Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Larry Karp's "A Perilous Conception"

Larry Karp grew up in Paterson, NJ and New York City. He practiced perinatal medicine (high-risk pregnancy care) and wrote general nonfiction books and articles for 25 years, then, in 1995, he left medical work to begin a second career, writing mystery novels. The backgrounds and settings of Karp's mysteries reflect many of his interests, including musical antiques, medical-ethical issues, and ragtime music.

Here he shares some thoughts on dream-casting an adaptation of his latest novel, A Perilous Conception:
My characters develop slowly as I write their stories, and as I get to know them better and better, they etch their appearances and behaviors into my mind. But the range of images readers construct of these same characters astonishes me. Seems that no one sees or hears quite the same people I do.

I think this probably represents success. A partnership exists between writers and readers, and my stories appear to give readers enough material to engage them, but allow them sufficient leeway to graft their own ideas neatly onto mine.

So if someone were to make a movie from A Perilous Conception, I wouldn't have any concerns about who should play Dr. Colin Sanford, Detective Bernie Baumgartner, or new-mother Joyce Kennett. Whoever the actors might be, they wouldn't coincide with my own vision. In fact, I can't recall ever seeing a movie, after having read the book on which it was based, where the movie characters looked and sounded like the people I'd constructed from the book. Better to let the movie people make their choices for A Perilous Conception according to their own lights, and not burden them with my preconceived notions which might hinder their efforts to produce a unified story.

But you know what I'd really love? A message on the screen immediately after the final scene of the movie: "This film was made because the production staff could not resist trying to put our own stamp on Larry Karp's mystery novel, A Perilous Conception. Any resemblance between Mr. Karp's work and ours is fortuitous. We encourage you to read A Perilous Conception, and enjoy creating your own unique production."
Learn more about the book and author at Larry Karp's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue