Burt Weissbourd is a novelist, screenwriter and producer of feature films. He was born in 1949 and graduated cum laude from Yale University, with honors in psychology. During his student years, he volunteered at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and taught English to college students in Thailand. After he graduated, he wrote, directed, and produced educational films for Gilbert Altschul Productions. He began a finance program at the Northwestern University Graduate School of Business, but left in his final semester to start his own film production company in Los Angeles. He managed that company from 1977 until 1986, producing films including Ghost Story starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr, and Raggedy Man starring Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, which The New York Times called “A movie of sweet, low-keyed charm.”
In 1987, he founded an investment business, which he still runs. Burt’s novels include the thrillers Danger in Plain Sight, The Corey Logan Trilogy (Inside Passage, Teaser and Minos), and In Velvet, which is set in Yellowstone National Park.
I had the privilege of working with Burt Weissbourd in 2021 and had the honor in being part of the success of his books becoming International Bestsellers on a world wide arena. With hundred of reviews and talk of his works being showcased at Yellowstone it is truly a pleasure to interview him on C-Suite.
This is what he shared up with us.
From movies to pen and paper you have quite the portfolio of published and produced works. My first question is which is of your books is your favorite and why?
This is a hard question to answer. It’s like being asked who’s your favorite child? The answer is always all of them. My first book, however, Inside Passage, will always be special for me. Not only because it was my first book, but because that’s the first time I wrote, and thought carefully, about Corey Logan and Abe Stein. Corey and Abe went on to be at the center of all three books in the Corey Logan trilogy.
I read that you use to teach during your college years English to students in Thailand, what was that experience like and more so what in your view did you learn from your students?
Teaching in Thailand was a great experience. I was young, twenty years old, and the college where I was teaching had just opened, so there was quite a lot of improvising. What I remember most was that my students couldn’t speak English, and I spoke very little Thai. Early on, I figured out that what they did know was the words to popular songs. They knew the words to Beattle songs, Rolling Stones songs and so on. What I did was teach them English by teaching them the meanings of the words in the songs. Before too long, often when I came into town, my students would break into these songs. It was funny and actually quite sweet.
From a movie perspective, you have worked with some of the biggest names Hollywood, one that comes to mind is Fred Astaire, who starred in your film “Ghost Story” among others. The question is when you write a script or a book for the matter do you visualize the characters acting in real life if that book or script becomes a featured film? My question is more directed on the mind set and process that you envision when writing a manuscript.
One of the things I learned producing films was that casting a movie before it was getting made, was very difficult. I think that carried over to my writing. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but I never think about actors or actresses when I’m creating a character. Sometimes, after the book is finished, I fantasize about who might play the part, but that’s always after the book is done.
Talk to us about what you have in the works from a book / novel standpoint. Do you have anything in the works that fans of your writing can look forward to reading?
I’m now finishing the sequel to Danger in Plain Sight, the last book that I wrote. It’s called Rough Justice, and it follows Callie and Cash a year later. This book begins with a twenty-six-year old woman, Sara, immigrating from Paris to the U.S. She has a visa, a job, and she flies to Seattle, where she’s picked up by an older woman, one of her new employers. This woman takes her on the company’s boat in the San Juan Islands to bring her to her new workplace and living set up. At night, on the water, the woman tries to kill her. Sara kills her assailant, gets away, to realize that she has no idea why they tried to kill her, and that she’s in a country where she knows no one. She has one lead, before she died, her mother gave her a letter written to her from her dad. The letter was from Seattle. She finds her dad at Callie’s restaurant in Seattle, Le Cochon Bronze. It’s Cash Logan, living now with Callie. He has no idea that he has a twenty-six year old daughter. Nor why people are trying to kill her. Sara is unmistakably Cash’s daughter, in brainpower, temperament and imagination. The story evolves from there.
I’m very excited to be selling my Yellowstone book, In Velvet, in the park next year. I’m hoping to team up with Yellowstone Forever, the principal foundation for the park to sell books together. I’m also exploring creating a partnership with some of the hotels in Yellowstone. 2022 is the 150th anniversary of the park, and I’m finding that there are lots of opportunities to take advantage of that, particularly since I’m willing to publish an anniversary edition. This is all at the early stage, but if it works, it promise the possibility to create long term relationships with partners to sell books with me to the three million plus visitors to Yellowstone every year.