Saturday, May 24, 2014

Linda Rodriguez's "Every Hidden Fear"

Linda Rodriguez’s new book is Every Hidden Fear, third Skeet Bannion novel. Her second Skeet mystery, Every Broken Trust, was a selection of Las Comadres National Latino Book Club and is currently a finalist for both the International Latino Book Award and the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize. Her first Skeet novel, Every Last Secret, which won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, was a Barnes & Noble mystery pick and a finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” which appeared in Kansas City Noir (Akashic Books), has been optioned for film. For her books of poetry, Skin Hunger and Heart’s Migration, Rodriguez received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Midwest Voices and Visions Award, Thorpe Menn Award, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, and Macondo and Ragdale Fellowships. She is immediate past president of the Borders Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, Kansas City Cherokee Community, and International Thriller Writers.

Here Rodriguez dreamcasts an adaptation of Every Hidden Fear:
Readers of my Skeet Bannion series of mysteries—Every Last Secret, Every Broken Trust, and Every Hidden Fear—often ask me when a movie or television series will be made from them. I point out to them that, though one of my short stories has been optioned for film, it usually takes much longer for a series to be considered, seven or eight books, at least. Still, because of these questions, I have given thought to who would play my characters.

The major character in the books is Skeet Bannion, the Cherokee campus police chief who is the first-person narrator. Skeet is a woman who’s earned success in the man’s world of law enforcement. She’s smart, tough, used to having to stand up to men who don’t want her around, and a consummate professional who believes in the rules and plays by them unless compelling reasons force her into circumventing or breaking them. Because at bottom, Skeet is a protector, and protecting the innocent and vulnerable will always take precedence over everything for her. Another character says of her in Every Hidden Fear, “Skeet, you are the person they invented the word honor for. If you’d lived back in the middle ages, you’d have to have found some way to be a knight, even as a woman. You’re that kind of honorable.”

If Every Hidden Fear were turned into a movie, I could see the director choosing someone like Hilary Swank because s/he would want someone who looks strong and athletic and can play smart and tough yet emotionally vulnerable and because s/he would want a star who can draw attendance and attention to the movie. Hollywood has a long history of casting white actors as Native American characters.

Since I strongly believe in using Native American actors to play Native roles, though, I would want Julia Jones, who’s Choctaw and Chickasaw and has acted on ER and in the Twilight movies, to play Skeet. She has exactly the right look and the acting chops to pull it off. I think she’d really bring Skeet alive on the screen.

For Skeet’s adopted teenaged son, Brian, I’d cast Randy Shelly, who’s been in TV and film since he was a little kid and played the lead in Kid Racer. Looking at photos of teenaged actors, his leaped out at me because, now that he’s older, he looks so much the way Brian has always looked in my mind as I write him.

For Joe Louzon, the local police chief who has been Skeet’s valued friend but is now trying to date her, I’d cast Val Kilmer. Joe’s not a sexy hunk like Skeet’s ex-husband but older and heavier and much more settled down as a single father of an twelve-year-old girl. He seems easy-going, but as Skeet discovers in Every Broken Trust and Every Hidden Fear, he can be jealous and possessive.

For Terry Heldrich, former Special Forces who’s now a mercenary working for a wealthy businessman Skeet thinks is a major criminal, I must confess I’ve always seen him as Johnny Depp, although Depp is really too old to play him now. I guess I see him as Depp in the days of Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Don Juan DeMarco, and The Rum Diary. Dangerous and serious trouble for a woman, especially Skeet (who has no intention of getting close to this guy), and at the same time, ambiguously a good guy. He operates not from principle but from his personal attachment to individuals, and Skeet can’t trust someone like that.

It’s been fun imagining who would play these characters I’ve created and lived with for so long. I may now have to waste a lot of time on the internet dreamcasting all the other characters, even the minor ones, instead of writing.
Find Linda Rodriguez on Twitter, on Facebook, and on blogs with The Stiletto Gang, Writers Who Kill, and her own blog.

The Page 69 Test: Every Hidden Fear.

--Marshal Zeringue