Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Michael Braddick's "The Common Freedom of the People"

Michael Braddick is Professor of History at the University of Sheffield, and has held academic positions and visiting Fellowships in the USA, France, and Germany. He has published widely on the social, political, and economic history of British and American society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His books include The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution and God's Fury, England's Fire.

Here Braddick dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of his new book, The Common Freedom of the People: John Lilburne and the English Revolution:
This story is the perfect vehicle for James McAvoy.

Lilburne fought his political battles as a martyr rather than a soldier—his tribulations gave testimony of the righteousness of his cause. His sufferings were very real, including a savage public beating through the streets of London in 1638, sometimes appalling conditions of imprisonment and a lonely exile at the end of his life. In all he spent more than half of his adult life in prison or exile and survived three trials for his life (one under each of the governments under which he lived). He also fought at two of the major battles of the English civil war, was shot through the arm and nearly lost an eye during military drill.

He was not a big man—following the 1500 strokes with knotted cords he received in 1638 he referred to himself as a ‘stripling’—but he withstood all this, providing a standing indictment of the tyranny of all the regimes under which he lived.

His enemies blamed him for his tribulations. Consistently in trouble for what he published rather than any action he took, it was said that if he could just have kept his mouth shut he would have been fine. It is true that one reason he couldn’t keep his mouth shut was because he was almost monstrously self-involved—his treatment of his wife and family now make difficult reading. But he believed in many important things, and although the importance of John Lilburne was prominent among them, he championed freedoms we should all cherish.

The film will have to capture this suffering martyr, but also a trickster hero. Having been sent into exile 1651 on pain of death he nonetheless returned two years later. In order to kill him (which they pretty clearly wanted to do) the government needed merely to prove he was in the country—easy enough since he was in court and had sworn that he was John Lilburne. But he spent a morning challenging them to prove that he was the same man as the Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburne named in the indictment. For the only time in his career he had dropped his hard won and usually proudly-worn military title, publishing instead as plain Mr John Lilburne.

So, James McAvoy: slender, a smile constantly playing at the corner of his mouth, but able to portray the inner strength (or recklessness) necessary to speak truth to power.
Learn more about The Common Freedom of the People at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 26, 2018

Scott J. Holliday's "Machine City"

Scott J. Holliday was born and raised in Detroit. In addition to a lifelong love of books and reading, he has pursued a range of curiosities and interests, including glassblowing, boxing, and much more. He is the author of Punishment, the first book in his series featuring Detective John Barnes; Stonefly; and Normal, which earned him recognition in’s Literary Blockbuster Challenge.

Here Holliday dreamcasts an adaptation of Machine City, his second novel featuring Detective Barnes:
Someone said to me last night, "Tom Hardy should play Barnes." I think they were right. I don't tend to think of a real human being as my protagonist or antagonist, but the image of Hardy as John Barnes just fits perfectly well.

Also, Morgan Freeman should play Barnes's partner, William Franklin.

If I were directing I would take cues from Se7en, not just in casting Mr. Freeman. Machine City has a dark, rainy city vibe that is often associated with Detroit. I would move the viewer through the seedy underground and be relenting about the dreary, painful mood of it all. There's light at the end of the tunnel, after all, and like all the great movies there has to be a lot of hardship and pain before we get to see the light. Machine City has been labeled a technothriller, but it's hardly that. The technology is just a tool used by present day, gritty detectives, and that's where I'd keep it.
Visit Scott J. Holliday's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

James Tucker's "The Holdouts"

James Tucker is the author of the acclaimed Buddy Lock thrillers Next of Kin and The Holdouts. He holds a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and has worked as an attorney at an international law firm.

Currently he manages real estate strategy at a Fortune 50 company, where his work includes frequent travel throughout the United States. Fascinated by crimes of those in power, he draws on these cases for his novels.

One of four fiction writers awarded a position at a past Mentor Series at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Tucker has attended the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Tin House Writers’ Workshop in Portland, where he was mentored by author Walter Kirn. He lives near Minneapolis with his wife, the painter Megan Rye, and their family.

