Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jill Kelly's "Fog of Dead Souls"

Jill Kelly is a writer, visual artist, creativity coach, and freelance editor. A long-time college professor of literature, she has been writing and publishing since 2002. Her memoir, Sober Truths: The Making of an Honest Woman, was a finalist for the prestigious Oregon Book Award.

Here Kelly dreamcasts an adaptation of Fog of Dead Souls, her second novel and first thriller:
About halfway through the writing of Fog, I knew I had a great movie as well as a great read in the making. Why? Because I was writing about three substantial characters in their 60s—a female college professor, a male detective, and a cowboy—and there are a number of terrific older actors who are making great movies and original series for TV.

Ellie McKay is a professor of French whose surgeon boyfriend is murdered in their hotel room on a weekend trip to Gettysburg. Already struggling with alcoholism, Ellie gets tipped over the edge by the violence she experiences. The incomparable Meryl Streep has the versatility to play this role. She could brilliantly do the wounded and the brazen sides of Ellie that we come to see. However, I’d be more inclined to beg Debra Winger to come out of retirement and play this role. She does savvy yet naïve with such dazzling nuance that I’d love to see her be Ellie on the screen.

Al Robison is the rancher with a dark past who proposes to Ellie 30 minutes after he meets her in the Maverick Bar in Farmington, New Mexico. Sam Shepard is one of my favorite cowboy actors but he doesn’t have the body type I need for Al. Then again, not many actors are 6’4” with thick white hair. Robert Redford of 10 years ago would be great. In fact, he might still be great. We could also cast Morgan Freeman in this role. He definitely has something Al-like about him. And there’s always Clint Eastwood.

Doug Hansen, the detective in love with Ellie, is patterned after the husband of a good friend of mine. Sadly, the real Doug Hansen is a painter, not an actor, so I don’t think he’d bring a lot of clout to the box office. So I’d go with Kevin Spacey. He can do the sad, worn-down-by-life aspect of the detective with ease and he also has the intensity to pull off Hansen’s passion for solving the crimes. I very much like the idea of Kevin and Debra together. Of course, you’ll have to read the book to see if they end up together.

There are some great minor roles in this book as well: the knowledgeable Detective Capriano with his penchant for good food, the slimy Arlen Gerstead, the surgeon boyfriend, Al’s angry ex-girlfriend, the female shaman, and of course the killer himself.

I’m hoping Hollywood will be knocking on my door at any moment. I’m also hoping that you’ll read my book and let me know what you think.
Visit Jill Kelly's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fog of Dead Souls.

--Marshal Zeringue