Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jennifer Jaynes's "The Stranger Inside"

USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Jaynes has always had a passion for writing, even if it took her a while to turn her passion into a career. After graduating from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and a minor in management, she made her living as a content manager, webmaster, news publisher, editor, and copywriter. Then everything changed in 2014 when her first novel, Never Smile at Strangers, topped bestseller lists at USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. At that point, there was no going back.

Since her debut, Jaynes has added two more novels to the Strangers Series. Her new novel is the stand-alone thriller, The Stranger Inside.

Here Jaynes dreamcasts the lead in an adaptation of The Stranger Inside:
I would love for Diane Lane to play my protagonist, Diane Christie. Lane is who I envisioned when constructing Christie physically. She has dark hair and classical features. Diane Lane is a bit older, but I’m sure with the right makeup artist she could pull off the younger Christie.
Visit Jennifer Jaynes's website.

Writers Read: Jennifer Jaynes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 26, 2017

Andrew Pyper's "The Only Child"

Andrew Pyper is the author of eight novels, including The Only Child and The Demonologist, which won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Hardcover Novel and was selected for the Globe and Mail’s Best 100 Books of 2013 and Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2013. Among his previous books, Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Killing Circle was a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including The Demonologist and The Damned, are in active development for feature film.

Here Pyper dreamcasts an adaptation of The Only Child:
The Only Child is a gothic thriller, which is to say it requires the casting of a monster. The monster of my novel isn't outwardly disfigured in any way, his troublesome aspects lying within him - and therefore startling when they appear. This co-lead part in The Only Child movie would require a man capable of charm and threat, and the ability to pass between the two smoothly, even compellingly. So who would I pin to the casting board for The Only Child's monster? How about Tom Hardy? Or Michael Fassbender?

But this isn't only the story of a monster. It's a two-hander, as they say, and the other hand in this case belongs to Dr. Lily Dominick, a forensic psychiatrist who may, or may not, be a blood relation to the monster. In the novel, Lily is described as physically small, severe, professional, intense. But also, over the course of the story, she's revealed to be possessed of surprising (to her) strength, passions, resourcefulness. Could I ask for a Rooney Mara? Kate Mara also, for that matter? To be sure, we should consider all the Maras.
Visit Andrew Pyper's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Wildfire Season.

The Page 69 Test: The Wildfire Season.

The Page 69 Test: The Killing Circle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Helene Stapinski's "Murder in Matera"

Helene Stapinski began her career at her hometown newspaper, The Jersey Journal. She is the author of the memoirs Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History and Baby Plays Around: A Love Affair, with Music. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies, most recently, Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up. Stapinski has also written extensively for The New York Times, for Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, Salon, Real Simple, New York magazine and dozens of other newspapers, magazines and blogs. She’s been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Today Show and as a performer with The Moth main stage.

Here Stapinski dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy:
There are two killer (pun intended) roles for women in Murder in Matera. Marisa Tomei would have to play me, the crazy mom traveling back and forth to Southern Italy to uncover the family murder. And Isabella Rossellini would play Vita, my great great grandmother, who escaped to America from the town of Bernalda after the murder in the 1800s, leaving her husband, Francesco behind.

Oscar Isaac, with his sad, dark eyes, would have to play the young Francesco because I love Oscar Isaac and want to meet him and have dinner with him. If Sophia Loren were a little younger, she'd be perfect to play Vita. She's one of my favorite actresses and her films were actually an inspiration when writing Murder in Matera, particularly Gold of Naples. A must see if you have any interest in Southern Italy.

Someone from the Coppola clan would direct since most of the story takes place in their ancestral village of Bernalda, where Francis recently opened a luxury hotel. And it would be filmed on site. Bernalda is achingly beautiful and in desperate need of a film industry cash infusion. Its neighbor, Matera, has been used as a stand in for countless Biblical films because it resembles Jerusalem. (Ben Hur, The Omen, Passion of the Christ).
Visit Helene Stapinski's website.

Writers Read: Helene Stapinski.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wendy Webb's "The End of Temperance Dare"

Wendy Webb's novels include The Vanishing, The Fate of Mercy Alban, and The Tale of Halcyon Crane.

Here Webb dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The End of Temperance Dare:
Oh, this is fun. I imagine how my characters look when I’m writing my books, sometimes imagining real life actors. So here goes, for the main characters from The End of Temperance Dare.

Miss Penny: Maggie Smith
Miss Penny is the departing director of Cliffside Manor, daughter of Chester Dare, the philanthropist who build Cliffside as a tuberculosis sanatorium back in the day and turned it into a retreat for artists and writers when TB was cured. She hires Eleanor and sets in motion the events of the story.

Eleanor (Norrie): Sandra Bullock or Amy Adams
Norrie, the new director of Cliffside, is coming off of years on the crime beat at the local newspaper. She’s burned out and wants a less stressful life, but finds anything but. She is vulnerable and a bit damaged by her years of immersing herself in horrible crimes, but she is also funny and strong and smart.

Nate: Nathan Fillion.
Coincidence? No! Nate is funny, a wisecracker, handsome and completely adorable, with sandy brown hair he can’t keep out of his eyes. Just like Mr. Fillion. Yeah. I’m a fan.

Richard: Idris Elba
Richard, a photographer who comes to Cliffside for a retreat, is brooding and thoughtful and Norrie’s partner in trying to solve the mystery of what’s going on at Cliffside. He’s also a total badass when the situation warrants it. I had been imagining a Colin Farrell-esque man when I wrote the book but, hey, it’s my movie so I’m calling it for Idris Elba.
Learn more about the book and author at Wendy Webb's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Tale of Halcyon Crane.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ryan Lobo's "Mr. Iyer Goes to War"

Ryan Lobo is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker based in Bangalore.

His work has appeared in National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Boston Review, The Caravan, and Bidoun Magazine.

Here Lobo dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Mr. Iyer Goes to War:
I initially wrote this book as a screenplay.

When I wrote the book I had in mind an actor like Sir Ben Kingsley as Lalgudi Iyer . His gangster character in the movie Sexy Beast was inspiring in some regards, especially the intensity.

I imagined Bencho to be played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an excellent Indian actor who was great in the movie Lunchbox. He came across as a very identifiable and likeable character.

Iyer was inspired by Don Quixote, a conservative iconoclast of sorts who lived by the values of an older time, at odds with the modern world. A bit of insanity would essential to his character and Sir Ben Kingsley's acting in Sexy Beast certainly fits the bill.
Visit Ryan Lobo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lucinda Riley's "The Shadow Sister"

Lucinda Riley is the New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, The Midnight Rose, and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than five million copies in thirty languages She lives in London and the English countryside with her husband and four children.

Here Riley dreamcasts an adaptation of The Shadow Sister, the third installment in the seven book series, The Seven Sisters:
When I dream-cast The Storm Sister last year for this blog, little did I know that my dreams would turn to reality: the Seven Sisters series has been optioned for a multi-season television adaptation by a Hollywood production company. I had a surreal experience when I went to Hollywood and discussed casting – and realised that I wasn’t ‘dream-casting’ anymore. While the project is still in its very early stages, working with the production team has given me a fascinating glimpse of what happens behind the scenes. I will have a lot of input in the casting process, so I am looking forward to meeting the talented actors and actresses who will bring my characters to life.

For the main character Star in The Shadow Sister, I have imagined the lovely French actress Léa Seydoux, who would be able to portray her vulnerability as well as her strength. Star’s life becomes entangled in that of two brothers: Orlando, the owner of an antique bookshop in London, who would be played by Rupert Grint (of Harry Potter fame) and his older brother, the mysterious Mouse, would be perfectly portrayed by Tom Hiddleston (I loved him in The Night Manager).