Here Tucker dreamcasts an adaptation of The Holdouts:
Tough choice. Buddy Lock is about 6’1”, with short black hair. He carries an extra 20 pounds. Ben Affleck would be a good fit, but he might still be in rehab. Another choice: Keanu Reeves. Or we could go younger, say one of the Hemsworths. The role requires a tough guy exterior with a heart of gold who can be a new father figure for a ten-year-old boy.

Mei, Buddy’s fiancée who is a beautiful Asian woman who can fight off enemies and care for the boy, could be played by Constance Wu or Christine Ko.

Ward Mills should be Leo all day long.
Visit James Tucker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 22, 2018

D. S. Butler's "Bring Them Home"

Born in Kent, D. S. Butler grew up as an avid reader with a love for crime fiction and mysteries. She has worked as a scientific officer in a hospital pathology laboratory and as a research scientist.

After obtaining a PhD in biochemistry, she worked at the University of Oxford for four years before moving to the Middle East.

About Butler's new novel, Bring Them Home, from the publisher:
A perfect village. A perfect crime.

When two young girls disappear from their primary school, the village of Heighington is put on high alert—and not for the first time. Called in to investigate, Detective Karen Hart is sure that parallels with a previous disappearance are anything but coincidental.

DS Hart is still reeling from a case she tried and failed to solve eighteen months ago, when a young woman vanished without a trace. She’s no nearer to the truth of what happened to Amy Fisher, but with two children missing now too, the stakes have never been higher. As she looks to the past for clues, she must confront her own haunting loss, a nightmare she is determined to spare other families.

Hart soon realises that nothing in this close-knit Lincolnshire community is what it seems. Pursuing the investigation with personal vengeance, she finds herself in conflict with her scrupulous new boss, but playing by the rules will have to wait. Because while there’s no shortage of suspects, the missing girls are running out of time…
Here Butler dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of Bring Them Home:
I don’t usually imagine the characters as actors when I write, so I hadn’t considered this before. It’s a fun question. For the main character, Detective Sergeant Karen Hart, I’d pick Surrane Jones. Surrane is a fantastic British actress who has taken on some really strong roles. I think she’d do a brilliant job portraying the main character. She’d be able to capture Karen’s toughness as well as her vulnerability.
Visit D.S. Butler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Alyssa Palombo's "The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel"

Alyssa Palombo is a writer living and working in Buffalo, NY. She attended Canisius College in Buffalo, where she majored in English and creative writing with a minor in music. She is a classically trained mezzo-soprano who also dabbles in playing piano. When not writing, Palombo can usually be found reading, hanging out and laughing way too hard at nonsensical inside jokes with friends, traveling (or dreaming of her next travel destination), at a concert, or planning for next Halloween. She is a metalhead and a self-proclaimed French fry connoisseur. She also owns way too many hoodies, pairs of sunglasses, and pajamas, but never enough books.

Palombo is the author of three historical novels, The Violinist of Venice, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, and The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel:
I usually have a hard time picturing specific actors playing my characters – I’ll usually have a good pick for one or two of the main ones, but not all of them. However, with my most recent release, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, it just so happened that I “cast” the main players very early on. Below are who I would want to play my quartet of main characters should the book become a movie (or a TV series – looking at you, Netflix!).

Katrina Van Tassel – Holliday Grainger

I first saw Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia Borgia on Showtime’s The Borgias, and have seen her in a few things since – I think she’s a great actress. She is exactly how I pictured Katrina Van Tassel in my retelling in terms of physical features, and based on the roles she’s done in the past I know she would be perfect for the character!

Ichabod Crane – Tom Mison

This one miiiiight be cheating a little bit, because of course Tom Mison has already played Ichabod Crane – on FOX’s modern reimagining of the show, entitled simply Sleepy Hollow. I adored the first two seasons of that show, and as I wrote my novel I couldn’t help but picture my Ichabod as looking like Mison’s version – very handsome and gentlemanly!

Brom Van Brunt – Chris Hemsworth

So technically in Washington Irving’s original story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Brom Van Brunt is described as having dark hair, but for whatever reason I just could not picture him as anything other than a handsome blonde. Chris Hemsworth fits my mental picture exactly, and I bet he would play a good villain!

