Monday, February 29, 2016

Grant Bywaters's "The Red Storm"

Grant Bywaters's The Red Storm won the Minotaur Books/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel Competition. Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
I modeled the appearance of my detective William Fletcher off of 1960s heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Liston was a freak of nature. He had 15 inch fists, which were so big they didn’t fit into standard boxing gloves.

So the actor I could see handling the physical aspects of Fletcher would have been a younger Laurence Fishburne. I’m referring to Fishburne around the time he played Morpheus in the first Matrix movie.

For Bill Storm, the sadistic criminal acquaintance from Fletcher’s past, is an easy one, Jeff Bridges. Bridges is imposing and can play a nasty villain when he wants to.

Zell, the daughter Storm wants Fletcher to find, is an interesting one. I never really had any particular actress in mind when creating the husky voiced raven haired wildcat, but Emma Stone seems to fit her pretty well. She’s a great actress and she can sing, which is important, since Zella is a singer. Of course, Stone would have to underperform a bit because Zella is not a very good singer when Fletcher meets her.

Then there is of course Brawley, the detective that is not really Fletcher’s friend but they both sort of use each other. Michael Chiklis could handle it because he is real good at playing someone that can cross the line and do bad things, but deep down is not really a bad guy.
Learn more about The Red Storm at the publisher's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Red Storm.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Terri Blackstock's "If I Run"

Terri Blackstock, author of If I Run, has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.

Here Blackstock dreamcasts an adaptation of If I Run:
My book If I Run features a twenty-five year old woman with almond-shaped blue eyes. Casey Cox is a fugitive fleeing a murder rap, and she's a complex character. She discovered the body of her close friend, and in her shock, left her DNA all over the crime scene. Instead of calling police, she decided to run. Casey has dealt with the justice system once before, and it failed her abysmally. Beyond that, she's certain that if she's found, she will be murdered before she ever makes it to prison. Because of how she looks and how complex her character is, I would love to see Jennifer Lawrence play her role. J-Law is great at complicated characters, and she has so many different looks, that I think she could easily pull off Casey's habit of changing identities and disguising her appearance.

And while it might seem cliché and overdone since they've done four movies together already, I'd love to pair her with Bradley Cooper. Bradley does a great brooding character, and my private investigator Dylan Roberts, the war-weary Army vet who's tasked with finding her, is brooding. He's suffering from PTSD, and it's keeping him from moving forward in his life. But the more he learns about Casey, the more he realizes she doesn't fit the profile of a killer. He can't decide if she's a psychopath or another struggling victim of PTSD. Cooper is the one I had in mind when I created Dylan. He has brown hair and pale eyes about a mile deep. I realize it's a long-shot that these two would ever play love interests again, but one can hope. And maybe I'll start a letter-writing campaign.
Visit Terri Blackstock's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: If I Run.

Writers Read: Terri Blackstock.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 26, 2016

Joshilyn Jackson's "The Opposite of Everyone"

New York Times bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson's books include the novels: Someone Else’s Love Story, gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty.

Here Jackson has some hints for the casting director of an adaptation of her latest novel, The Opposite of Everyone:
The Opposite of Everyone is the story of a hard-edged divorce lawyer originally named after Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and renewal. Casting her provides an interesting challenge---she is at the very least tri-racial. Paula Vauss never knew her father (and her young, hippie mother was truth-impaired), but it’s likely he was half black and half Asian. Her mother was mostly Irish but may well have a good bit of Cherokee in her genetic make-up.

Right now---and rightfully, and more than a little late---Hollywood is getting pushback on racebending---casting white actors in plum roles as characters of color. Gods of Egypt, anyone? But Paula is of such “murky racial origin,” as she says, that I’m not sure how to cast her. What I really need is for Olivia Munn and Halle Berry to have a tall, fierce, litigious baby, but so far I can’t even get the two of them to have coffee.

As for Zach Birdwine, Paula’s hard-drinking private investigator and sometime lover, that’s easy. In fact, an independent bookseller (Luan, from Laurel Book Store out in California) sent me a note after she read the book, saying that Jeffrey Dean Morgan had to play Birdwine, cut, print, the end. She nailed it.
Learn more about the book and author at Joshilyn Jackson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Opposite of Everyone.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Charlie Jane Anders's "All the Birds in the Sky"

Charlie Jane Anders is the editor in chief of and the organizer of the Writers With Drinks reading series. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,, Lightspeed, Tin House, ZYZZYVA, and several anthologies. Her novelette “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo award.

Here Anders dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, All the Birds in the Sky:
I actually suck at figuring out who ought to play characters I thought up in my head. Part of that is because the more time I spend imagining them, the less they look like any particular actor or other real-life person. That said, I would kill to have Jennifer Lawrence play the grown-up Patricia, the witch in my novel. I think Lawrence could bring the mixture of vulnerability and whimsy -- with an edge of anger and resentment -- that keeps Patricia going.

For Laurence, the mad scientist, it would be hard to find an actor with a such a big long chin. But maybe Dylan O'Brien? I mostly want whoever plays Laurence to be able to do "overthinking and nerdy," without too much adorkableness. This is for the grown-up versions of the characters, natch. Mostly I sort of fantasize about going back in time to 1997-ish and kidnapping the young cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and forcing them all to play all the characters in my book. Anthony Stewart Head could play a dozen different roles.
Visit Charlie Jane Anders's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Gin Price's "On Edge"

Gin Price lives in Michigan with her partner David, two children, many reptiles and an ornery cat.

Here Price shares some ideas about a big screen adaptation of her new novel, On Edge:
Coming Soon to Theaters Near You…

In a world where graffiti and parkour collide on the violent streets of Three Rivers Michigan, one girl is determined to bring rival gangs together, or die trying!

Emanuella “LL” Harvey is being hunted by a serial-killing graffiti artist. Though her newest love interest swears it isn’t him, all the evidence points directly to him, and LL’s brother is ready to call down hell in the form of a massive gang war to try to bring the stalker down.

Hoping to keep the peace, LL must discover the true culprit…even if the truth will kill her heart and soul.

From the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek: Into Darkness

JJ Abrams presents: On Edge.

Starring Sarah Jeffrey as Emanuella and Asher Monroe as Brennen “Haze” Craig. Featuring Dayo Okeniyi as Surge.

That’s how it mostly plays in my mind…my book as a movie. But in all honesty, I’d like to see a bunch of up-and-comers in lieu of those already out there struggling to play a young person as someone on the older side of the young adult spectrum.

I’d like to see all of the parkour scenes carefully choreographed by pros in the expression. Perhaps someone of the Bell and Waters persuasion. Don’t know whom I refer to? Oh my friends…YouTube your eyes cashed. You won’t regret it.
Visit Gin Price's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: On Edge.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 22, 2016

Phillip Margolin's "Violent Crimes"

Former trial attorney Phillip Margolin has been writing full-time since 1996. Most of his many novels have been New York Times bestsellers.

Here Margolin dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Violent Crimes:
If they made Violent Crimes into a movie who could I see in the lead roles? I never think about this question while I am writing and I had to consult with my movie buff brother, Jerry, for ideas. I think Chyler Leigh, who places Supergirl's sister on TV, would be a good Amanda Jaffe. I also thought about Kate Mara and Brie Larson.

Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck and other actors who have played special ops types would be good as Tom Beatty, the retired Navy Seal with PTSD who is on the loose and looking for revenge against the people who have framed him for murder.

George Clooney would be good as Frank Jaffe, Amanda's dad.
Visit Phillip Margolin's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Violent Crimes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sally Hepworth's "The Things We Keep"

Sally Hepworth has lived and traveled around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the U.K., and Canada. While on maternity leave from her job in Human Resources, Hepworth finally fulfilled a lifelong dream to write, the result of which was Love Like the French, published in Germany in 2014. While pregnant with her second child, she wrote The Secrets of Midwives, published worldwide in English, as well as in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2015. A novel about three generations of midwives, The Secrets of Midwives asks readers what makes a mother and what role biology plays in the making and binding of a family.

The Secrets of Midwives has been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publishers Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Hepworth’s debut English language novel as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing.”

Here Hepworth shares some ideas about the cast of an adaptation of her latest novel, The Things We Keep:
Ah, the movie. I think about this all the time. Here is my cast for The Things We Keep:

Anna, a 38-year-old feisty paramedic, now with early onset Alzheimer’s – I would love to see Emily Blunt in this role – she just has the strength and character to pull it off. I also can see Julia Roberts or Jessica Chastain in this role.

