Friday, December 30, 2016

Christine Husom's "Frosty the Dead Man"

Christine Husom is the national bestselling author of the Snow Globe Shop Mystery series, as well as the Winnebago County Mysteries, also set in central Minnesota. She served with the Wright County Sheriff’s Department and trained with the St. Paul Police Department, where she gained firsthand knowledge of law enforcement procedures.

Here Husom shares some ideas for casting an adaptation of the latest Snow Globe Shop mystery, Frosty the Dead Man:
Authors go about creating characters in many different ways. My basic process is figuring out their names, ages, family and friends, educational backgrounds, hobbies, interests, clothing preferences and so on. Their physical descriptions, and the way their voices sound, come to me as I work through their traits and interests. I form a mental image of each of them, and envision and hear them speak when I write.

In the Snow Globe Shop Mysteries, Camryn Brooks has returned to her small hometown of Brooks Landing, Minnesota after getting fired from her position as a Director of Legislative Affairs in Washington D.C. She’s independent and spunky, and feels like a fish out of water working in her parents’ Curio Finds shop after living for many years in big cities. On the other hand, she loves being close to family and friends again.

Cami’s one fun claim to fame is she can transform herself into a believable-looking Marilyn Monroe for costume parties. Her friend, Pinky Nelson, runs Brew Ha-Ha, a coffee shop adjoining Curio Finds. Pinky is tall and lanky and provides comic relief at the oddest moments. Their other best friend, Erin Vinkerman, is a teacher who’s dedicated to her students and friends. Erin is a petite Vietnamese American who was adopted as a baby by a Minnesota couple.

Assistant police chief, Clinton Lonsbury is Cami’s tall, dark, very attractive, and equally irritating (to her) love interest. Their other good friend, police officer Mark Weston is another good-looking, strapping man who takes his job, and sometimes himself, a little too seriously. All five are in their late thirties.

Although I envision the Brooks Landing characters a certain way, I know there are many actors who could bring them to life, and make them believable on the screen. I had the privilege of meeting Alison Sweeney this past spring in Hollywood, and know she’d easily make a great Camryn Brooks. I’d love to cast her in the role.

Because of time constraints with my two careers, I’m not as in-tune with contemporary actors as I used to be. So I had to rely on some research, and this the cast I came up with. I hope my readers agree!

Camryn Brooks, Alison Sweeney
Clint Lonsbury, Orlando Bloom
Pinky Nelson, Jennifer Wilson
Erin Vinkerman, Devon Aoki
Mark Weston, Chris Evans

There are many other characters in Brooks Landing—family members, bad guys, victims, suspects, other strange ones—that would be equally fun to cast, and I’d be thrilled if that opportunity arises!
Visit Christine Husom's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Iced Princess.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ellie Alexander's "Fudge and Jury"

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Here Alexander shares her idea for the perfect creative force to adapt her new novel, Fudge and Jury, for the big screen:
The Bakeshop Mystery Series was originally pitched as the Gilmore Girls with murder. In my dream world the movie would be produced and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of the Gilmore Girls. I know that Sherman-Palladino would perfectly capture the setting. The Bakeshop Mysteries take place in the real town of Ashland, Oregon home to the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ashland is tucked into the southernmost corner of the state in the Siskiyou Mountains near the border with California. It’s a thriving community of artists, playwrights, musicians, and outdoor adventure lovers. The downtown plaza is designed to resemble an old-English village with Elizabethan architecture and whimsical shops and restaurants that give a nod to Shakespeare like Oberon’s Tavern, complete with costumed staff and live minstrel music. The small hamlet transforms when the theater is in full swing during the summer months. Visitors from all over the globe descend on Ashland’s quaint streets to catch a showing of Shakespeare under the stars.

Sherman-Palladino excels at blending the charm and quirks of life in a small town with a touch of depth and darkness. Her productions are heartwarming with quick-witted dialog and rich characters, but also have an underlying seriousness in tone. While light-hearted and funny the stories that she produces highlight real struggles, challenging mother-daughter relationships, family dynamics, and the hierarchy of small-town politics. I want Sherman-Palladino’s magic touch to bring the Bakeshop Mysteries to life!
Visit Ellie Alexander's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 26, 2016

Molly MacRae's "Plaid and Plagiarism"

Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.

