Friday, November 24, 2017

Tara Goedjen's "The Breathless"

Tara Goedjen adores fairytales, mysteries, and ghost stories.

She wrote her first story at age eleven about children who disappeared at midnight, and she’s been writing ever since. Mostly raised in Alabama, she played college tennis in Iowa and then moved to Alaska and Australia before heading back to the continental US.

While completing grad school, Goedjen worked as a tennis coach, a yoga instructor, a university writing teacher, and as an editor for a publishing house. These days, when she’s not making up stories, she's probably going for a hike, staring at a to-do list, reading a novel, or eating all of California’s seasonal fruit.

Here Goedjen dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Breathless:
The two leads would be easy. If I could have my dream cast, I’d want sixteen-year-old Mae Cole to be played by Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things. Besides being a fan of the show, I love how Millie plays Eleven, who starts off the series as a quiet, mysterious, gifted, and troubled girl: all qualities that embody Mae in The Breathless.

I’d also want Cage Shaw, my other main character, to be played by Nick Robinson, who I adored in the movie adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything (he also appeared in The Kings of Summer and Jurassic World, a movie I had to see out of nostalgia for Jurassic Park). In Everything Everything, Nick plays a character who’s in love with the girl next door, and completely devoted to her, but who’s also trying to protect his family, in the same way that Cage Shaw is in love with Mae’s sister, Roxanne Cole, and trying to do the best he can by both her and his family—especially after things go terribly wrong.
Visit Tara Goedjen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A. J. Cross's "Something Evil Comes"

A.J. Cross, like her heroine Kate Hanson, is a Forensic Psychologist with over twenty years' experience in the field. She lives in Birmingham with her jazz-musician husband.

Here Cross dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Something Evil Comes:
If only.

I’ll get straight to it: I would choose a younger Jeff Bridges for the role of the American police officer, Lieutenant Joseph Corrigan, a man of few but always relevant words, a recurrent character in my books and a member of the Unsolved Crime Unit. Why? You’ve seen Jeff Bridges and you needs to ask? As I bash my keyboard I’m looking at one of my husband’s guitar catalogues, this one for Eastman. Here is Jeff on the cover, gazing direct to camera in black boots, denim and leather coat, a hand resting on an Eastman guitar, his hair long and worn back from his face. A good, strong head. Not a man to waste words. Oh, yes.

Another recurrent character is DI Bernard Watts, Birmingham UK born and bred, now at an age and stage of career when he feels outflanked by the much younger, mostly graduate intake of officers. Inside my head as I developed the Watts character around seven years ago was the sadly now deceased British actor Warren Clarke, who early in his career played the character Dim in the film, A Clockwork Orange. However, the role which made him my choice for Watts was one for television. He played an engineering firm’s manager in the fictional town of Rummidge opposite a feminist university teacher in David Lodge’s novel Nice Work. I’ve only just realised how influential both those roles were in shaping Watts and his professional relationship with the forensic psychologist who assists the Unsolved Crime Unit and is my main character. Let’s get to her, shall we?

Dr Kate Hanson, more recently a professor at the University of Birmingham, arrived inside my head fully formed at the start of my writing career.  She was partly inspired by a young colleague of mine at the time who had the unnerving ability to recall on demand the titles, authors and dates of forensic psychology research papers. I just know how to track them down.  I’ve never had anyone in mind to play Hanson but I can tell you exactly what she’s like: four books in, she’s thirty-six, divorced, a mother of one. Five feet three inches tall with thick, dark red hair. Somebody to be reckoned with. I haven’t given her mental health problems. You know: drink, communication disorder and so forth. She’s smart and she’s also everywoman. Which doesn’t mean that she’s uncomplicated. Far from it. She has a history of key failed relationships, commonplace enough but which underpins her refusal to commit to one man. So far.
Learn more about Something Evil Comes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 20, 2017

Marcella Pixley's "Ready to Fall"

Marcella Pixley teaches eighth grade Language Arts at the Carlisle Public Schools. She has written three acclaimed young adult novels: Freak, Without Tess, and most recently, Ready To Fall.

Here she shares her casting call for the leads in an adaptation of Ready To Fall:
Max Friedman: Seeking a male actor between ages 16 and 20. Tall. Gangly. All arms and legs. Slump-shouldered. Dark hair that slants into eyes. Questionable posture and awkward stride a plus. Must be able to ride a skateboard. Must look good in a pair of red converse all-star sneakers and black skinny jeans. Must possess an acerbic wit and the ability to show tumultuous expression even in silence. Other qualifications include being able to speed-sketch disturbing images of the Zombie Apocalypse. Lovers of football and Varsity lettermen need not apply.