Luke, 41, also with early-onset dementia, is shy but has a gentle strength about him — I think John Krasinski or Ryan Reynolds would do a great job of this role.

Eve, 35, British, is a former wealthy wife, now a cook at a nursing home. Kate Winslet could play Eve in her sleep. Also, Jennifer Garner would be amazing in this role.

As for blonde, quirky, 7-year-old Clementine – I pictured Mackenzie Foy the whole time I was writing her.
Visit Sally Hepworth's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Secrets of Midwives.

My Book, The Movie: The Secrets of Midwives.

The Page 69 Test: The Things We Keep.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Suzanne Redfearn's "No Ordinary Life"

Born and raised on the east coast, Suzanne Redfearn moved to California when she was fifteen. She currently lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, their two kids, a Cockapoo named Cooper, and a cat named Motley. They own a restaurant in town called Lumberyard. Prior to becoming an author, Redfearn was an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. When not writing, she enjoys doing anything and everything with her family—skiing, golf, tennis, surfing, playing board games, and watching reality TV. Redfearn is an avid baseball fan. Her team is the Angels. She can also be found in the bleachers watching her kids’ sports or prowling the streets with her husband checking out the culinary scene of Orange County.

Here Redfearn dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, No Ordinary Life:
There is a lot of hypocrisy in me contemplating this question. My novel is about the dangers of child stardom, and if my book was made into a film, it would require casting half a dozen young actors to play the parts of the characters in the book. The age of the kids would be paramount, so who is cast would depend on when the movie was made and what child stars were available. As far as the adults go, I always start with a photo pulled off the web of who I think the characters are. For Faye, I started with a photo of Reese Witherspoon when she was in her twenties. Faye needs to be young, naive, pretty though not stunning, and with a sense of humor, maybe Julianne Hough. Faye’s husband, Sean, is a rebel and a jerk, but good looking and charming. He started out as Tyson from Survivor. I’m thinking maybe Chris Hemsworth if you tat him up a bit and make him scruffy. Griff, Faye’s love interest, one of my favorite characters, is big and loveable. He was originally Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, and if Tom would like to take a break from football, I’m fine with him playing the part (I’m sure Julianne Hough would be fine with it as well).
Visit Suzanne Redfearn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Suzanne Redfearn and Cooper.

The Page 69 Test: No Ordinary Life.

Writers Read: Suzanne Redfearn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

William C. Dietz's "Graveyard"

New York Times bestselling author William C. Dietz has published more than fifty novels some of which have been translated into German, French, Russian, Korean and Japanese. Dietz also wrote the script for the Legion of the Damned game (i-Phone, i-Touch, & i-Pad) based on his book of the same name--and co-wrote SONY's Resistance: Burning Skies game for the PS Vita.

He grew up in the Seattle area, spent time with the Navy and Marine Corps as a medic, graduated from the University of Washington, lived in Africa for half a year, and has traveled to six continents. He has been employed as a surgical technician, college instructor, news writer, television producer and Director of Public Relations and Marketing for an international telephone company.

Dietz is a member of the Writer’s Guild and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. He and his wife live near Gig Harbor in Washington State where they enjoy traveling, kayaking, and reading books.

Here Dietz dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Graveyard:
Graveyard is the third book in the Mutant Files trilogy. The first book was Deadeye, and here’s the first paragraph of the dreamcast that I wrote about it: “I would love to see actress Jurnee Smollett play Detective Cassandra Lee in the movie Deadeye. She’s beautiful, about the right age (29), and can act. This role will call for some outer toughness however, with just a hint of vulnerability, and a lean/mean physicality.”

Well, guess what? Nothing has changed. I still think that Jurnee would make a fabulous Cassandra Lee. That said, if Jurnee was busy, and I had to choose another actress for the role, I couldn’t go wrong with Kerry Washington (Django Unchained among others.) Like Jurnee she has the necessary physicality, not to mention an awesome screen presence.

As for a director I’m going all out… I’m a huge Michael Mann fan (Miami Vice and Last of The Mohicans among others.) And I would love to see him bring his sensibility to Deadeye, Redzone, or Graveyard. I’m going to sit by the phone. Maybe Michael will call.
Visit William C. Dietz's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Andromeda's Fall.

My Book, The Movie: Andromeda's Fall.

The Page 69 Test: Andromeda's Choice.

