Friday, November 29, 2019

Christopher Hinz's "Starship Alchemon"

Christopher Hinz is the author of seven novels. Liege-Killer won the Compton Crook award for best first novel and was nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. He has written screenplay adaptations, short stories and a graphic novel, as well as scripting comics for DC and Marvel. His latest publications are the novel Starship Alchemon and the co-written novelette Duchamp Versus Einstein.

Here Hinz dreamcasts an adaptation of Starship Alchemon:
It’s always fun to engage in “who should play the role” scenarios even though Hollywood realities dictate that it’s nearly impossible to get an original science fiction novel made into a medium-to-big-budget science fiction film unless: 1) the book sells about a million copies; 2) a major actor wants to play the lead; or 3) Steven Spielberg’s your uncle.

A further impediment to movie adaptation in the case of Starship Alchemon is that it’s a standalone story, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Unfortunately, that violates a principal Hollywood commandment: "Thine book shall be the first in a series in order that a franchise may be launched."

All that said, Starship Alchemon remains wonderfully cinematic in the Alien-esque tradition, featuring a small group of space explorers aboard an AI vessel struggling to survive a bizarre foe that can attack them on physical, emotional and intellectual planes.

Despite the daunting odds of such a film ever being greenlit, I present the following dream-casting: George Clooney as “Ericho Solorzano,” the ship’s besieged captain; Jennifer Lawrence as psychically tormented “LeaMarsa de Host”; Halle Berry as perceptive crewdoc “June Courthouse”; Javier Bardem as the increasingly deranged “Tomer Donner”; and Constance Wu as pheromonally enhanced scientist “Faye Kuriyama.”

Let thine cameras roll!
Visit Christopher Hinz's website.

The Page 69 Test: Starship Alchemon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ann Howard Creel's "Mercy Road"

Ann Howard Creel writes historical novels about strong female characters facing seemingly impossible obstacles and having to make life-changing decisions. In her novel The River Widow, a former tarot-card reader turned widow and stepmother must escape the clutches of an evil family while also facing the crime she herself has committed. In The Whiskey Sea, a fierce young woman becomes one of the only female rumrunners on the Atlantic Coast during Prohibition. And in While You Were Mine, a New York City nurse must give up the child she has raised as her own during World War II.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Mercy Road:
This is such a fun exercise but is a little difficult for me. As I’m writing I don’t imagine actors—I see my characters as completely new faces. But by making myself imagine the film version of Mercy Road, I came up with a few actors that would work for me.

I choose Carey Mulligan as Arlene Favier, a young horsewoman turned World War I ambulance driver. Mulligan’s portrayal of Bathsheba in the recent remake of Far from the Madding Crowd demonstrated her ability to be both strong and vulnerable. And that’s how I see Arlene.

For Jimmy Tucker, the hometown boy that Arlene runs into in France and ultimately falls for, I choose Sam Worthington for many of the same reasons I chose Mulligan. I think he can do it all. Worthington really stood out in the film, The Debt, and also gave a fine performance in Avatar. He looks the part, too.

Choosing someone to play Felix Brohammer, the so-called bad guy in my book, is the toughest pick. I’m going against typecast here and choosing Daniel Radcliffe, famous for playing Harry Potter. Of course in the Harry Potter series, he’s a likeable young person, but I think he can play a bad guy just as well.

Now all I need is a film rights contract!
Visit Ann Howard Creel's website.

The Page 69 Test: The River Widow.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Chad Zunker's "An Equal Justice"

Chad Zunker studied journalism at the University of Texas, where he was also on the football team. He’s worked for some of the most powerful law firms in the country and invented baby products that are now sold all over the world. He has wanted to write full time since he took his first practice hit as a skinny freshman walk-on from a 6’5, 240 pound senior All-American safety — which crushed both him and his feeble NFL dreams.

Zunker is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters.

Here Zunker shares some thoughts about the actor to play the lead in an adaptation of An Equal Justice:
This is always a tough one for me. As a father of three young kids, I haven’t had too much time to watch movies outside of the Disney film zone. So I have no idea who the hot young actors are who could play David Adams well. David is Texas born and raised. Even though he went to law school at Stanford, he still has some of that Texas twang to him. I would want whoever is considered the "next Matthew McConaughey" to play the role.
Visit Chad Zunker's website.

My Book, The Movie: Hunt The Lion.

The Page 69 Test: Hunt the Lion.

Writers Read: Chad Zunker.

The Page 69 Test: An Equal Justice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 22, 2019

Georgie Blalock's "The Other Windsor Girl"

Georgie Blalock is an amateur historian and movie buff who loves combining her different passions through historical fiction, and a healthy dose of period piece films. When not writing, she can be found prowling the non-fiction history section of the library or the British film listings on Netflix. Blalock writes historical romance under the name Georgie Lee.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Other Windsor Girl:
I love classic films and, if I could make it happen, I’d have classic film stars take the leads in a movie adaptation of The Other Windsor Girl.

Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, would have made a great Princess Margaret. She had the sass and the attitude and the British class to have pulled it off. She was petite like the Princess but with the same will of steel hidden by a charming smile.

Paulette Goddard would have been perfect as Vera. Her role in The Women demonstrated her razor sharp wit combined with youth but she wasn’t naïve. She knew when to hold back and keep secrets but she also knew when to stand out and make her presence felt.

A young Ronald Coleman from A Tale of Two Cities would have been an excellent Rupert, Vera’s cousin who helps Vera become a member of the Princess Margaret Set, a group of young aristocrats and socialites who are intimates of the princess. Ronald Coleman’s worldliness and charm were exactly like Rupert’s.

Gary Cooper from High Noon would play Dr. Dominic Reynolds, Vera’s American love interest. Dominic has a sense of humor about life but he is very serious about being a doctor and about Vera living up to her potential. He is suave but with that touch of American west toughness and Gary Cooper could have easily brought him to life.
Visit Georgie Blalock's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Jennifer Roberson's "Life and Limb"

Jennifer Roberson has a BS in journalism with extended majors in British history and anthropology. She spent her final semester in London on an American studies program as an adult student in 1982, and while there, two days after her 28th birthday, received a telegram (pre-email!) from her agent informing her DAW Books had bought what became Shapechangers, the first in her Chronicles of the Cheysuli fantasy series. Her collaboration with Melanie Rawn and Kate Elliott, The Golden Key, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. In addition to the new Blood & Bone series, she has published eight Cheysuli novels, the Sword-Dancer Saga (#8 to come) and three of four volumes in the Karavans universe. The second volume in Blood & Bone is Sinners and Saints, scheduled for publication in March of 2021. Hobbies include showing dogs, and creating mosaic artwork and jewelry. She lives in Arizona with a collection of cats and Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

Here Roberson dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Life and Limb:
Life and Limb is the first volume in an ongoing urban fantasy series about the End of Days, and two perfectly ordinary young men who are strangers to one another have been conscripted to join the heavenly host in a battle against Lucifer’s spec ops troops: demons who now inhabit characters and creatures from fiction, history, myths, legends, and folklore. But the angels have agendas, and Gabe and Remi—an ex-con biker and Texas cowboy—must also come to grips with the unwelcome discovery that they themselves are not after all entirely human, even as they climb the steepest of learning curves in an attempt to save the world.

Gabe and Remi are not related on a biological level, but because of their true heritage they do bear a resemblance to one another. Gabe is a long-haired biker in boots and black leather, while Remi is a Texas cowboy in boots and blue denim. Both have very dark hair and tanned skin, and I would love to see Jason Momoa, Adrian Paul in his Highlander days for coloring and eye-candy, and Timothy Olyphant (all that wit and dry delivery) tossed into a blender. The end result would be Gabe and Remi—and quite delicious.

And as for the man they call Grandaddy, well, he most definitely is Sam Elliott!

Director? Joss Whedon. He created, directed, and wrote Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and on the big screen The Avengers, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He has a sense of drama but also imbues his works with whimsy and humor; sly, dry banter; and whip-smart characters. That sums up my goal with Life and Limb.
Visit Jennifer Roberson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Life and Limb.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 18, 2019

JP Gritton’s "Wyoming"

JP Gritton’s awards include a Cynthia Woods Mitchell fellowship, a DisQuiet fellowship and the Donald Barthelme prize in fiction. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Tin House and elsewhere. His translations of the fiction of Brazilian writer Cidinha da Silva are forthcoming in InTranslation.

Wyoming is his first novel.

Here Gritton reflects on adapting the novel for the big screen:
In high school I gravitated toward nerdy, artistically inclined types, and together we completed a slow orbit of the theater and film programs. Some of us were in set design, and some of us did lighting and sound, and some of us fretted and strutted (in minor roles, of course) upon the stage. Not so long ago, a film I co-wrote and starred in back in high school appeared on the local-access television channel.

It was baffling. Where had they found it, this thing I only half-remembered creating? Why were they running it now? Who had given them the say-so? Even when I made it, I’d had only a vague sense of the film's plot. I can say only that it featured a younger, huskier version of myself with a zip-lock bag of powdered sugar in his hand (its title, I should mention, was Colombian Blizzard). My best friend had recruited a beautiful crush to star opposite me. In one of the only scenes I remember, I wave Jenna into my mom’s house and explain: “Feel free to take your clothes off.” In the next scene I remember with any real clarity, my car gets stalled on some train tracks and then (get this) a train comes! That’s how the movie ends.

I think about this story often: it tells me something of how random, how chaotic artistic expression can truly be. I guess we made that movie in 1997 or ‘98—it was only a few years ago I saw it on local access. You never know who is going to pick up your TV script, or your demo tape, or your chapbook—what are the chances, after all, that I’d turn on local access and see my own pimply face on the screen?

Maybe as a consequence of this optimism, I’ve played the casting game at every stage of the writing process. The main character of my novel is a surly, misanthropic, drug-slinging construction worker named Shelley. My buddy Jon, who read the first complete draft, thought Josh Brolin would make a good leading man. My editor and girlfriend both suggested Joaquin Phoenix for Shelley’s role. I was never any good at the game—without fail, I’d suggest an actor, and my girlfriend would say, “But he’s dead now.” And I’d go, “Oh, yeah.”

Claiming some vague connection to VICE TV, a “Hollywood producer” contacted me a while back. He'd read an early review and thought my book had “narrative promise”—did I mind sending him a galley? So I put one in the mail the very next day. That was three months ago.

For the leading role, I’ve never been able to get the impossible options out of my head. The other Phoenix brother to play Shelley--or, if not him, Heath Ledger, or Lee Van Cleef ca. 1954. Probably I’ve known all along that nobody will be making a movie out of my book—or that, if they do, this film will only run on Channel 8.
Visit JP Gritton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sarah Deming's "Gravity"

Sarah Deming began boxing after graduating from Brown University and was the 2001 New York City Golden Gloves and Empire State Games featherweight champion. She has covered hundreds of amateur and professional fights from ringside, including the Rio Olympics and the 2012 Women’s World Championships in China. She covered the London Olympics as part of the Emmy-winning NBC team and, as an HBO Boxing Insider, covered the first women’s bout broadcast on HBO Championship Boxing. She coaches and tutors youth boxers at NYC Cops and Kids, a free community gym in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Here Deming dreamcasts an adaptation of her YA novel Gravity, which tells the story of a female boxer’s battles on the road to the Rio Games:
I wrote Gravity like it was a movie. It moves around a lot: Brooklyn to Spokane to China to Rio. It has a large cast of diverse characters that I hoped would offer juicy opportunities for actors of color.

My husband, who is a crime fiction buff, tells me that Dashiell Hammett tried to see his novel The Maltese Falcon like it was a movie and write that way. That was inspiring to me.

I've always found screenwriting classes/manuals -- stuff like Story and Save the Cat -- to be far more helpful and practical than fiction writing guides. I think about things like act breaks, subtext, the picture I'm painting on stage. I want every important character to be charismatic and to undergo some kind of change or development throughout the arc of the story.

My book is YA, so the main characters are young and offer the opportunity for fresh new faces. I can see some of the real boxers I know playing the roles they inspired. Chris Colbert, who inspired the male lead D-Minus, is already the star of a Netflix documentary called Counterpunch. Two-time Olympic champion Claressa Shields inspired the character of Sacred Jones, and she would light up the screen. Olympic hopeful and runway model Alexis Chiaparro would be great for Lefty.

The only character I strongly identify with an actor is Carmen Cruz, the beautiful Colombian sportswriter, whom I picture as Rosie Perez. I've met Rosie because she's a fight fan and a wonderful supporter of the New York boxing scene. I feel like she'd connect with Carmen's toughness and vulnerability and with her deep emotional connection to the sport.

There's a character called Fatso who is described as looking like Biggie Smalls "only fatter and more athletic." Fatso was also inspired by Forest Whitaker's character in Ghost Dog, but Whitaker would have to gain a lot of weight to play him!
Visit Sarah Deming's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hank Early's "Echoes of the Fall"

Hank Early lives in central Alabama with his wife and two kids. He writes crime, watches too much basketball, and rarely sleeps. His new book, Echoes of the Fall, is his third Earl Marcus novel.

In a previous life, he published horror as John Mantooth.

Here Early dreamcasts an adaptation of Echoes of the Fall:
Confession: I’ve had the Earl Marcus Netflix series cast for some time. I’m just waiting on some Hollywood type to wake up and see what a goldmine these books are and get to work on the adaptation. Kidding, of course. Kind of. Okay, well, maybe I’m not. Hear me out.

Earl Marcus would be played by David Harbour of Stranger Things fame. My wife gave me the idea when we watched Stranger Things together and she said, “That sheriff is exactly how I pictured Earl Marcus when I read your first book.” Full disclosure: it wasn’t exactly how I pictured him (in my mind, Earl is skinnier and grayer), but close enough.

Earl’s two sidekicks is where it really gets fun. Ronnie is without question Walton Goggins. Goggins has the ability to project the chaos and instability of Ronnie while still displaying his considerable vulnerability and innate goodness. And let’s face it, Goggins would look great tatted up with a guitar slung around his neck while he and the boys kicked out the jams down at the local honky tonk.

Clint Eastwood would make a perfect Rufus. Gritty and resourceful, Rufus has a kind of fallen preacher vibe that Eastwood would own. I can just imagine him wearing the oversized shades and black overalls while standing off in the shadows of the old church where he makes his home.

Finally, I’d cast Erica Tazel as Mary Hawkins. Tazel nailed a similar role in the series Justified and brings just enough toughness and wisdom to work as Earl’s law enforcement contact, and on again off again romantic partner.
Visit Hank Early's website.

The Page 69 Test: Echoes of the Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 8, 2019

James Lovegrove's "Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon"

James Lovegrove is the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin. He was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1998 and for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2004, and also reviews fiction for the Financial Times. He is the author of Firefly: Big Damn Hero with Nancy Holder and Firefly: The Magnificent Nine. He lives in south-east England.

Here Lovegrove dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest Sherlock Holmes novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon:
The best screen Holmes is undoubtedly Jeremy Brett, who played the role in the 1980s Granada series and nailed the character completely. Most of the time he was accompanied by Edward Hardwicke, who was likewise excellent as Watson – tolerant and reliable. If these two were still alive and in their prime, I would gladly have them star in a movie of any of my Holmes books. In fact, when writing Holmes’s dialogue, I tend to hear Brett’s voice.

I also think that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, back when they were a comedy duo, would have made a fine Holmes and Watson. Each could have played either role.

Specifically for The Christmas Demon, the other main parts would offer present-day British thespians plenty to get their teeth into. Most of the action takes place at Fellscar Keep, a Yorkshire castle in the depths of a freezing winter, and the large family who live there form the bulk of the supporting cast. Roger Allam would make a convincing Thaddeus Allerthope, the crusty patriarch, and Anton Lesser would be good as his somewhat weaker-willed, more sensitive younger brother Shadrach. Both actors play major roles in the 1960s-set detective series Endeavour.

Our leading lady, Eve Allerthorpe, would be well portrayed by someone like Daisy Ridley, Felicity Jones or Maisie Williams, and her tearaway brother by Taron Egerton from Rocketman and the Kingsman movies. Husband and wife Fitzhugh and Kitty Danningbury Boyd – the one louche and lecherous, the other somewhat highly-strung – could be played by Eddie Redmayne (or Andrew Garfield) and perhaps Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

A stylish director such as Sam Mendes or Christopher Nolan would be great – although the latter would probably not be interested in the job, given that the story’s narrative is purely linear, with no time jumps or flashbacks or other tricksy malarkey.
Visit James Lovegrove's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Olivia Hawker's "One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow"

Through unexpected characters and vivid prose, Olivia Hawker explores the varied landscape of the human spirit. Hawker’s interest in genealogy often informs her writing. Her first two novels from Lake Union Publishing, The Ragged Edge of Night and One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow (2019), are based on true stories found within the author’s family tree.

She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State with her husband Paul and several naughty cats.

Here Hawker shares her dream director and screenwriter to adapt One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow for the big screen:
I don’t follow the film world closely enough to have a clear idea of which actors I’d like to see portray the characters from One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow. But I can tell you that if it were ever made into a film, I’d love to see Adrian Lyne direct it with Stephen Schiff screenwriting. I absolutely loved their adaptation of Lolita (1997). It’s one of my favorite movies, and I think I love it so much because it was so faithful to the book. It captured the atmosphere of the book and all the subtle nuances of the characters’ emotions brilliantly, in a way Kubrick’s version can’t even touch. I think it’s a crime that Kubrick’s Lolita is so iconic when Lyne and Schiff made a much better work of art with the same source material. I’d welcome such a team tackling Blackbird!
Visit Olivia Hawker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Paula Munier's "Blind Search"

Paula Munier is the author of the bestselling Plot Perfect, The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings, Writing with Quiet Hands, and Fixing Freddie: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle. She was inspired to write A Borrowing of Bones, the first Mercy and Elvis mystery, by the hero working dogs she met through MissionK9Rescue, her own Newfoundland retriever mix rescue Bear, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.

Munier lives in New England with her family, Bear, and a torbie tabby named Ursula.

Here Munier dreamcasts an adaptation of her new Mercy and Elvis mystery, Blind Search:

If I had a dollar for every time a writer told me their book would make a great movie/TV show/Netflix series/Broadway musical, I’d be writing this from the Hotel George V in Paris. But I’m not, and even if I were, I would have to confess that when it comes to this particular writer’s fantasy, I’m just as delusional as everyone else.

Maybe more so, because in my Emmy-winning crime series, Rose Leslie would play Mercy Carr and one of the Chrises would play Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner, but the real stars of the show would be the dogs.

And we’d use rescue dogs. Maybe even our own rescue dogs: Bear, the Newfoundland-retriever mix who’s the inspiration for Susie Bear, and Bliss, the Great Pyrenees-Australian cattle dog mix who was the inspiration for one of the service dogs who appears in Blind Search.
Visit Paula Munier's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Paula Munier & Bear.

Writers Read: Paula Munier.

--Marshal Zeringue