Friday, July 10, 2015

Carla Norton's "What Doesn't Kill Her"

Carla Norton is a novelist, journalist, and true crime writer. Her debut fiction, The Edge of Normal, was a Thriller Award finalist and a Royal Palm Literary Award winner. The sequel, What Doesn't Kill Her, has just been released to rave reviews. Norton has also written two books of true crime, including Perfect Victim, which was put on the reading list for the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit and became a #1 New York Times bestseller. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2009. Besides writing books, she writes articles, essays, and really bad poetry.

Here Norton dreamcasts an adaptation of What Doesn't Kill Her:
Oh, isn’t this a sweet fantasy? I rub my palms together and let images run through my mind.

I confess that I drew inspiration from The Silence of the Lambs and sometimes pictured Jodie Foster while Reeve LeClaire took shape on the page. In fact, my heroine is a survivor of kidnapping and captivity who swallows her fear and squares off against evil, so I often describe her as “Clarice Starling meets Elizabeth Smart.”

But Jodie Foster is now too old to play the part of Reeve, who was twenty-two in The Edge of Normal and is a year older in What Doesn’t Kill Her. So who could be the next Jodie Foster?

Reeve is small in stature, so Dakota Fanning or Kristen Stewart would be fantastic in the part. Lithe and willowy Blake Lively would also be great. Or, if fickle Hollywood wanted to cast someone a bit older, I’d love to see Reeve played by Claire Danes, who is so unnervingly good in Homeland.

In What Doesn’t Kill Her, Reeve pairs up with a retired FBI agent named Milo Bender, who is tall and Nordic and smart. He’s the sort of character that Bruce Willis has played recently: a tough guy who is slowing down, forced into early retirement by triple by-pass surgery. I can’t help but picture Daniel Craig in this role. But Daniel Craig isn’t yet fifty, and he has a British accent, and he’s busy playing some guy named Bond.

So, my next choice would be the Liam Neeson or perhaps Hugh Laurie, two more brilliant Brits who have major chops and spot-on American accents. Another idea might be the lesser-known actor Noah Emmerich, who plays FBI agent Stan Beeman in The Americans. (The truth is, I’m a sucker for any drama produced by Graham Yost. Great characters, great writing.)

And who should play the love interest, Milo Bender’s son? Well, JD Bender is also tall and Nordic, so Chris Hemsworth would do quite nicely, thank you.

The final question is: Who would direct? Naturally, Jonathan Demme, who directed The Silence of the Lambs, leaps to mind. But if he’s unavailable, I pray that Hollywood will call Jodie Foster.
Visit Carla Norton's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: What Doesn't Kill Her.

--Marshal Zeringue