The Page 69 Test: Deadeye.

My Book, The Movie: Deadeye.

The Page 69 Test: Graveyard.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 15, 2016

Jonathan Moore's "The Poison Artist"

Jonathan Moore is an attorney with the Honolulu firm of Kobayashi, Sugita & Goda. Before completing law school in New Orleans, he was an English teacher, the owner of Taiwan’s first Mexican restaurant, and an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington D.C. His novels include Close Reach and Redheads, which was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award.

Here he shares some thoughts about dreamcasting his latest novel, The Poison Artist:
With one exception, I didn’t give any consideration to who would portray the characters if The Poison Artist is ever filmed. The exception was a character named Emmeline. I envisioned her as the apotheosis of the femme fatale, and I needed a Kim Novak or an Eva Marie Saint for the modern age. Of course, that meant Scarlett Johansson would be perfect for the role. She’s a great actress, and she’d build a character who was both sinister and innocent in the same breath—and alluring because of that mix. I’d line up at midnight to see the film on opening night.
Visit Jonathan Moore's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Phillip DePoy's "A Prisoner in Malta"

Phillip DePoy is the director of the theatre program at Clayton State University and author of several novels, including The Drifter's Wheel, A Corpse's Nightmare, and December's Thorn.

Here DePoy dreamcasts an adaptation of A Prisoner in Malta, the first book in a new mystery series featuring Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare's contemporary and Queen Elizabeth's man behind the throne:
Like most writers I know, I actually see the books as I’m writing them—kind of watching them happen and trying to capture it all in words, right? So I don’t really think of actors when I’m in the middle of the writing. I just see the characters as they appear. But once the book’s done it’s a lot of fun to talk with my wife about who should make the movie. Unfortunately, I like the Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson—Truffaut, for that matter. All of whom are entirely wrong for making a period movie about Christopher Marlowe. Plus, you know, Truffaut’s dead. Sure, the book’s got a lot of action. In fact, one review said “enough action for a summer movie; eat your heart out James Bond.” No kidding. It’s about a young playwright and brawler who finds himself employed by Queen Elizabeth I to solve a murder and save the Kingdom. So then we think, is there enough spectacle in the book to interest Peter Jackson? Maybe. So we start casting. Let’s see if we could get Antonio Banderas to play Dr. Lopez, the Queen’s physician and Marlowe’s mentor. Scarlett Johansson would be great as Frances, the adventuress and quasi-love interest. I say Bill Nighy plays Walsingham, the Queen’s spymaster. As to Marlowe himself: Eddie Redmayne? Orlando Bloom? And Benedict Cumberbatch has to play somebody, right? Also Mark Rylance should be in it. Now, at this point, I’m deciding that I ought to gather my actor friends and shoot this myself. My sister has horses, the Shakespeare Tavern has costumes, everybody knows stage combat. Get my beautiful and talented wife to write the screenplay. All we need is a backer! So, if you are reading this, and would like to see this movie…
Learn more about the book and author at Phillip DePoy's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Drifter's Wheel.

The Page 69 Test: A Corpse's Nightmare.

The Page 69 Test: December's Thorn.

My Book, The Movie: December's Thorn.

The Page 69 Test: A Prisoner in Malta.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Patricia Ward's "Skinner Luce"

Patricia Ward was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, moving to the United States when she was eighteen. Her books include The Bullet Collection, an award-winning novel about two sisters growing up in wartime Beirut.

Here Ward dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Skinner Luce:
I always imagined Skinner Luce as a movie or a graphic novel, but didn’t have the know-how to pull it off. The setting of this story would translate beautifully onto the big screen--the cityscape in winter, the whirling snow and ice, the choppy bay. And tucked away inside this frozen world, the grimy houses and rooms where terrible, secret things take place while humans stroll by, oblivious. Throughout, the stark wintery imagery would convey the daily desperation that defines serv existence, further emphasized when they doll themselves up so pitifully for the Nafikh, who swat them around like flies. In contrast, Lucy’s visits home would provide pockets of warmth and normalcy, a respite from the oppressive strangeness of her serv life. The clutter of Eva’s house and Lucy’s childhood bedroom, the ease with which she moves through these recognizable spaces, would highlight the freakish world she inhabits when she’s away, and make her efforts to forge some kind of normal life all the more poignant.