Felicia Santacroce (Fish): Seeking a female actor between ages 16-20. This character is short and slim, but must possess such an enormous voice and personality that actress can easily fill any room with energy despite diminutive stature.  Must enjoy wearing strange hats. Must be willing to dye hair pink. Not just any pink but the kind of pink that it aggressive in its pinkness that it makes you want to sneeze. Nose ring a plus. Must be capable of reciting Shakespeare at full volume and must be comfortable performing the role of Ophelia in Hamlet. Must possess a raucous laugh and the ability to swear like a sailor.

Dr. Cage: Seeking scruffy middle-aged male actor, 45-65. Must be overweight. Penchant for suspenders and yellowed undershirt a plus. Must love Chinese food more than coronary health. Must have a familiarity with classic literature especially the poetry of Allen Ginsberg. Must love the poem “Howl.” Must enjoy fruity Polynesian cocktails and look oddly handsome with an unkempt beard. Strong body odor a plus. We are looking for a versatile actor who can portray a mixture of self-effacing wisdom, crankiness, supreme annoyance, and inability to tolerate B.S.  from anybody, especially teenagers. Teetotalers and health food gurus need not apply.
Visit Marcella Pixley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 17, 2017

Rachel Neumeier's "Winter of Ice and Iron"

Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She now raises and shows dogs, gardens, cooks, and occasionally finds time to read. She works part-time for a tutoring program, though she tutors far more students in Math and Chemistry than in English Composition.

Here Neumeier dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Winter of Ice and Iron:
Kehera Elin Raëhema – Caitlin Stasey. Kehera would need to be portrayed as a responsible, kind, somewhat serious, girl-next-door young woman; definitely not as a glamorous beauty queen. Caitlin Stasey did a great job as Ellie in Tomorrow, When the War Began – I’m sure she could play an excellent Kehera.

Eilisè – Ingvild Deila. Kehera’s friend as well as her servant, Eilisè takes her duty to her mistress very seriously. The affection between them draws Eilisè into exile with Kehera when duty alone couldn’t have compelled her to go. I think Ingvild Deila would be wonderful for this role.

Tirovay Elin Raëhema – Colin Ford. Tiro, Kehera’s younger brother, shares the Elin character. Like his sister, he’s serious, responsible, and kind. He also has to grow up very fast in this story. He would need to be played by someone who could show the rapid shift of a boy into a man. At 21, Colin Ford is probably young enough to pull this off – and he did a good job playing the right kind of character in Under the Dome.

The Mad King of Emmer – Anthony Hopkins. I doubt Hopkins would agree to play such a small role, but dream cast, right? It’s hard to imagine anybody better for the creepy Mad King.

General Enmon Corvallis – Sean Connery. Can I have my real dream cast? Because the Sean Connery of The Hunt for Red October – which was made nearly thirty years ago – would be exactly right to play an experienced, capable, politically ambitious military general. Corvallis is just the guy who might be able to put the pieces of Emmer back together after the Mad King smashes the country to bits. He certainly wants to be the one to try. Connery in his prime would have been wonderful in this role.

Innisth Maèr Eänetaì – Christian Bale. Who else could bring such dark-edged intensity to the role? The Wolf Duke is all about dark-edged intensity. And chilly pride. And iron self-control. And, most of all, honor. Though he’d probably laugh in your face if someone pointed this last part out to him. Not that anyone would have the nerve, except Kehera.

Gereth Murrel – Ed Harris. The Wolf Duke’s seneschal, but also the closest thing to a surrogate father that Innisth Maèr Eänetai ever had, Gereth modeled kindness and responsibility for Innisth while the boy was growing up and continued to do so later after the young man became duke. Without Gereth’s influence, Innisth might well have followed in the steps of his biological father, with dire consequences for everyone. Gereth continues to play an important role in Innisth’s household all the way through the story.

Tageiny – Mark Wahlberg. Tag’s been around. Bodyguard, thug, maybe a soldier at some time in the past, he’s the kind of guy you want in your corner when it comes down to a dirty fight in a tight corner. It’s a role that would suit Wahlberg perfectly.

Quòn – Jay Ryan. The mysterious Quòn might be difficult to portray. I suspect Ryan could pull it off.
Visit Rachel Neumeier's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gary Blackwood's "Bucket's List"

http://severnhouse.com/author/Gary+Blackwood/9664Gary Blackwood is the award-winning author of more than thirty novels and non-fiction titles for children and young adults, including the bestselling Shakespeare Stealer series. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, he now lives in Canada.