In the historical sections of The Shadow Sister set in Edwardian England, Flora McNichol, Star’s great-great grandmother, would be played by Léa Seydoux as well, as the plan is to double-cast each sister and her ancestor. Archie Vaughan would be played by Robert Pattinson (from the Twilight series). King Edward VII could be played by the British actor Brian Blessed, famed for his booming voice, and the king’s mistress, Alice Keppel, could be played by the beautiful Kate Winslet.

CeCe, Star’s dominating younger sister, would be played by the Australian Aboriginal actress Jessica Mauboy. CeCe’s story continues straight on from Star’s, and you can read her book The Pearl Sister in the US next spring 2018.
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Storm Sister.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sam Wiebe's "Invisible Dead"

Sam Wiebe's novel Last of the Independents won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and an Arthur Ellis Award, and was nominated for a Shamus award. His second novel, Invisible Dead, was published by Random House Canada and Quercus USA. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Spinetingler, and subTerrain, and he was the 2016 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence. He lives in Vancouver.

Here Wiebe shares some insights about adapting Invisible Dead for the big screen:
Most MBTM entries focus on casting, but before I get there I’d like to talk about location.

Vancouver is known as Hollywood North due to the number of movies and TV shows filmed here. From X-Files to Deadpool to Jason Takes Manhattan, Vancouver is visually familiar to everyone…but not as itself.

So how do you film a story set here?

In some ways this overfamiliarity is an advantage, because Invisible Dead is a book about what lies beneath the surface of the city.

Invisible Dead’s Vancouver is a city where troubled young women go missing all too often. The main character, David Wakeland, sets out to find a missing sex worker, and must eventually confront some painful truths about life in his city.

Filming in Vancouver would offer a chance to show the city streets and tourist sights we all recognize…and then send the camera down the alleys and dark places that haven’t been captured on film. There is poverty and desperation in Vancouver, particularly downtown, which is known as the poorest neighbourhood in the country. But what’s so striking is how close those streets are to the very wealthiest areas.

An Invisible Dead film would capture that connection, between what we think we know about a place and its dark reality.

And my casting for Wakeland? Tom Hardy all the way.
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 12, 2017

Jenni L. Walsh's "Becoming Bonnie"

Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Walsh's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume.

Becoming Bonnie, her debut novel, tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. The sequel Being Bonnie will be released in the summer of 2018.

Here Walsh dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of Becoming Bonnie:
This is especially fun to dream about because the film/tv rights for Becoming Bonnie, which tells the untold story of how Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo, were optioned by a production company. Of course, authors don’t typically have much say in the development or casting of the show (unless you are someone like JK Rowling), but I’ve done my fair share of imagining on my end. And I’ve narrowed down whom I’d be eager to see as my version of Bonnie Parker to three wonderful actors, based on two main attributes.

First, it'd have to be someone with a similar 5-foot-nothing stature, and, second, I’d want a gal with a great singing voice, because my novel includes original lyrics that my Bonnie and Clyde pen together.

That leaves me dreamcasting Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Aubrey Peeples (Nashville), or Darcy Rose Byrnes (Sofia the First, Y&R) as half of my Bonnie and Clyde.
Visit Jenni L. Walsh's website.

Writers Read: Jenni L. Walsh.

The Page 69 Test: Becoming Bonnie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

William Christie's "A Single Spy"

William Christie is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a former Marine Corps infantry officer. He is well into middle age, and is the author of eight novels, five under his own name and the latest two under the pen name F.J. Chase, which was basically a publisher’s marketing ploy. He also wrote SEAL Team Seven: Direct Action, for Berkley Books, under the name Keith Douglass, because he needed a new car at the time.

