Screenwriter to Novelist
Ed Protzel's Bumpy Road to Publication
In retrospect, Ed Protzel can truly say he was glad he made the sharp U-turn to novels, after years of laboring in the world of screenwriting. But it was a bumpy ride, as was his upbringing.
Ed grew up in St. Louis, a mix of a Jewish father and a part-Cherokee mother. He lived for a short time in an orphanage when his parents divorced, and after high school lived in St. Louis’ Gaslight Square entertainment district among its collection of artists, entertainers, and bohemians. Ed attributes this experience to his unique perspective, reflected in many of his fictional characters—outsiders and gamesters, male and female, on lonely, often deadly, quests, seeking justice, love, and fulfillment against society’s blindness.
Now an award-winning novelist with three published books under his belt (the fourth being released in 2019), Ed began his writing career in college, after one of his professors encouraged his talent. He wanted to write screenplays full time then, but had to make a living and put the endeavor aside, working on his scripts in his spare time and on weekends.
After several years, he took a break from work and relocated to Los Angeles, working at 20th Century Fox while working on his screenplays, completing five. He thought his “big break” had arrived and that he was going straight to the Hollywood’s “A” list when the head of production at a major Hollywood studio called one of his spec screenplays a “great script.” However, that same week the studio was sold, and Ed fell through the cracks.
“That was a huge disappointment!” he recalls.
Hating living L.A, Ed returned to St. Louis and switched to writing novels after earning his master’s in English literature/creative writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He started by converting one of his screenplays into what would become his first novel (The Lies That Bind). His actual “big break” came when he landed an agent to represent The Lies That Bind, who quickly found a publisher.
Today, Ed continues to live and write in St. Louis. His novels include The Antiquities Dealer: A David Greenberg Mystery, being released Nov 5; and his Civil War-era DarkHorse Trilogy: The Lies That Bind, Honor Among Outcasts, and Something in Madness (2019).
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