Here MacRae dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Plaid and Plagiarism:
I’ve had jobs in bookstores and libraries, and both are great places to work. Not only are you surrounded by books, but there’s the added benefit of being surrounded by interesting people—staff and patrons. And by “interesting” I mean worth studying and putting into my own books. It might be difficult (and possibly unpleasant) to ask some of those real people to drop everything and answer a casting call for a movie, though, so thank goodness there are professionals to call on. Here are my picks for the main characters and director of Plaid and Plagiarism, a mystery set in the village of Inversgail on the west coast of Scotland.

Kathy Bates as Janet Marsh, the retired American librarian who dreamed up the offbeat retirement scheme of buying a bookshop in Scotland. Janet is a planner who loves research and books. Kathy Bates will bring intelligence to the role and the right touch of humor.

Dinah Sheridan (as she was twenty or thirty years ago) as Christine Robertson. Christine is Janet’s best friend and new business partner. She’s a Scot who lived in the States for thirty years and is returning to the village where she grew up. Dinah Sheridan was a deft comic actress who could have pulled off Christine’s Queen Elizabeth look perfectly.

Linda Cardellini as Janet’s daughter Tallie Marsh. Tallie is a burnt-out lawyer and law professor. She sees the bookshop enterprise as a refreshing career change. Linda Cardellini has Tallie’s serious, bookish look.

Sarah Michelle Geller as Summer Jacobs. Summer is the fourth bookshop partner. She’s a college friend of Tallie’s, and a newspaperwoman in an age when print newspapers are struggling. She joins the bookshop venture as way of reinventing herself.

Peter Capaldi as Rab MacGregor. Rab is an odd jobs man who comes and goes, appears and disappears, and is reliably unreliable. If Peter Capaldi has time away from filming Doctor Who, he’d make a great Rab.

David Tennant as Constable Norman Hobbs. Hobbs is long-suffering but not without surprises. David Tennant proved he can be a policeman in Broadchurch and showed he’s capable of surprises as another Doctor Who.

Elaine Claxton as Pamela Lawrie who, with her husband Kenneth, are the former owners of the bookshop. Elaine Claxton is a wonderful actress who also happens to be the narrator of the audio version of the book.

John Hannah as Kenneth Lawrie, Pamela’s husband. John Hannah will give Kenneth the right “everyman” appeal.

Jenny Agutter as the victim, Una Graham. Una is the advice columnist—the agony aunt—for the local paper. She’s spiky-haired, sharp-eyed, and acid-tongued, and someone wants her dead. Jenny Agutter is exactly right for the role.

Nigel Cole, who directed the film Saving Grace and several episodes of Doc Martin, would be a brilliant director for Plaid and Plagiarism, the film.
Visit Molly MacRae's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 23, 2016

Michele Hauf's "A Venetian Vampire"

Award-winning author Michele Hauf has published over 80 novels in historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance, as well as writing action/adventure as Alex Archer and erotica as Michele Renae.

Here Hauf dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, A Venetian Vampire:
I'm a visual writer. I need pictures. In fact, when creating a story I generally start with pictures of faces and the story grows from there. I'm also addicted to Pinterest. This works well for me because there I can create 'boards' for each of my stories and fill it with the images that inspire them.

For A Venetian Vampire the role of the vampire hero Dante D'Arcangelo would go to Rupert Friend. Shave his hair micro-short and dye it black, put him in a tailored Italian suit, pop in some fangs, and he's the guy.

The heroine, another vampire called Kyler Cole, was never embodied by an actress in my mind, but I did find a picture of a woman who is looking down, her long black hair spilling over her shoulders. She's not your typical slender, glamour-babe, and that's what made her perfectly sexy, curvy, and fun Kyler.

Check out the images at my Pinterest page.
Visit Michele Hauf's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cathy Ace's "The Corpse with the Ruby Lips"

Cathy Ace is the author of the Bony Blithe Award-winning Cait Morgan Mysteries, featuring a Welsh Canadian criminal psychologist who sleuths her way around the world, as well as the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries starring four female private investigators running their business at a stately home in Wales. Born and raised in Wales, Ace now lives in British Columbia, not far from Vancouver.

Her latest release is the eighth book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries series, The Corpse with the Ruby Lips. Set in modern-day Budapest, it pits Cait’s intellect against a 40 year-old cold case murder, and her nerves against a series of suspicious occurrences which endanger one of her Hungarian students – who who hails from a truly bizarre family that’s been touched by tragedy too many times – and, eventually, her own life.

