interview. thank you so much

    Wendy @ Fabulosity Reads

  2. Eeep. I'm so excited to read this. ^.^ I didn't realise he's producing Divergent! The awesome rating just blew sky high!!! It sounds really fun to collaborate for a book like this. I've co-written a bit, and it's soooo much fun to spin ideas of someone (particularly when they know what you're talking about). XD

  3. Oh, I was already looking forward to reading SCAN and now my interest has gone even higher thanks to this review! I love Sarah Fine's work, and it's going to be interesting to see this collaboration. The research and ideas behind this book sound fascinating, thanks so much for this informative interview.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. Wow, this is amazing! I remember reading your review on the book, and I can't wait for it to be released. I'm pretty sure it will be an exciting read.

    Oh and I'm looking forward to the Divergent movie. XD


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