The atmosphere of Skinner Luce is definitely Indie not Blockbuster. Having any well-known actors in the movie would undermine the viewer’s experience. We need to be pulled into an underworld of wheeling and dealing aliens who are fighting to survive. We should come to the discomfiting realization that these servs are among us, all around us, and we had no clue. The world on the screen has to feel like the world we regular people step into every day, but skewed by this new and disturbing understanding. Having Matt Damon pop up as a serv or a sentry would wreck that.

That said, there are actors that come to mind because they remind me of the characters. Lucy would be a cross between Saoirse Ronan and a young Tilda Swinton. Or maybe just the latter. The sentry Gabriel is an Idris Elba type. Julian, stringy, dark and brimming with meanness and anger, might be a Cillian Murphy. Theo could be an Andrew Scott. I can’t think of an actor who looks like Bedrosian, but in my head he’s always been a tidy William Saroyan. Lucy’s mother Eva is a Betty White without the giggles.

If there had to be someone famous in the film to give it traction, I can see Benedict Cumberbatch playing a Nafikh. Just thinking about it creeps me out. He’s got that strangely addictive face and those weird transparent eyes. He’d be really well-suited to portraying a detached, otherworldly, terrifying alien being.

As for who might direct, I thought the directors of the new Battlestar Galactica did a fantastic job conveying a gritty, dark atmosphere and bringing out the intensely genuine emotion driving so many of the storylines. I also love Joss Whedon (who doesn’t?). In my fantasy of fantasies, he directs a TV series based on Skinner Luce. In reality, I have an old friend who is a director and who would do an amazing job with this film. We’ll see what happens!
Visit Patricia Ward's website.

The Page 69 Test: Skinner Luce.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nicholas Searle's "The Good Liar"

Nicholas Searle grew up in the southwest of England and studied languages at the University of Bath. He spent more years than he cares to remember in public service before deciding in 2011 to leave and begin writing fiction. He lives in the north of England.

Here Searle shares some ideas about adapting The Good Liar, his first novel, for the big screen:
The writer who says that they’ve never considered their book as a movie is lying. I’ve thought so many times of people who could play this or that role in the film of the book. It’s great fun.

Anyone who’s read The Good Liar will, though, very quickly recognise the difficulty in casting the lead actors. Which exactly would the lead roles be? The specific issue is to do with the span of time covered by the book as it reveals its secrets. But to explain that particular problem any further would run the risk of giving spoilers. And I’m not about to ruin the reader’s fun by doing that.

So let’s stick with the two people we meet at the very beginning of the book: Roy and Betty. They are, after all, genuinely the central people in the narrative. And here we run into a problem of a different order, the kind of nice problem you’d like to have, to be sure, but no less vexing for that. There are just so many high quality British actors of a certain age (and beyond) performing out of their skins at the moment. In TV and the movies grey seems to be very much the in thing. Do I choose Tom Courtenay or Terence Stamp? Maggie Smith or Charlotte Rampling? John Hurt? Anthony Hopkins? Bill Nighy? Michael Kitchen? Helen Mirren? Julie Christie? Meryl Streep, actually, with her Margaret Thatcher, showed she can pull off a great English accent. So maybe they don’t have to be Brits.

I should be so lucky. I would give my eye tooth to have any of these people even consider a role as Roy or Betty. If I have to make a choice, though, I guess it might be Michael Caine, with that basilisk stare, as Roy, and Judi Dench, with that warmth and simmering intelligence as Betty.

Well, it was a nice day-dream anyway!
Follow Nicholas Searle on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Liar.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 8, 2016

Jennifer Robson's "Moonlight Over Paris"

Jennifer Robson is the author of three novels set during and after the First World War: Somewhere in France, After the War is Over, and Moonlight Over Paris.

She holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow.

Here Robson dreamcasts an adaptation of Moonlight Over Paris:
My difficulty, when dream-casting one of my books, is that I tend to create my characters with a very specific image of each one in my head, and usually they don’t bear much resemblance to particular actors or public figures. If pressed, though, I would say that Alicia Vikander, who played Vera Brittain in the recent film adaptation of Testament of Youth, is a pretty close match for the Helena I carry around in my head. I also like Saoirse Ronan (so wonderful in Brooklyn) and Mia Wasikowska. What I want to see is someone who has the appearance of fragility—Helena has just recovered from a near-fatal illness, after all—but is strong enough, and brave enough, to leave her comfortable life behind and look for a future that offers her the chance of true happiness.

With Sam Howard, my hero, I have a more specific physical type in mind, mainly because he is a redhead (a ginger to my readers in the UK) and Sam’s dark auburn hair, as I see it in my mind’s eye, is quite rare. If I confine myself to actors with auburn hair, I really like Domhnall Gleeson, who was also wonderful in Brooklyn—and, yes, he was one of the Weasley brothers in the Harry Potter films, but he’s in his early thirties now and certainly mature enough to play the rather world-weary character of Sam. Some of you may be fans of Damien Lewis, arguably the best-known actor with red hair around, but for some reason I can’t quite see him in the role, even though he often plays American characters and does so very well.

As for the secondary characters, I think Emma Thompson would do a fine job of portraying the eccentric but canny Aunt Agatha (I can dream, can’t I?), and Rose Leslie (from Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones) would be perfect as Daisy. But I’m not sure who should play one of the most important characters: Hamish, Agatha’s elderly cairn terrier. My own dog, Ellie, has asked to be considered for the role, but she’s all wrong for the part (starting with her breed—she’s a sheepdog). My literary agent has a lovely Westie, though, and I think the role could be rewritten just for Fergus!
Visit Jennifer Robson's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Robson & Ellie.

My Book, The Movie: After the War Is Over.

The Page 69 Test: After the War Is Over.

Writers Read: Jennifer Robson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Yona Zeldis McDonough's "The House on Primrose Pond"

Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of novels such as A Wedding in Great Neck and You Were Meant for Me as well as dozens of books for children. She is the editor of and a contributor to The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty, as well as All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader.

Here McDonough dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The House on Primrose Pond:
You can’t imagine how much fun it is to imagine your book brought to life as a movie. I do it all the time, and so do most of my writer friends. Of course I played this little game with my latest novel, The House on Primrose Pond. Julia Roberts, whose relaxed, versatile manner on the screen is always engaging, could easily play the protagonist, Susannah Gilmore. Reese Witherspoon, whose plucky charm manages to light up any vehicle she’s in, is another contender; both of these women would bring Susannah admirably to life. Russell Brand—those brows, could play the male lead, Corbin Bailey! That penetrating gaze!—but he’d have to lose the beard and trim his hair. And I see the ethereal and lovely Diane Keaton as Alice—she has the necessary strength, dignity and poise the role would require.
Learn more about the author and her work at Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.

Writers Read: Yona Zeldis McDonough.

The Page 69 Test: The House on Primrose Pond.

Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 5, 2016

Patrick H. Breen's "The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood"

Patrick H. Breen is Associate Professor of History at Providence College.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt:
Does every historian dreamcast his history? Probably not, but this question makes me feel less odd for having worked out an entire storyboard for filming The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood. Looking at the title, one may think that this is a natural for Quentin Tarantino, but The Land is completely different from Django Unchained or the similar movies that have come out of Hollywood over the last generation: 12 Years a Slave, Amistad, or even Glory. These movies all focus on dramatizing the horrors of slavery and celebrating the heroism of the underdog slave who stands up against slavery. In many ways, these films take the place of the old western, with clear good guys and bad guys. The only problem is that history is not like that. The revolt was a good deal more confusing and complex, even within the black community. What do we make of Boson, the convicted slave rebel who escaped prison before his scheduled hanging, only to be recaptured years later as he was—with a white collaborator—trying to sell himself off into slavery outside of Virginia as a way to cheat the hangman? Or the slave who promised to take a white woman’s child and raise it should she be killed? What about the fight between the slave Burwell, who was trying to deliver messages for the whites, and the free black Exum Artist, who tried to stop him? Likewise, the white community was divided as some raged and wanted revenge but others saw that such killings would cost the slaveholders too much. What happened in Southampton was much too complex for Tarantino, but I think that Spike Lee could do something extraordinary with it.

For the actors, The Land would need a large ensemble that could present the dilemma of resisting and upholding slavery in ways that no one has ever done on film. (On stage there have been efforts to present a more complex story about slave resistance, including John Guare’s A Free Man of Color; if offered I would welcome the Lincoln Center’s 2010-2011 entire cast into my film.) Given my druthers among film actors, I would love to see Michael B. Jordan head this cast. He could be a compelling Nat Turner, portraying a man who was able to launch the South’s most important and deadly slave insurrection. Since I’m casting, I’ll also include Laurence Fishburne, who has the range to do both passion and ambiguity, as Thomas Haithcock, Turner’s recruiter who ultimately escaped conviction for his role in the revolt. Quvenzhané Wallis could do a fabulous job as Beck, the young slave who testified that the plot was far bigger than the whites realized. Since I’m in charge, I’ll also enlist Leonardo DiCaprio play Thomas R. Gray, the unsuccessful lawyer who thought that taking down Turner’s confession might allow him a way out of the debt that had ruined his life.
Learn more about The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Leza Lowitz & Shogo Oketani's "Jet Black and the Ninja Wind"

Leza Lowitz’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Shambhala Sun, Asian Jewish Life, and Best Buddhist Writing of 2011. She has published over seventeen books, including the APALA Award–winning YA novel Jet Black and the Ninja Wind, which she cowrote with her husband, Shogo Oketani, and the bestselling Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By.

Lowitz's new book is Up from the Sea, a novel in verse for Young Adults about the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. BuzzFeed chose the novel as one of five new YA novels you should read this January.

Here Lowitz dreamcasts an adaptation of Jet Black and the Ninja Wind, complete with some related artwork by Chris Mauch, storyboarder for Divergent, Limitless and other films:
This is a book that’s got big screen or TV series written all over it. Magic, mystery, action, and a real-life message (can you imagine?) with a multicultural, multigenerational cast, a globe-trotting story, eco-warriors, and a young bad-ass female lead who takes no shit from anyone. Plus a ninja dog. What’s not to love?

Think Blade Runner meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with a little bit of Karate Kid thrown in. And can we say we jumped out of our seats when we saw that new megabillion dollar blockbuster set in a f.f. galaxy ....Deja vu big time. The age of the female warrior has arrived!

Reese Witherspoon & Pacific Standard---we’re calling you!

JET--a ninja who doesn't know it. The last living female ninja, to be exact. Abandoned by her American father and stuck between cultures, can she become the true leader she’s destined to be?
Cast: Kiki Sukezane of NBC’s Heroes Reborn. Or Emily Kaiho.

SATOKO --Jet’s superbad mother, who left Japan after Jet’s birth and moved to a Navajo Reservation in the US, avoided capture, and trained her daughter in the secret ninja ways.
Cast: Carrie Ann Inaba, Michelle Yeoh, Phoebe Cates.

J-BIRD--Navajo elder, keeper of the flame, grizzled warrior, father figure to Jet, Satoko’s lover.
Cast: Wes Studi, Benjamin Bratt.

NEIL BLUEWOLF--J-BIRD’s friend and fellow combat vet brother.
Cast: Michael Spears, Adam Beach, Martin Sensmeir.

HIRO - teenage whip-smart kick-ass ninja. Jet’s Japanese cousin.
Cast: Seishiro Kato, Jordan Nagai, Seishiro Kato.

TAKUMI-- a happa mercenary, an assassin who’s joined the “Dark Side” for survival. Can he rekindle his honor and fight for justice rather than material gain? Can he let Jet love him, and love her back? Can he become the leader he’s destined to be?
Cast: Daniel Henney, Sam Milby, Shota Matsuda.

MASAKICHI--Jet’s grandfather. The last of the old-school ninja. Think Obi-wan Kenobi or Dumbledore. He teaches Jet and Hiro how to move like the wind and other ninja secrets that lead them to save a sacred treasure--and the future of their tribe.
Cast: George Takei, Ken Watanabe, Beat Takeshi.

SOJI-- an ultra cool, Zen priest warrior. Also an archeologist and quietly dignified badass. Jet and Hiro’s uncle.
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryo Kasei.

HARTER--President and CEO of New Language Systems (NLS), treasure hunters developing their own code, a “natural computer language” based on petroglyphs. They want to capture Jet and find the treasure--yesterday.
Cast: Christopher Walken, Edward Norton (who studied Japanese at Yale), Keanu Reaves.

FUJIWARA--Businessman from an aristocratic Japanese fuedal clan who’s backing NLS to polish his clan's tarnished name.
Cast: Yuya Yagira, Yutaka Takeuchi, Kazunari Ninomiya.

ROSSI--one of Harter’s minions, junked up on power.
Cast: Tom Felton (“Draco Malfoy” in Harry Potter), Taylor Lautner.

ASKA--loyal ninja dog who can fight with the best of them.
Cast: An Akita, of course.

AKIRA--a cool, street kid punk rocker who likes to riff on his electric guitar and drive the cops just a little bit crazy.
Cast: Aramis Knight.

DR. SUZUKI, SCIENTIST. Helps Jet, Hiro and Soji find the treasure and save their clan.
Cast: Takahiro Miura, or gender change to Natalie Portman (also reportedly speaks Japanese, learned at Harvard).

Jet Black & the Ninja Wind hitting the big screen? You read about it here first....
Visit Leza Lowitz's website.

The Page 69 Test: Up From the Sea.

Coffee with a Canine: Leza Lowitz & Bingo and Memo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Emily Arsenault's "The Evening Spider"

Emily Arsenault's books include The Broken Teaglass, In Search of the Rose Notes, Miss Me When I'm Gone, and What Strange Creatures.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, The Evening Spider:
This is a fun exercise because The Evening Spider is the first book I’ve written that I can really imagine being made into a movie.

My story goes back and forth between 1879 and 2014. Two different women, both young mothers, occupy (and are somewhat haunted by) the same house in two different centuries. I think the tone of the movie will rely a lot on how Frances, my eccentric 19th century character, is played. There are moments when she might seem just slightly more crazy than eccentric. We would need an actress who could walk that line without going overboard.

When I first considered this question, Claire Danes came to mind. But I think the risk here is that Frances would just feel like a 19th century Carrie Mathison. So, perhaps a better choice would be Michelle Williams. I’ve never seen her play a character like this, but I think she could pull it off. I’d love to see Matthew Rhys, from the television show The Americans, as her brother, Henry. For her husband, I’d like someone who can play a bit of a jerk, but with a gentlemanly air. I’m thinking maybe Christian Bale.

For Abby, my main contemporary character, Ellen Page might be a good fit. She has a sort of skepticism to her that I think would work well for this bored but slightly anxious new mother.

The contemporary story also includes a sort of professorial character named Wallace—an older man from the local historical society who helps Abby answer questions about the history of her house. For some reason, Jeff Bridges feels right for this part. I know he’s not exactly “professorial,” but I think he’d help deliver some of the subtle humor I tried to put into some of Wallace’s dialogue. His good-natured presence would provide some unexpected light moments in between the darker scenes when the women contend with the house—and their demons—alone.
Learn more about the book and author at Emily Arsenault's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Broken Teaglass.

My Book, The Movie: What Strange Creatures.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 1, 2016

Adrian Magson's "The Locker"

Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, numerous short stories, a YA ghost novel and Write On!-a writers’ help book.

His new novel is The Locker, the first of a new series featuring private security operatives Ruth Gonzales and Andy Vaslik.

Here Magson dreamcasts an adaptation of The Locker:
Like most writers, I do fantasise a little (well, a lot) about this subject.

I didn’t have to think too hard about who might play Ruth Gonzales, because the actress I had in mind – Nicola Walker – had already played another Ruth, this one a member of MI5, in Spooks [US title: MI-5]. I’m not sure which came first – the actress or the name - or maybe they came together, colliding in my brain in a happy coincidence. But I instantly saw her as the capable, unflashy (sorry, Nicola – no offence) and relentless former British soldier and cop, now investigator for Cruxys Solutions.

The male half of the partnership, Andy Vaslik, ex-Dept of Homeland Security agent, slim, neat, watchful and self-contained, I saw as like CSI actor Gary Sinise.

The two are very different (as described so perceptively by Kirkus Reviews: (‘…Gonzales and Vaslik make an appealingly mismatched investigative unit’) but that’s how I saw them in my mind without going overboard and having a beauty and beast situation. They’re opposites in many ways, and there’s a prickliness between them at the start of their pairing up for the investigation, but both have one thing in mind, and that’s solving the puzzles they face. Both these actors have an intensity about them that I feel matches the characters.
Learn more about the book and author at Adrian Magson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Tracers.

The Page 69 Test: Deception.

The Page 69 Test: The Locker.

Writers Read: Adrian Magson.

--Marshal Zeringue