Here Ace dreamcasts an adaptation of The Corpse with the Ruby Lips:
When I began writing the character of Cait Morgan I have to admit I didn’t model her on any Hollywood actresses, because I wanted her to be a “real-sized” middle-aged woman…and there aren’t a lot of them on our screens. Cait was born and raised in Wales and is thoroughly Welsh in every respect, despite the fact she’s been living in Canada for more than a decade. I’ve never heard a convincing Welsh accent from a non-Welsh person, so I’m going to hope Catherine Zeta Jones (who’s from the same place in Wales as me – and Cait – the wonderful city of Swansea) is prepared to pile on the pounds (Cait’s 180lbs – give or take ten pounds or so) and take the part. Hey - with all that extra weight and her fabulous acting abilities she might stand a chance of winning another Oscar!

Casting Bud Anderson is an easier job, because I did, in fact, have an actor’s face in mind when I was writing the first, and subsequent, books. When Canadian actor Paul Gross played RCMP Constable Benton Fraser in Due South he won a lot of hearts – mine included. He was certainly on my mind when I created the character of Bud Anderson – the controlled, intelligent retired RCMP and Vancouver Police officer who begins the series as Cait’s boss, and is now her husband. Luckily, the actor’s age is now at the sweet spot for the character as I have written him, and he’d be more than capable of portraying Bud’s calm, unflappable character in the face of Cait’s more judgmental, sharp-tongued response to situations.
Visit Cathy Ace's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 19, 2016

T.C. LoTempio's "Crime and Catnip"

T. C. LoTempio is the author of the nationally bestselling Nick and Nora mystery series. When she’s not writing books, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Crime and Catnip:
When I first got the idea for the Nick and Nora mystery series, it was on a cold afternoon in February. I was bundled up on my couch and I saw Turner Classics had on one of my favorite movies, The Thin Man. I had had a discussion with my literary agent earlier that day about steering away from writing paranormals and veering into cozy mystery territory. As I was watching The Thin Man, my twenty pound tuxedo cat, Rocco, jumped up on my lap. All of which got me to thinking: What if Nick Charles died and came back as a cat? And thus the Nick and Nora mysteries were born. Nora Charles is an ex-investigative reporter who returns to her hometown of Cruz, California to run her dead mother’s sandwich shop. She can’t stay away from mysteries, though, and takes a part time job on an online crime magazine. She’s just starting to dig into her first story: the mysterious drowning of a local socialite – when she makes the acquaintance of her furry partner, Nick the cat.

I think every author dreams of having their books made into movies, and I confess I pictured very specific individuals when I was writing the series: Nora is definitely, without question, Emma Stone. There’s just no other. Her boyfriend, FBI agent Daniel Corleone could easily be played by either Ryan Reynolds or Jake Gyllenhaal. Nora’s BFF was a bit harder. I had to think of someone a bit quirky, and who better than Courtney Cox who played quirky so beautifully on Friends? Lisa Kudrow would be another good choice. As for the character of Nick the cat, well, there’s only one feline who could play him purr-fectly, and that’s Rocco, the Incredible Blogging Cat! If you don’t believe me, visit his blog.
Visit T.C. LoTempio's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 16, 2016

Elizabeth Gunn's "Denny’s Law"

Elizabeth Gunn is from Minnesota but has lived everywhere else since graduation from college. She married during a season of work in Yellowstone Park and raised her children in Helena, Montana. After selling the inn-keeping business they built there, Gunn and her husband traveled extensively, aboard a sailboat in Mexico, in an RV all over North America, and by bus tours throughout Europe when they lived in Barcelona, Spain, for a year.

Her books include the Jake Hines mysteries and the Sarah Burke mysteries.

Here Gunn dreamcasts an adaptation of the latest Srah Burke novel, Denny's Law:
The book is #6 in a police procedural series, which follows a case, of course, and includes interludes with a cobbled-together family: Sarah Burke, my protagonist, a homicide detective; her live-in boyfriend, Will Dietz, also a police officer; her ailing but still-feisty mother, Aggie; and her niece Denny, a bright kid abandoned by her drug-addicted mother, Sarah’s sister.

Tea Leoni will be perfect as Sarah.

Allison Janney isn’t really old enough to play Tea’s mother, but she can play anybody if she wants to, so let’s get her for Aggie.

Casey Affleck is a little young for Dietz, but add a few wrinkles and he’ll be perfect for the part.

And for Denny I want the sweet/smart child who plays Elizabeth as a child in The Crown – Verity Russell.
Visit Elizabeth Gunn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

C. S. Quinn’s "Dark Stars"

CS Quinn is a bestselling author and journalist for The Times, The Guardian and The Mirror, alongside many magazines. Prior to journalism and fiction, her background in historic research won prestigious postgraduate funding from the British Art Council.

