Monday, March 18, 2019

Joy Fielding's "All the Wrong Places"

Joy Fielding is the New York Times bestselling author of Someone Is Watching, Now You See Her, Still Life, Mad River Road, See Jane Run, and other acclaimed novels. She divides her time between Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida.

Here Fielding dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, All the Wrong Places:
There are strong roles for four women in this book, and any number of fine actresses who could play any of the younger women roles: Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Brie Larson, Lucy Boynton, Amy Adams, to name a few.

As for Joan, the oldest of the women at 70, I'd suggest Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, or Helen Mirren.

As for the character of Mr. Right Now, he would have to be devastatingly handsome, so I would suggest someone like Chris Pine or Zac Efron. (Again, no shortage of handsome men in Hollywood.)
Learn more about the book and author at Joy Fielding's website.

My Book, The Movie: Shadow Creek.

My Book, The Movie: Someone Is Watching.

My Book, The Movie: The Bad Daughter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 15, 2019

Karen Odden's "A Dangerous Duet"

Karen Odden's interest in the Victorian era goes back to her New York University doctoral dissertation, which explored how the medical, parliamentary, and literary representations of nineteenth-century railway disasters helped to create a discourse out of which Freud and others fashioned their ideas of “trauma.”

Odden has served as an Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and taught classes in English language and literature at New York University and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She has contributed essays and chapters to books and journals, including Studies in the Novel, Journal of Victorian Culture, and Victorian Crime, Madness, and Sensation; for ten years, she served as an Assistant Editor for the academic journal, Victorian Literature and Culture; and she has written introductions for Barnes and Noble’s Classics Series editions of books by Dickens and Trollope. Prior to receiving her Ph.D. in English, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and McGraw-Hill, as a Media Buyer for Christie’s Auction House in New York, and as a bartender at the airport in Rochester, where she learned how to stop being shy. Her first book, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today Bestseller and won the 2017 New Mexico-Arizona award for eBook Fiction.

Here Odden dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, A Dangerous Duet:
I’d tap Emma Watson for any one of my heroines. She has such a mobile, expressive face; she can light up with joy, but she also displays a quiet fierceness and a capacity for insight in many of her roles. My heroine Nell Hallam is passionate about her piano but reflective—and well aware of the danger of her mother’s legacy of mental illness.

Ben Barnes for Jack. I had him in mind as I wrote; his face is dark, pensive, watchful, expressive. In the film Prince Caspian, he suggests a searing pain stemming from a father-figure’s betrayal quite similar to the one Jack experiences.

Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy, would make a brilliant Stephen Gagnon, my sociopathic violin player.
Visit Karen Odden's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Karen Odden and Rosy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Amber Royer's "Pure Chocolate"

Amber Royer writes fun science fiction involving chocolate, aliens, lovesick AIs, time travel, and more. She teaches enrichment/continuing education creative writing classes for both teens and adults at UT Arlington.

Here Royer dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Pure Chocolate:
My friends and I did a book trailer for Pure Chocolate. You can see the Chocoverse books have potential for visual appeal. It is after all meant to be a telenovela-on-the-page, crossed with a space opera, so there’s tons of drama – and a goodly amount of action. (New to the Chocoverse? Here’s a trailer for the first book, Free Chocolate).

When we did the trailers, we intentionally kept faces fuzzed, so that the reader could imagine these characters any way they wanted. Which makes this whole “dreamcast your book” exercise feel a little counterintuitive. But you asked, so I brainstormed.

There would need to be a goodly bit of CGI because the cast of my books includes a cop who’s a 7-foot tall venomous reptilian humanoid, and a number of named characters who are lemon-yellow giants with double-rows of shark teeth and oversized whale-like eyes. But if you focus on the characters who are human (or human-ish) who are important to both books:

Bo’s an ex-actress in her mid twenties who has fled across the galaxy to get away from the paparazzi after scandal ruined her career. She’s enrolled in a culinary academy on a backwater planet at the beginning of the first book, but she’ll be traveling the galaxy before all this is over. In my mind Bo looks a lot like Angelique Boyer before she went blonde.