Here Christie dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of his new novel, A Single Spy:
Ah, now here we have the classic clash between art and commerce. Because I should say that if they make A Single Spy into a movie I would like Brad Pitt to play Alexsi. Or Matt Damon, or whoever Clint Eastwood would prefer, or any figure of Hollywood power who can get a movie made by simply agreeing to participate in it. The reality, of course, is that I would simply be flattered if anyone were polite enough to ask. Though now that we've covered commerce perhaps we should consider art. The actor would have to be in his 20's, and be able to project the feral quality of a born survivor of both Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany. Yet also be able to lay claim to the audience's sympathy. If I hadn't seen Mad Max Fury Road I never would have considered Nicholas Hoult, but I think he's my man. As the single spy in my novel you would look into his eyes and believe him when he was lying to you, and you would never see him coming until it was too late.
Visit William Christie's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 8, 2017

Richard E. Ocejo's "Masters of Craft"

Richard E. Ocejo is associate professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. He is the editor of Ethnography and the City: Readings on Doing Urban Fieldwork and author of Upscaling Downtown: From Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City.

Here he shares some ideas about adapting his new book, Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy, into a mini-series:
While my book is about people working in fun jobs, it would be rather difficult to turn it into a single movie, but it’d make a great television mini-series. My book looks at the transformation of traditionally low-status manual labor jobs into “cool” taste-making occupations that many young people want to do as careers. I studied cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men’s barbers, and whole-animal butchers. I divide the book into two parts, each with four chapters. In Part I, I devote a chapter to each of these jobs, describing their history and renaissance. In Part II, I bring them all together in each chapter, based on particular themes: how these people pursue these jobs, how they apply a sense of craft to their work, how they teach taste to their consumers, and how their work constitutes a performance. So we’d have to break up the people and action in Part II and combine them into the chapters in Part I.

Episode 1 would be about the cocktail bartenders. Costume and set designers will have fun with this one. Most of the people I studied wear fancy attire (think Boardwalk Empire) and the bars often model themselves on swanky speakeasies (again, think Boardwalk Empire). I like “day in the life” stories, so it’d focus on a Saturday night: the prep, the growing crowd, the busy period, and the comedown. A busy bar provides plenty of drama. I can see Robert Altman-style filmmakers having fun with it.

Episode 2 would be about the craft distillers. For them, I think it would be cool to show them as mad scientists working tirelessly on a recipe over many months. Distilleries have big machines with all sorts of tubes and wires going everywhere making hissing and whirring sounds. The ones I studied, with copper pot stills, could be out of a Jules Verne story. The distiller would be on a mission to make the essential rye whiskey. It could be somewhat humorous.

Episode 3 would be about the barbers. For them, we’d have to focus on relationships, between the barbers and between some barbers and their clients, especially over time. I observed a lot of men show some insecurity toward their bodies while in the chair, and I often saw the barbers try to set them at ease. (“Your hair moves really well!”) After a few visits they’d seem much more comfortable. Barbers also talk so much shit to each other on a daily basis that we’d have to just show them talking. For this one I wouldn’t mind if we used documentary footage.

Finally, Episode 4 would focus on the butchers. I’d want this episode to be the philosophical one. The dialogue would revolve around ethical themes related to life, death, and moral culpability in eating animals and participating in the food industry. It can’t be preachy. It’ll just raise a lot of questions for the audience to ponder. All the while butchers will be breaking down whole animals.

I’ll leave casting to someone else. They all kind of come from similar backgrounds and look alike. Someone with a better eye for such distinctions would have to determine what makes an actor more “barber-like” than “butcher-like.” I’m sure people like Adam Driver and James Franco will be asked, though.
Learn more about Masters of Craft at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Upscaling Downtown.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 5, 2017

Michael Cannell's "Incendiary"

Michael Cannell is the author of three non-fiction books, most recently Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling. The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit was published in 2012. The Sundance Channel/AMC has optioned The Limit to be made into a television series. I.M. Pei: Mandarin of Modernism was published in 1995. Cannell was editor of the New York Times House & Home section for seven years.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of Incendiary:
In the pages of Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling lives a real-life roster of big personalities befitting the glory days of 1950s New York. Here’s my wish list for leading actors:

George Metesky: A paranoid schizophrenic who planted some thirty-two bombs in New York’s most crowded public places — trains stations, a library, movie theaters. He was a perfectly nondescript middle-aged man with a homicidal rage burning inside. He was placid, but deadly. My pick for actor: Kevin Spacey.

Dr. James Brussel: In desperation, detectives solicited Dr. Brussel’s help in catching the George Metesky, the serial bomber who terrorized New York for more than a decade: Dr. Brussel was almost as crazy as the bomber, but brilliant. My pick for actor: Michael Keaton.

Seymour Berkson: When the New York Journal-American began losing advertising to television, its handsome and worldy publisher, Seymour Berkson, knew that he would have to do something to keep his newspaper alive. His solution was to engage the Mad Bomber in a secret correspondence. My pick for actor: Colin Firth.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael T. Cannell's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Limit.

The Page 99 Test: The Limit.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Stephen Kiernan's "The Baker's Secret"

As a journalist and novelist, Stephen P. Kiernan has published nearly four million words. His newspaper work has garnered more than forty awards — including the George Polk Award and the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment.

Kiernan is the author of the novels The Hummingbird, The Curiosity, and the newly released The Baker's Secret.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of the new novel:
Kyle Chandler is so macho, he would make an excellent Guillaume.

Leo DiCaprio is my heartless Captain Thalheim.

Natalie Portman plays Emma, if she's willing to have dirty hair for the entire shoot. Otherwise I want Emma Watson for that role, because a guy is allowed to dream, right?

Louanne Stephens is my ideal Meme, with a bearded Alan Arkin to play Pierre.

Mainly I want to know what new fresh face Hollywood would find to cast as Fleur -- a fourteen year old whom everyone agrees is the most beautiful girl in all of France.
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen Kiernan's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Curiosity.

The Page 69 Test: The Curiosity.

Writers Read: Stephen P. Kiernan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 1, 2017

Avery Duff's "Beach Lawyer"

Avery Duff was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he attended Baylor School and graduated summa cum laude. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He then joined a prestigious Tennessee law firm, becoming a partner in five years, before moving to Los Angeles. His screenwriting credits include the 2010 heist drama Takers, starring Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, and Hayden Christensen. Duff lives at the beach in Los Angeles and spends his time writing fiction.

Here Duff dreamcasts an adaptation of Beach Lawyer, his first published novel:
Something about Beach Lawyer—compressed time, place, a specific problem—sets up okay for a movie. Or a series for that matter. Whether by intent or accident or years of screenwriting habits, good and bad, having a character in mind always helped me.

More and more these days, though, I think about an actor’s vibe rather the actor him/her/self. I mean, Cliff, the associate who takes Robert’s job, reminds me a lot of young Peter Gallagher—handsome beyond what most men like to hang out with, and The Player smarmy.

But I digress at the outset—usually I wait until later. Starting with the two female leads, Gia Marquez and Leslie DeRider.

Gia should come off like Rosario Dawson, part Latina, part Chinese or part anything else as long as it’s sultry, sexual, smart—and cool. Someone who materializes inside a room instead of entering it. If Ms. Dawson and Gong Li had a female child—forget the mechanics for a moment—you’d get Gia Marquez. Ms. Li: no one ever broke my heart in an action movie, unless you count Lassie and Old Yeller, but Gong Li broke mine twice in Miami Vice.

Leslie DeRider, the banker. With all that OC in her DNA, Leslie’s going to need whatever inheres in Blake Lively—not, though, Ms. Lively’s laid-back hedonist in Savages. She’ll need to appear a little slow on the uptake, eager to please, and up for anything in the world outside the office.

Then we have Robert Worth and Jack Pierce. Both need to be physical. Alpha males capable of mixing it up if pushed too far. Each has a line you don’t want to cross. Robert’s line is rational; Jack’s line, not at all. For these two, I can picture the Producer saying—shouting actually: “Get me the next Matthew McConaughey to play this Worth kid and be quick about it! Who? Never heard of him! And while you’re at it, bring me the next Richard Gere to play Jack Pierce! No, not Pretty Woman Gere, Internal Affairs Gere! Hop to it! We’re shooting this piece of crap in four months. Where’s my script? What? Then get me new writers!”
Learn more about Beach Lawyer.

--Marshal Zeringue