Combining historical research with far-flung travel experiences helped her create The Thief Taker series.

Here Quinn dreamcasts an adaptation of Dark Stars, the third book in the series:
I often develop characters with half a mind to actors or celebrities, just for fun. But Charlie Tuesday with his broken nose, scruffy blond hair and cockney charm is a tricky one. Robert Pattison is the picture currently on my mood board, but having just seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I think Eddie Redmayne would also be amazing.

I wrote ‘gypsy with a knife and a grudge’ Lily Boswell with Natalia Tena in mind – she’s an actress of Spanish heritage who features in Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, but it’s her singing for gypsy funk band Molotov Jukebox that had me thinking of this role.

The other characters are based on real people from the 1600s. King Charles II, his tempestuous mistress Lady Castlemaine … So I tend to use portraits and descriptions from the time. But I think Rufus Sewell made the best Charles II I’ve seen and I would love see someone uber-sexy cast as his troubled mistress - Barbara tends to get played by an older woman, but she was only 27 in her prime.
Visit C. S. Quinn’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 12, 2016

Susan McBride's "Walk Into Silence"

Susan McBride is the USA Today bestselling author of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries and the River Road Mysteries. She has won a Lefty Award, been twice nominated for the Anthony Award, and received the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth.

Here she shares some ideas for the lead actor in an adaptation of her latest novel, Walk Into Silence:
When I first wrote Walk Into Silence ten years ago, I envisioned Jennifer Beals as my female detective, Jo Larsen. She had the perfect look: the brown eyes, curly dark hair, and lean physique. She also had an air about her, of being set apart, not quite blending in, and that’s exactly who Jo Larsen is. Then I had to put the manuscript on hold for lack of time (I was simultaneously writing a mystery series for HarperCollins and a young adult series for Random House then I got breast cancer, got married, and got pregnant—yeah, kinda busy). Last year, I dug up Walk and revised in earnest. When Thomas & Mercer bought it, I started thinking about casting the character and who could fill Jo’s shoes. I still wouldn’t mind if Jennifer Beals took a shot, though Jo Larsen is described as mid-thirties in the book. I couldn’t think of any thirty-something actresses on the screen or on TV who had embodied Jo Larsen until I spotted the tabloid reports on Prince Harry and his girlfriend, Meghan Markle. Yep, I thought. Meghan has a lot of the physical attributes that fit Jo’s character: the dark eyes, the dark hair, and lean physique. She’d have to shuck the makeup and long locks, and I’d want to see if she could project the outer toughness and inner vulnerability of Jo Larsen. But there’s a lot about her that reminds me of Jo. Hmm. If the book is ever optioned and produced, maybe there could be a sort of casting Survivor, pitting Jennifer against Meghan, and the last one standing gets the role. I’m sure Prince Harry wouldn’t mind a bit.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan McBride's website.

The Page 69 Test: Little Black Dress.

The Page 69 Test: Very Bad Things.

My Book, The Movie: Very Bad Things.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 9, 2016

Alex Beam's "The Feud"

Alex Beam has been a columnist for The Boston Globe since 1987. He previously served as the Moscow bureau chief for Business Week. His books include three works of nonfiction: American Crucifixion, Gracefully Insane, and A Great Idea at the Time; the latter two were New York Times Notable Books.

Here Beam dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship:
Inevitably, Sidney Greenstreet would have to play Edmund Wilson, who was a handsome and debonair young man, but in middle age came to resemble, well, The Maltese Falcon's Sidney Greenstreet.

There could be only one choice to play Nabokov -- George Sanders, the sardonic theater critic Addison DeWitt in All About Eve. Coincidentally, Nabokov and Sanders were both born in St. Petersburg, before the Russian Revolution caused their families to flee the country.
Visit Alex Beam's website and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Gracefully Insane.

The Page 69 Test: Gracefully Insane.

The Page 99 Test: Great Idea at the Time.

The Page 99 Test: American Crucifixion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

R.M. Meluch's "Jerusalem Fire"

R.M. Meluch is an American SF writer, and published the first of her Tour of the Merrimack series of military SF/space opera novels in 2005.