Brill is Bo’s boyfriend – from the planet Krom. From the outside, Krom look human – with the exception of their chromashifting irises, which let you read their emotions in their eyes. But Krom can move at flash speeds and have book lungs, so they can go extended periods without having to breathe. They also have significantly longer lifespans, so while Brill’s older than Bo, he should look eternally young. I pictured Brill looking a bit like James Franco circa Spiderman 1. Although Liam Hemsworth is a pretty good match for how the artists have rendered Brill on the covers of both books, and that image has kinda grown on me.

Eva Longoria would have enough “presence” to play Bo’s diva mamá. Mamá Lavonda’s the most popular celebrity chef on Earth in a future where chefs are bigger than rock stars. She’s used to getting what she wants – but she’s had to live through a lot, including the violent death of Bo’s father, to get there.

And Nathan Fillion would be able to pull off the air of danger combined with perfect comic timing needed for Frank, Mamá’s boyfriend and a man of hidden motives, whose true intentions and loyalties come clear pretty quickly in the first book, making his relationship with Mamá – and Bo – complex to say the least.

Bo meets Kaliel, a human transport pilot who’s been grounded after causing an incident that could spark war, in the first book when she goes to Rio to steal the source of chocolate – in the form of an unfermented cocoa pod. Sparks fly and much drama ensues. I picture Kaliel looking a bit like Dayo Okeniyi.

Lastly, there’s Chestla, who is an alpha predator on her home planet Evevron. But if she doesn’t smile and show off her predator’s teeth, and you slap a pair of sunglasses on her to hide the slit-pupil green eyes, she could be mistaken for human from a distance. Chestla’s both a warrior and a nurturer, and has an incredibly optimistic disposition in even the most dire of circumstances. I think Amanda Seyfried could play her admirably.
Visit Amber Royer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Free Chocolate.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 11, 2019

Devin Murphy's "Tiny Americans"

Devin Murphy grew up near Buffalo, NY in a family with Dutch roots. He holds a BA/MA from St. Bonaventure University, an MFA from Colorado State University, a PhD from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bradley University. He has worked various jobs in national parks around the country and once had a three–year stint at sea that led him to over fifty countries on all seven continents. His fiction has appeared in over 60 literary journals and anthologies, including The Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, The Chicago Tribune, New Stories from the Midwest, and Confrontation. He lives with his wife and children in Chicago.

Here Murphy dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Tiny Americans:
This is fun to think about. Tiny Americans is about one family over thirty years, really focusing on their adult lives, so I will cast the adult versions here.

The father, is an outdoors type who has not taken great care of himself, so would need to be a bit weathered. I love everything Ed Harris and Will Patton, so I’d put in a call to those guys.

The German, artist mother, Catrin, is loving and volatile, and hits some real emotional depths in the book, so let’s dream big for her: Meryl Streep, or Susan Sarandon.

Jamie, the philosopher, mother, and truth teller of the family is both beautiful and smart despite shouldering the weight of deep dysfunctions. Can we cast Jennifer Connolly or Helena Bonham Carter please?

Lewis, the older brother, is a seafarer, and a rugged guy. I imagine something along the lines Christian Bale from Out of the Furnace.

The final main character, Connor, is also a bit rough looking, but capable of cleaning up and going out into modern society and fitting in. Let’s see if Jeremy Renner can duplicate his Wind River look.

So, do you call all these super stars or do I?
Visit Devin Murphy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Alyssa Wees's "The Waking Forest"

In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa Wees grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.

Here Wees explains her choice for director of an adaptation of her debut novel, The Waking Forest:
When I write, I don’t picture my characters as certain actors, and even now that I’m done writing The Waking Forest, I still don’t have much of a dream cast. But I do have a dream director: Guillermo Del Toro. The wonder and darkness of Pan’s Labyrinth, one of my favorite movies, inspired the way I played with magic in The Waking Forest and thought about what it means to see into another, stranger world that no one else seems to see. For Ofelia in the movie, her fantasy world interwoven with the real one is both a blessing and a burden, and Rhea in The Waking Forest experiences a similar sense of awe as well as a weight as she discovers a realm that seems to exist outside the often rigid bounds of reality. Many of his films deal with magic and fairy tale tropes, and he has such a beautiful and haunting understanding of monstrousness that I think he’d perfectly capture the tone and themes of The Waking Forest.
Visit Alyssa Wees's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Vanessa McGrady's "Rock Needs River"

Vanessa McGrady spends time thinking about feminist parenting, high-vibrational food, and badass ways to do things better. She often wonders why people aren’t more freaked out about plastic in the oceans. Whether in New York, the Pacific Northwest, or Glendale, California, she is grateful to call each place home.

