By Julietta Bisharyan
After 40 years of writing and television production, UC Davis alumnus Grant E. Rosenberg has released his first novel, “Gideon,” a mysterious murder set in his hometown of San Francisco.
Originally, Rosenberg wrote “Gideon” as a pilot for an hour-long drama television series, but found that a 60-page script did not do justice to its story or its characters. The novel’s format also allowed him to explore themes and emotional impact on a much more complex level.
The novel, which took about a year to write, centers on Dr. Kelly Harper, who works alongside her father at their emergency care clinic in San Francisco. Her longtime boyfriend is a homicide inspector in the SF Police Department.
Once her father is murdered, everything changes and Kelly must now navigate moral and ethical grounds.
In addition to emphasizing the importance of family, the novel also explores ideas of revenge against justice as well as social responsibility. The title refers to the biblical destroyer Gideon.
Rosenberg says he was interested in the idea of putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations to see how they react. The hardest part of writing for him then was to justify his character’s actions.
Before embarking on television, Rosenberg studied political science and mass communication at UC Davis with the intention of going to law school later. In the third year, however, he changed course and became interested in television production while he was the director of KDVS.
So, upon graduating from college, he moved to Southern California to start working in the television industry.
Early in his career, he was a senior executive at Paramount Television. There he was involved in the production of many hit shows, such as “Cheers”, “Family Ties” and “Taxi”. In addition, he was responsible for the development and supervision of the miniseries “Shogun”, “Winds of War” and “Space” by James A. Michener.
After eight years at Paramount Studios, Grant joined Walt Disney Studios as senior vice president of network television, where he was responsible for the development and acquisition of new weekly series (including “Golden Girls” as well. than the Disney Sunday Movie).
Three years later, Grant returned to Paramount as a writer and producer, where he wrote episodes for several series, including “Macgyver” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.
Rosenberg then worked at Warner Bros. Television to write, produce and develop new series in Australia and Canada.
Rosenberg describes the storylines as a roadmap for actors, directors, and the crew to work with the writer to bring the story to life. Novels, on the other hand, give the author greater creative freedom to verbally paint an image and convey the thought processes, intentions and emotions of the characters.
“When you write for television, a lot of people give you comments and ratings. It’s not a lonely thing. Writing a novel is lonely, ”said Rosenberg. “So when you’re done with it you don’t really know if it makes sense or not or if it’s good or how it will stand up to scrutiny, so you really need people from the outside to read this.” . “
Before starting to write, Rosenberg starts with the main character and the base story and then builds on that. From there, he’ll jot down story ideas and additional characters in his notebook until he has enough for a brief overview.
After developing the details and a little more DIY, he ends up with a structured outline. However, he doesn’t always follow his plan. Sometimes her story will take a different direction, which Rosenberg says isn’t a bad thing.
“When I write a first draft, for me it’s like putting a piece of clay on the potter’s wheel. And then I start spinning it and working it and working it until the pot or the vase is finished, ”he said. “I’m writing a very quick first draft. I want to keep the thread creative, but the real work is in the editing and polishing. “
He typically writes six to seven hours a day and tries to finish by 5 p.m.
While he has lived in Southern California most of his life, Rosenberg says he has always considered Northern California his home. For the past four years, he’s lived in central Oregon, which he says is a huge change in scenery and lifestyle.
Due to the pandemic, Rosenberg is unable to do book signings and traditional visits. He still does interviews and podcasts on Zoom, as well as online Q&A with book clubs, classrooms, and literary groups.
For the past six months, Rosenberg has been working on his first draft of his sequel to “Gideon”, which will take place two months after the events of “Gideon”.
As for working on television again, Rosenberg says he’s always open to exciting new opportunities when they arise. It lacks the camaraderie of working on set and the creativity involved in creating a series, but doesn’t miss the 14-hour days and weekends spent writing scripts.
“Gideon” is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. More information can be found on Rosenberg’s website at https://granterosenberg.com/gideon.