Here Blackwood dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Bucket's List:
To be honest, I cringe a bit at the thought of any of my books being filmed.  I’ve seen far too many failed attempts to adapt novels to the big screen (nonfiction usually fares a bit better).  With a few exceptions—Dances With Wolves comes to mind, and Blade Runner—the movie doesn’t do justice to its source, and perhaps can’t.  The two are just such different animals.

For one thing, novels are open to interpretation.  They invite—require, in fact—the participation of the reader; when we read one, we picture the characters and the settings for ourselves (with a little help from the author).  But movies are so literal; you’re stuck with actors (and their interpretations) and locations that are chosen for you.

So, assuming I got an offer I couldn’t refuse, who would I choose to stick an audience with in the role of Inspector Field?  Well, if I’d written the book a decade or two ago, my hands down choice would have been Bob Hoskins; he has that essential ability to play both menacing and funny.  And if I could resurrect an actor from the past, Sir Ralph Richardson would do nicely.  Picking someone from the current crop of box-office draws (and it would surely be hard to get a movie made without a Name) is a bit trickier.  Liam Neeson would likely be your best bet (though I don’t believe he’s known for his comic timing), but Russell Crowe might be able to pull it off; he did play a detective at least.  And a boxer.

Unless I get to write the screenplay, though, the deal’s off.
Learn more about Bucket's List.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 13, 2017

Michael Stanley's "Dying to Live"

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Their mysteries are set in Botswana, each against a backdrop of a current issue in southern Africa. Their protagonist is David “Kubu” Bengu, assistant superintendent in the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The third novel in the series, Death of the Mantis, was short listed for an Edgar and an Anthony, and won the Barry Award for best paperback original mystery of 2011.

Here the authors dreamcast an adaptation of Dying to Live, the sixth Detective Kubu mystery:
David “Kubu” Bengu is a large man, which gave rise to his nickname.  “Kubu” means hippo in his native language of Setswana.  Our first choice for an American-made film would be Forest Whitaker, who has all the right credentials, including an Academy Award for his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.  If we could turn the clock back a bit, James Earl Jones would fit the part perfectly.  Both of these actors have bulk, presence, and can be subtly funny.

Kubu’s boss, the irascible but soft-hearted Jacob Mabaku, would be a great role for Morgan Freeman.  Kerry Washington would be wonderful as Kubu’s wife, Joy.

For a British-made film, Nonso Anozie, from Game of Thrones, would be terrific as Kubu.  Thandie Newton would be his lovely wife, Joy, and Director Mabaku’s role could be filled by Paterson Joseph.
Learn more about the book and authors at Michael Stanley's website.

Read: Michael Stanley's top ten African crime novels.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Harvest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dave Connis's "The Temptation of Adam"

https://daveconnis.com/Dave Connis writes words you can sing and words you can read. He lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, Clara and a dog that barks at non-existent threats.

About his new novel, The Temptation of Adam, from the publisher:
Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.
His dream cast for an adaptation of the novel:
Adam Hawthorne: Finn Wolfhard, Mike from Stranger Things, but give him a few more years.

Addy Hawthorne: Maia Mitchell (with shorter hair).

Dez Coulter: Alani Simone. She's been in a bunch of commercials. Hasn't been in any movies yet.

Trey: Tyler Posey.

Eliot: Noah Munck.

Mr. Cratcher: Man...I don't know. Maybe Jeff Goldblum.
Visit Dave Connis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 10, 2017

Todd Merer's "The Extraditionist"

In his thirty years as a criminal attorney, Todd Merer specialized in the defense of high-ranking cartel chiefs extradited to the United States. He gained acquittals in more than 150 trials, and his high-profile cases have been featured in the New York Times and Time magazine and on 60 Minutes. A “proud son of Brooklyn,” Merer divides his time between New York City and ports of call along the old Spanish Main.

Here Merer shares his dreamcast for an adaptation of The Extraditionist, his first novel:
In my mind’s eye, when creating characters I view him or her as someone I’ve seen before. Even if I’ve only seen that someone via films. If I were to dream cast The Extraditionist, here are the actors I would love to see in the movie (note that some of my favorite movies are quite old, so my casting spans the decades of Hollywood history).