After two years of waiting to adopt—slogging through paperwork and bouncing between hope and despair—a miracle finally happened for McGrady. Her sweet baby, Grace, was a dream come true. Then McGrady made a highly uncommon gesture: when Grace’s biological parents became homeless, McGrady invited them to stay.

Here McGrady dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption:
If they make my book into a movie, I’d love to see Drew Barrymore play me.

I could see Jared Leto/Adrien Brody/Viggo Mortenson as Bill, Kristen Stewart/Dakota Fanning as Bridgett.

For Peter, Daniel Craig or Dennis Quaid.

Of course, we could tell it as it was, but I’d also love to experiment with a twist in the cinematic re-telling. Maybe a same-sex couple or cast some POC to add a transracial adoption element.
Visit Vanessa McGrady's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

David Downie's "The Gardener of Eden"

David D. Downie has called Paris and the Marais home since 1986. He has written for over 50 publications worldwide including Bon Appétit, The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country Travel, The San Francisco Chronicle, epicurious.com, and Salon.com. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, three Terroir guides, as well as several cookbooks and crime novels. He lives with his wife, Alison Harris, a photographer, and creates custom tours via his "Paris, Paris Tours" blog site.

Here Downie dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Gardener of Eden:
The Gardener of Eden was made to be filmed by Alfred Hitchcock. I grew up watching Hitchcock’s movies and his TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Think of the terrifying shower scene in Psycho, the breathless crop-duster scene in North by Northwest, the horrible, obsessive pecking of gulls and the seaside setting in The Birds. Then fold in the dizzying, tower-top and the deeply creepy in-the-giant-redwoods scenes of Vertigo. Hitchcock was the “Master of Suspense,” the Michelangelo of the psychological thriller, a genre that relies as much on chiseled character development and a feeling of ratcheting tension as on action or violence.

So, when the hero of The Gardener of Eden, James Paul Adams first appears on the darkly beautiful, wave-lashed beach below the cliffs of Carverville, Hitchcock’s camera would pick out the flapping black hooded windbreaker that makes the mysterious, solitary figure look like a cross of Jesus Christ and Rasputin. The lens would then zoom on the shiny spent gun-shells clutched in James’s hands, his big, gnarled hands clasped behind his arched back, as if he were a prisoner cuffed from behind and made to march to the gallows.

Jimmy Stewart could play the role, though the rougher, gruffer, tougher Gregory Peck might be a better fit. Tall, handsome, idealistic, fearless—and flawed—that is James, a Hitchcock character through and through. A sonorous baritone rusty from lack of use—because James, once a high-flying lawyer and judge, has become a wandering recluse. He’s a lavishly bearded, long-haired beachcomber who rarely speaks to anyone as he quests to find his former life and the lost love of that life.

The role of Beverley, the garrulous, gourmandizing, bowling-ball-shaped innkeeper of The Eden Resort & Cottages, where James winds up being the gardener, goes to Marsha Mason. Who? The Goodbye Girl—and dozens of other greats. Mason has been playing in Grace and Frankie in recent years, but was nominated four times for Oscars when I was growing up, plays serious and comic roles with equal flair, and has the smarts and style of Beverley. Hitchcock would approve.

Kristin Scott Thomas, though only 20 when Hitchcock died in 1980, is the book’s fictional Maggie, no question. She’s beautiful, tough, smart and faithful, and, like Beverley, runs rings around most of the other characters in the novel. Maggie hasn’t seen James in nearly forty years, but her heart is still his, for way too many reasons to explain here. Think of her in The English Patient, playing alongside Ralph Fiennes. Now that I mention him, Fiennes would be a perfect James. Both are English, not American, but they’re so good it doesn’t matter.