Charlotte Jansen – Charlotte Wessels

This one is also probably cheating, since Charlotte Wessels isn’t an actress – she’s a singer, the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, Delain. However, she is who my character of Charlotte Jansen is named after – as my character is of Dutch descent, I named her after my two favorite singers, who just both happen to be badass Dutch ladies, Charlotte Wessels and Floor Jansen – and so I couldn’t help but picture my Charlotte as looking like the real one.
Visit Alyssa Palombo's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Violinist of Venice.

The Page 69 Test: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Laird Hunt's "In the House in the Dark of the Woods"

Laird Hunt's novels include Neverhome, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice selection, an IndieNext selection, winner of the Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine and The Bridge prize, and a finalist for the Prix Femina Etranger.

Here Hunt dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, In the House in the Dark of the Woods:
There is a scene in David Lynch’s Inland Empire in which one of Laura Dern’s characters (she plays two) comes running around a dark curve in slow motion. As she is approaching the camera everything suddenly speeds up and — wearing an expression that seems forged from rage, terror and a just the slightest vermouth splash of bewilderment — Dern seems to leap toward the lens as if she were going to devour it and us and maybe the world entire. This scene and many others make me think Dern would float easily through the horror-lit New England woods in my novel, either as the central protagonist, Goody, or as one of the older women she finds in that dark place: a wolf-cape wearing piece of seriously complicated work called Captain Jane.

If Dern were unavailable, or, better, to keep Dern company, I might dream-cast Chloë Sevigny in one of those roles, or as the character Eliza, the current occupant of the titular house in the woods, who keeps her darkness somewhat under control until the novel’s final pages. The Sevigny of Lizzie Borden is what I have in mind here. Someone who knows her way around a kiss and an axe.
Visit Laird Hunt's Facebook page and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Neverhome.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Matthew Farrell's "What Have You Done"

Matthew Farrell lives just outside of New York City in the Hudson Valley with his wife and two daughters.

About his new thriller, What Have You Done, from the publisher:
When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.

Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth—even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean…

When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?
Here Farrell('s sister-in-law) dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
People always ask me who I want to play my characters in movies, but I don't see my characters as anything other than the characters I've lived with in my head for a year, so this is always a very difficult question.

My sister-in-law suggested Ryan Gosling and Ryan Phillippe, so I'll go with that. I think they'd do a nice job with the Dwyer brothers.
Visit Matthew Farrell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Dana Chamblee Carpenter's "Book of the Just"

Dana Chamblee Carpenter is the author of Book of the Just, the third novel in The Bohemian Trilogy. The first book in the series, Bohemian Gospel, won the 2014 Killer Nashville Claymore Award. Publishers Weekly called it “a deliciously creepy debut.”

Her second book, The Devil’s Bible, won the 2017 Silver Falchion Award for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Horror Thriller and Best Novel Overall. Publishers Weekly said: “Mouse is both strong and vulnerable, constantly struggling with the dark legacy of her father, her own powers, and her efforts to be a good person. This exciting, poignant novel continues the strong opening in Bohemian Gospel and leaves room for more in Mouse’s fascinating world.”

Here Carpenter dreamcasts an adaptation of Book of the Just:
I’m very much a visual writer, playing scenes out in my head as if I were seeing them on screen, but, oddly enough, I’ve only ever mentally cast two characters in my novels until now. From the moment she introduced me to him at the end of Bohemian Gospel, Mouse’s dad has always been Robert Downey, Jr. in my head. Sardonic, smart, and suave—though he can become vicious at the turn of a dime.

And, without giving any spoilers, there’s a character we meet near the end of Book of the Just who came to me emphatically as Tom Hardy (you’ll see why this is especially interesting when you read the book). Playing with that casting actually helped me develop nuances in the character. What a wicked joy it would be to see these guys actually take on the characters someday! (She says with a wistful and all-too-realistic sigh.)

I’ve tried to cast Mouse countless times. But she’s so real for me, as tangible and fleshed out as my best friend. I don’t get to see Beth every day anymore, but I know the shape of her face, the shade of her eyes, the lilt of her accent. It’s the same for Mouse. I simply see her as . . . her. So I think we’ll need to look for an unknown when we cast for the movie or series. True to every step I’ve taken with Mouse, I know it will be a journey of discovery.