BENN BLUESTONE.   Bryan Cranston/Robert Mitchum/Robert Ryan
LAURA ASTORQUIZA.   Monica Bellucci
FELIPE MONDRAGON.   Claude Raines
KANDI KAUFFMAN.   Amy Schumer
RIGO.   Peter Lorre
JILLY.   Veronica Lake
FOTO.   Cesar Romero
FERCHO.   Leo Gorcey
TRAUM.   Brian Dennehy
VAL.   Klaus Kinski
GENERAL UVALDE.   Robert Duvall with a brush mustache
JOAQUIN BOLIVAR.   Richard Conte
NATTY GRABLE.   Akim Tamiroff
RAFAEL BORG.   Dennis Hopper
CHAZ SCALLY.   Abe Fish
NELSON CANO.   John Leguizmo
EVGENY KURSK.   Vladimir Putin’s twin brother
Learn more about The Extraditionist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Stephen R. Bown's "Island of the Blue Foxes"

http://www.stephenrbown.net/biography.phpStephen R. Bown is a critically acclaimed author of several literary non-fiction books on the history of science, exploration and ideas.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation his latest book, Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World's Greatest Scientific Expedition:
Island of the Blue Foxes has many different aspects but there are certain parts of it that would make it an ideal base for an adventure-survival epic. It would start with scenes of the shipwreck and the men crawling ashore and setting up camp on a deserted beach with snow falling. Then it would flashback to the palace of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg, and a discussion between aristocrats of the general plan and of Peter’s burning desire to show Europe the grandeur and sophistication of Russia, which had only recently been transformed, in the estimation of Europe, from a barbarous backwater into a somewhat civilized state. Peter the Great wanted to do away with the perceived insults to Russian pride by contributing to global science and geography by financing a grand expedition – across Siberia to the east Pacific coast, and then by sail across the Pacific Ocean to America – and claim it for the Russian Empire. This scene would also show his choice of Bering as commander. The next scene would return to the island and the attacks of the feral blue foxes, with further flashbacks of the story up until the point of the shipwreck – struggling across Siberia, building the ships before the sea voyage across the Pacific to Alaska and in particular the mighty storms and shipwreck on an uninhabited uncharted island in November. The story of how they survived on the island (making shelter, the hunting of seals and sea lions, etc.), the near mutiny, the interpersonal quarrels, the endless attacks by feral blue foxes, and the dawning realization that they were on an island with no way off – is interspersed with the details of the voyage up until the survivors build a small ship from the wreck and sail home. The commander, the legendary but aging Danish captain Vitus Bering, would be ideal for Russell Crowe while the second lead, of the caustic, abrasive, heavy drinking but perceptive and oddly wise naturalist and physician, would be ideally suited to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen R. Bown's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Viking.

The Page 99 Test: White Eskimo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kelley Fanto Deetz's "Bound to the Fire"

Historical archaeologist and historian Kelley Fanto Deetz is a research associate at the James River Institute for Archaeology, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Randolph College, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Deetz, who was a professional chef for several years, is a contributor to The Routledge History of Food and Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement. Her work has appeared in National Geographic History.

Here Deetz shares her vision for an adaptation of her latest book, How Virginia's Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine:
Bound to the Fire highlights several enslaved cooks, many of whom have little record of their lives aside from mentions in a will or probate. If this book could translate to a film it would be one of short cameos, small clips that highlight and intertwine with one another. Commonalities of resistance, poisoning, social positioning, and pure talent would make these historical figures fascinating on the big screen. The kitchen as the stage and the food as the evidence of their labor and lives.

I’d imagine silence before each cameo’s scene. The sound of the large open-hearth fire burning in the background, the distant noise of butchering, chopping wood, and foot traffic surrounding the kitchen cabin. The individual scenes would start with the chopping of the first ingredient, or in one case, the ringing of a bell to wake the cook from slumber, and the silent walk into the kitchen to cook food for a guest in the dead of night. Each cameo would focus around a dish; okra stew, peanut soup, pepper pot, fried catfish, ham biscuits, and through each dish the stories of the individuals would come through in the time it took to cook each meal.

In this hypothetical film, the majority of the cooks would be played by unknown actors and actresses, however, Hercules would be played by Gary Carr and James Hemmings would be played by Michael Ealy, and the film would be directed by Amma Asante. Between each scene would be a narration of a recipe, a story, or historical context related to the plantation or kitchen landscape.  Shots of standing plantation kitchens would remind people that these buildings still exist, and are direct reminders of the history and legacy of enslaved cooks. The film would start, as my book does, with Sookey, and end with Hercules’ escape and his portrait in Spain.
Learn more about Bound to the Fire at Kelley Fanto Deetz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue