Friday, December 18, 2015

Emily Ross's "Half in Love with Death"

Emily Ross received a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award in fiction for her novel Half in Love with Death. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in Boston Magazine, Menda City Review, and The Smoking Poet. She is an editor and contributor at Dead Darlings, a website dedicated to discussing the craft of novel writing. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Massachusetts Boston, and is a 2012 graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program.

Here Ross dreamcasts an adaptation of Half in Love with Death:
I’ve often fantasized about a movie of Half in Love with Death, my YA novel about a teen’s search for her missing sister. The Arizona desert setting provides a cinematic backdrop for my psychological thriller, set in Tucson in 1965. I’d love to see suburban neighborhoods encroaching on the desert and disaffected teens looking for anything to alleviate their boredom coming to life on the big screen.

I’d choose Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper from Mad Men) as Caroline, my 15-year-old protagonist. Like Sally, Caroline comes of age in the ‘60s. As Shipka literally grew from a child into a teenager on screen, I often thought of my young protagonist. Like Caroline, Shipka has a quiet loveliness and changes from child to sophisticate in an instant. Both Sally and Caroline are able to strike the rocky balance between innocence, intelligence, and reckless daring.

Zac Efron would be my choice for Tony, the charismatic boyfriend of Caroline’s missing sister Jess. With his pale blue eyes and pretty-boy good looks, Efron is Tony! As they search for Jess together, he weaves an irresistible spell. But as they grow closer, Caroline sees Tony’s sweet face as a mask for a tortured, otherworldly being. She is drawn to the mystery of him even as it frightens her. Efron, I believe, hides some serious darkness behind his handsome façade.

I’d also hire Terrence Malick, director of the haunting, poetic movie Badlands. Featuring a teen girl who runs off with the young man who murdered her father, Badlands was an early inspiration for my novel.
Visit the official Emily Ross website.

The Page 69 Test: Half In Love With Death.

Writers Read: Emily Ross.

--Marshal Zeringue