Sidney Greenstreet, another Brit, as played in The Maltese Falcon, would make a fine Harvey Murphy, the fat, sadistic county sheriff in The Gardener of Eden, though Ernest Borgnine at his most sinister, say, in Bad Day at Black Rock, might even be a better choice.

One of my favorite character actors, ever, Harvey Keitel, lifted from The Duellists, is the perfect Clem Kelly, the ornery, evil mayor of Carverville and editor of its propaganda sheet, The Carverville Lighthouse.

If Jussie Smollett were a few years younger and not in custody, he might be a good fit for Alexander, aka Taz, the surprising, goofy teenage hero who saves everyone’s bacon. Though only seventeen, Taz certainly knows Hitchcock’s repertoire. Does Smollett? Maybe. So, I am open to suggestions. Let me know?
Visit David Downie's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Gardener of Eden.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Claire Booth's "A Deadly Turn"

Claire Booth is a former true crime writer, ghostwriter, and reporter. She lives in California. The Branson Beauty, featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, is her first novel.

In 2017 she dreamcasted an adaptation of Another Man's Ground, the second Sheriff Hank Worth Mystery.

Here Booth revisits the exercise for volume 3 in the series, A Deadly Turn:
There are a few new characters in this newest installment of my Sheriff Hank Worth series. The first, Dale Raker, is a city police detective who teams with county sheriff Hank to investigate a murder. He’s a wide, solid native Missourian, and I think Eric Stonestreet would be perfect.

The other new character is an aging country music star. He’d been a huge success and is trying to make a go of it again in a Branson, Missouri theater. I would love, love, love to see Sam Elliott in that role.

And to recap my mainstays, I’d love Oscar Isaacs as Hank, Octavia Spencer as Chief Deputy Sheila Turley, and Logan Lerman as young deputy Sam Karnes.
Visit Claire Booth's website.

My Book, The Movie: Another Man's Ground.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 1, 2019

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's "Stolen Girl"

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the acclaimed author of over sixteen picture books and novels. Her earlier picture books include Enough, Silver Threads, Daughter of War, Aram's Choice and The Best Gifts.

In 2013 she won the Silver Birch Fiction Award for Making Bombs for Hitler and the Red Cedar Award for Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War.

Here Skrypuch dreamcasts the lead in an adaptation of Stolen Girl, the latest volume in her WWII trilogy:
Stolen Girl starts off with Nadia, a new immigrant to Canada, just after World War II. She doesn't know her past and is almost afraid of finding out about it. For a film treatment, there would need to be an actor playing her current age, which is 12, as well as who she was in her flashbacks, at about age 6 to 8. For the younger girl, the actor in the book trailer would be absolutely perfect.

For twelve-year-old Nadia, Millie Bobby Brown who played Eleven in Stranger Things would nail it.
Visit Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's website.

My Book, The Movie: Making Bombs for Hitler.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Soraya Lane's "The Spitfire Girls"

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Lane lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

Here Lane dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Spitfire Girls:
I am very visual when I start writing a new book, and I like to be able to “see” my characters, so I actually spend time “casting” my characters, which usually involves scanning the internet for images to match with each character, and then I create a Pinterest board. For my new release, The Spitfire Girls, I would love to see Emilia Clarke (of Game of Thrones & Me Before You fame) as my petite, gutsy pilot Ruby; Jessica Biel as capable leader May; and Jennifer Lawrence as brazen, gorgeous American pilot Lizzie. And my favourite hero in the story is Benjamin, and I’ve always imagined him as Tom Hardy.

Last year, one of the most exciting moments of my career happened when I signed with film agent Addison Duffy at United Talent Agency. We had a very surreal phone call about my books, and she wanted to know my dream list of producers/directors/actors. So now I’m always writing thinking “imagine if this was turned into a film”. It may never happen, but a girl can dream!
Visit Soraya Lane's website.

--Marshal Zeringue