Mouse’s lover, Angelo, needs to be international, a little arrogant but kind, a thinker, and someone who’s eager to believe. Tom Hiddleston or maybe Tom Hughes could pull it off—just the right amount of posh but with some tattered edges.

And Owen Wilson would offer a perfect mix of charming bad-boy, dandy with a heavy dose of ambition that defines Jack Gray. He’s willing to do anything to get what he wants, but he’ll do it with a wink and a smile.

Book of the Just offers a pair of villains who are a little too decadently “live out loud,” but who also have a deep, calculated darkness that drives them to do the unthinkable. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but I would love to see Vincent D’Onofrio as the Reverend and Reese Witherspoon (a little twisted) as Kitty.

Maybe the daydreaming we do here will work like floating wish paper, carrying our dreams out into the universe to have them handed back to us in manifest reality. If we wish it so...
Visit Dana Chamblee Carpenter's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Kelly Oliver's "Jackal"

Kelly Oliver is the award winning (and best-selling in Oklahoma) author of The Jessica James Mystery Series. Her debut, Wolf: A Jessica James Mystery, won the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal for best Thriller/Mystery, was a finalist for the Foreward Magazine award for best mystery. Her second novel, Coyote won a Silver Falchion Award for Best Mystery. And, the third, Fox was a finalist for both the Claymore Award and Silver Falchion Award. Jackal just came out.

When she’s not writing novels, Oliver is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

Here Oliver dreamcasts Jackal, A Jessica James Mystery:
I once imagined twenty-something Jessica James, the titular character of the series, played by Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Watson because they both are spunky young heroines. Now, at only 28, somehow Jennifer Lawrence feels too old—maybe because she’s won so many awards and played more mature roles.

So for Jackal, the latest installment in the Jessica James Mystery series, I’m thinking of Saorise Ronan, a fantastic actress who proved her comic chops in Lady Bird, where she was smart-mouthed (like Jessica) but also vulnerable. And in Brooklyn she was self-sufficient, strong and lovely. Hanna is my favorite. She played a genetically engineered badass. Talk about girl power!

I still like Emma Watson because along with being a great actress, she’s a feminist and she has a book club. You gotta like an actress with a book club! Okay, I’m rethinking Jennifer Lawrence too. I just read that she’s dedicated her year off from acting to a grassroots anticorruption campaign. Go JenLaw.

Mackenzie is one of my favorite characters in Jackal (and in the series). She is a dreamer but tough as nails. She goes to Vegas to join Cirque du Soleil and ends up working as an exotic dancer. She is sexy but also sweet. I’m thinking the former Disney star Selena Gomez fits that bill. She’s incredibly charismatic and sexy but also seems like a sweetheart. Like McKenzie, she is gorgeous but could play someone a little naïve.

Leo Spencer is a rookie detective haunted by his past. I’m thinking 13 Reasons Why star (another former Disney kid) Ross Butler would do a great job. He’s cute and sexy and just looks like a nice guy. At the same time, in his acting, he can go deep and dig into the emotional turmoil of a tragic childhood. I’m also impressed that he is committed to changing stereotypes of Asian actors in Hollywood. Hey, Ross, let’s make Jackal into a movie and bust some stereotypes!

Leo’s partner Terrance is a master of disguise and an expert undercover cop. Terrance is hard on the outside but a softie on the inside. Donald Glover, who played the young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and went viral with his latest Childish Gambino video, would be perfect. He’s handsome, smart, and charming. He’s got the quick wit and sexy twinkle in his eyes that could con the best of the bad guys. Better yet, Donald is committed to social justice. Tackling contemporary social issues in entertaining ways is dear to my heart. I think Donald would make a very cool Terrance aka GQ.

As for Mazzi Honey Bunny, McKenzie’s Parti Yorkie purse dog, let’s borrow Jack from Hilary Duff’s menagerie of rescued animals. Hilary fundraises for animal shelters and says animals teach people “responsibility, kindness, and respect.” Hear, hear, Hilary.

Three Millennials, Two Family Mysteries….and One Parti Yorkie.

Wow, with a cast like this, Jackal would be a blockbuster.
Visit Kelly Oliver's website.

My Book, The Movie: Wolf.

--Marshal Zeringue