About Alihahd, the hero of her new novel, Jerusalem Fire:
The captain was a notorious rebel runner. To most of the known galaxy hewas a legend without a face, to the rest, a face without a name. He was called Alihahd. “He left.” It was the word Na’id enforcers heard when they demanded to know where the rebel had gone—always one step ahead—as if he knew his enemy very well. Hero, villain, coward. Three times a legend on both sides of the same war.
Here Meluch dreamcasts an adaptation of the new novel:
I wanted Peter O'Toole to play Alihahd in Jerusalem Fire. Well, that didn't happen. The planet is a poorer place without Peter O'Toole. I wrote the Alihahd/Shad Ilyia character around him and his Lawrence of Arabia/ Flavius Silva screen roles.

Who would I want to direct the movie? Mel Gibson, because he's a mad man.
Visit R.M. Meluch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 5, 2016

Wendy Lee's "The Art of Confidence"

Wendy Lee is the author of the novels The Art of Confidence, Across a Green Ocean, and Happy Family. Happy Family was named one of the top ten debut novels of 2008 by Booklist and awarded an honorable mention from the Association of Asian American Studies.

A graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Creative Writing Program, Lee has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo. She spent more than a decade in the publishing industry as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers and Lantern Books in Brooklyn, where she co-edited the anthology Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat. She has also worked as an English teacher in China, taught writing at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and served as a mentor with Girls Write Now.

Here Lee dreamcasts an adaptation of The Art of Confidence:
The Art of Confidence is told from five different points of view involving a forged painting: the forger, the gallery owner, her assistant, the buyer, and the original artist.

The forger, Liu Qingwu, is a Chinese immigrant in his fifties who’s lived in America for thirty years as an unsuccessful artist. Outwardly, he’s nearly invisible—another character describes him as looking like a deliveryman. Inside, though, he possesses a keen and pessimistic wit. John Lone (from The Last Emperor and M. Butterfly) would be great at depicting those two sides.

Caroline Lowry, the gallery owner who commissions the forgery, is described by Liu as “well-preserved in the way city women over a certain age are.” She also has her vulnerable and quirky moments, so I feel like Diane Keaton would be a good fit.

Caroline’s assistant, Molly, is a 22-year-old college dropout and aspiring artist who suspects that is something is off about her boss’s new art acquisition. She’s a bit like Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham’s character on Girls), although hopefully less annoying.

The buyer of the forged painting is Harold Yu, a Taiwanese businessman whose entire life has been mapped out by his father and wife. The painting becomes the only thing that is truly his. Tony Leung Chiu-wai (from In the Mood for Love) has that perfect, unassuming exterior with hidden melancholic depths.

The final character is the original artist, Andrew Cantrell, whose painting is being forged. He’s based in part on Jackson Pollock, so in my mind as I was writing I pictured Ed Harris, who played Pollock in the 2000 movie of the same title. A 16-years-younger Ed Harris would be just right for the role.
Visit Wendy Lee's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Across a Green Ocean.

The Page 69 Test: Across a Green Ocean.

Writers Read: Wendy Lee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 2, 2016

Beatrice Colin's "To Capture What We Cannot Keep"

Beatrice Colin was born in London and lives in Glasgow, Scotland. A former arts and features journalist, she also writes novels for adults, children, short stories, radio plays for the BBC. She has spoken at numerous book festivals, taught at Arvon and was a judge and mentor for the Scottish Boom Trust's New Writers Award.

Colin was also once a singer in the band, April Showers, whose single, "Abandon Ship," reached the number 144 in the charts.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, To Capture What We Cannot Keep:
Some writers have a vivid picture of who they would cast in the movie of their book as they write it. I can picture my characters but they aren’t Hollywood actors. And so when my agent asked me at first I drew a blank. And yet if I could have anyone from any period, it would be much easier. For my main character, Cait Wallace, who is a young Scottish widow, I would cast a young Faye Dunaway or a young Jeanne Moreau. Both are beautiful, intelligent and effortlessly stylish. For Emile Nougieur, one of the engineers who designed the Eiffel Tower, the Irish actor, Cillian Murphy, because he is both handsome and a wonderful actor. And for Gabrielle, who is a highly sought after artist’s model I would cast Marion Cotillard – one of the best actors in France. The Eiffel Tower would play itself. Although it might be hard to find a time to film when there’s no one there.

As for a director, maybe Ang Lee as he’s a real craftsman who made Brokeback Mountain and The Ice Storm. If he’s not available, then Wes Anderson, because he would make the whole thing fun. And I think he might use Eiffel Tower models to show its construction, rather than CGI.
Visit Beatrice Colin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue