Thursday, February 27, 2020

Suzanne Redfearn’s "In An Instant"

Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of three novels: Hush Little Baby, No Ordinary Life, and In An Instant. Born and raised on the east coast, Redfearn moved to California when she was fifteen. She currently lives in Laguna Beach with her husband where they own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza & Beer. In addition to being an author, Redfearn is an architect specializing in residential and commercial design.

About In An Instant:
Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive. Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives.

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.
Here Redfearn dreamcasts an adaptation of In An Instant:
I love this prompt. What author doesn’t want to dream up a cast of actors to play their characters? Of course I want Bradley Cooper for the male lead, and if Brad is not available, I guess I would settle for Hugh Jackman. I will have to be on the set of course for script consultation and perhaps wardrobe fittings, and though the story is serious and not musical in the least, we might need to add a ditty in there somewhere so they can sing.

The narrator for In An Instant is a dead feisty sixteen-year-old named Finn. I don’t think you would see her after her death, which happens pretty early in the story, so the voice would be really important. Maybe someone who has a great rasp, like Lindsay Lohan when she played Maggie in Herbie: Fully Loaded.

Mo, Finn’s best friend, is one of the heroines in the story. Dauntless yet fragile, she struggles to find the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten. She is easy to fall in love with, so I imagine an intelligent beauty like a young Amanda Seyfried.

Chloe, Finn’s sister, is the only one who knows Finn still lingers. Damaged more than the others because of choices she made that fateful night in the snow, she teeters on the edge of self-destruction, and though she was rescued, it’s not certain she will survive. I imagine someone like Ashley Greene when she played Alice Cullen in Twilight, a dark complex beauty who is able to be both strong and broken at once.

Ann, Finn’s heroic mother who saved them all, is haunted by her decisions. She struggles with the choices she made and to move past her guilt. She is the backbone of the story and needs an actress who is tough yet incredibly real. A friend suggested Rosamund Pike, and I think she would be perfect.
Visit Suzanne Redfearn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Suzanne Redfearn and Cooper.

My Book, The Movie: Hush Little Baby.

My Book, The Movie: No Ordinary Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Alena Dillon's "Mercy House"

Alena Dillon is the author of Mercy House, a LibraryReads and Amazon book of February 2020, and the humor collection I Thought We Agreed to Pee in the Ocean. Dillon’s work has appeared in publications including LitHub, River Teeth, Scary Mommy, Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Bustle, and The Smart Set. She teaches creative writing at Endicott College and St. Joseph’s College and lives on the beautiful north shore of Boston with her husband, newborn son, and little black pup named Penny.

Here Dillon dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of Mercy House:
I have a distinct image of Sister Evelyn in my mind because she is based (loosely) on a nun I knew, so it’s harder in this case to assign her an actress. However, there are so many incredibly talented older actresses I would be so honored to see inhabit (no pun intended) the role.

Meryl we know is spectacular in everything and has already played a nun in Doubt.

Frances McDormand portrayed tough, gritty women with Olive Kitteridge and Three Billboards.

Sarah Lancashire fought for women in a similar way to my character in Happy Valley.

I really don’t have a particular vision, and would just be so thrilled to see Evelyn come to life. That’s the ultimate dream, right?
Visit Alena Dillon's website.

The Page 69 Test: Mercy House.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ismée Williams's "This Train Is Being Held"

Ismée Williams, the author of Water in May, is a pediatric cardiologist who trained and practiced for over a dozen years at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the daughter of a Cuban immigrant partially raised by her abuelos, and the mother of three daughters. She also has a dog, Rowan, who is commonly mistaken for a muppet.

In Williams's new novel, This Train Is Being Held--
Alex is a baseball player. A great one. His papi is pushing him to go pro, but Alex maybe wants to be a poet. Not that Papi would understand or allow that.

Isa is a dancer. She'd love to go pro, if only her Havana-born mom weren't dead set against it...just like she's dead set against her daughter falling for a Latino. And Isa's privileged private-school life—with her dad losing his job and her older brother struggling with mental illness—is falling apart. Not that she'd ever tell that to Alex.

Fate—and the New York City subway—bring Alex and Isa together. Is it enough to keep them together when they need each other most?
Here Williams dreamcasts an adaptation of This Train Is Being Held:
Alex Rosario is an athlete with a tender and poetic heart. And he’s super good-looking (he’s nicknamed Papichulo!) So the actor has to look the part. Of course Alex could be played by famed baseball great Alex Rodriguez, if A-Rod were younger and wore brown contact lens. A contemporary pick would be Reggaeton singer, Ozuna, who is set to star in his first feature film this year. Ozuna is half Puerto Rican and half Dominican–which would be fine–however he’s only 5ft 5in. The director would have to get creative with the shot angles to make sure Alex looked tall.

Isabel Warner is a blonde, tall, lithe ballerina who is half-Cuban. She has the epitome of a ballerina body type (I took ballet for 13 years and was always jealous of girls like her!). Isa could be played by Bella Thorne, who is tall, occasionally blond and half-Cuban. She has the ideal look for Isa. You would believe she is a dancer.

Jorge Lendeborg, Jr would be great for Alex’s friend, Danny, who is sweet but gets involved with the wrong crowd. If you’ve seen the movie Shot, you’ll know why I picked Jorge for this role.

Bryan, Alex’s smart-ass friend who tries to get Alex to play the field more–and I don’t mean baseball, could be played by Jason Genao, from On My Block.

Manny Perez, a well-known Dominican actor who has played strong, furious characters would be perfect for Alex’s macho papi.

Vivian Lamolli would make a good Kiara, the sassy Dominicana from Alex’s neighborhood who has been pursuing Alex for years and feels the burn of Alex choosing Isa over her.

Madelaine Petsch from Riverdale would be a good choice for Isa’s loudmouth, uber silly best friend, Chrissy, another dancer who distracts Isa with her own boyfriend troubles.
Visit Ismée Williams's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Ismée Amiel Williams & Rowan.

My Book, The Movie: Water in May.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Alyssa Palombo's "The Borgia Confessions"

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's historical novels include The Violinist of Venice, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, and The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Borgia Confessions:
I, for one, would love to see The Borgia Confessions on the big screen (or the small screen, should some network or streaming service want to adapt it!) and as such have thought about who I would envision playing some of the characters. There are a lot of characters in this book, so my picks for a few of the main ones are below:

Maddalena Moretti – Sophie Turner

I’m a big Game of Thrones fan, and I loved Sophie Turner’s portrayal of Sansa Stark, and the way she grew the character over the eight seasons of the show. I think for that reason that she would make a great Maddalena, and she definitely looks the part for me!

Cesare Borgia – Francois Arnaud

Okay, so this is cheating, because Francois Arnaud has already played Cesare Borgia – on Showtime’s series The Borgias. But he did such a great job with the role, in my opinion, and so when I was writing The Borgia Confessions I couldn’t picture anyone else as Cesare.

Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI – Charles Dance

I thought Jeremy Irons did a great job with this role on Showtime’s The Borgias, and I also think that the late Philip Seymour Hoffman would have made a great Pope Alexander. Otherwise, though, I think Charles Dance would be awesome in this role – between Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones and Lord Mountbatten on The Crown, he’s good at playing those political power players!

Lucrezia Borgia – Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning just looks like Lucrezia Borgia to me, and I also think she’s a great actress – I think she would do some cool things with this role!
Visit Alyssa Palombo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Constance Sayers's "A Witch in Time"

Constance Sayers’ debut novel, A Witch in Time, is out now from Redhook (Hachette Book Group).

A finalist for Alternating Current’s 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Prose, her short stories have appeared in Souvenir and Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women as well as The Sky is a Free Country. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

She received her master of arts in English from George Mason University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She attended The Bread Loaf Writers Conference where she studied with Charles Baxter and Lauren Groff. Currently, she’s a media executive at Atlantic Media and she’s twice been named one of the “Top 100 Media People in America” by Folio and included in their list of “Top Women in Media.”

She lives outside of Washington DC and is the co-founder of the Thoughtful Dog literary magazine.

Here Sayers's dreamcasts an adaptation of A Witch in Time:
I love this exercise! In college, I took a bunch of film and screenwriting classes. I’ve heard that A Witch in Time has a distinctly cinematic feel, which probably is something I did intentionally from all the years of writing scripts. I tend to always “see” my books as films as I write them.

When I’m writing, I have an idea of someone inhabiting the character—usually an actor. For the character of Luke Varner, it was always, always Canadian actor Callum Keith Rennie circa his Lew Ashby portrayal on Californication. He has that gritty appeal that I think any actor playing Luke needs. Another actor who I think could be a fabulous Luke is Tim Rozon who plays Doc Holliday on Syfy’s Wynonna Earp.

Now, the Juliet/Nora/Sandra/Helen character is a very interesting casting problem. For the audio book, there are four different actresses reading the different roles and I think that works well for the audio version. For the film/tv version, I think that one actress should play all four characters. Visually, I think one actress with multiple transformations (hair and make-up) illustrates the continuity that they are really one essence. I also think this actress needs to have a timeless quality, so that she’s as believable as a modern-day media executive as she is a 1930s film star. Genevieve Angelson from Good Girls Revolt would be my first choice if I were casting. I also love Emma Bell from Different Flowers, Perry Mattfeld from In the Dark, or Kennedy McMann who plays Nancy Drew in the CW reboot.
Visit Constance Sayers's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 10, 2020

Debbie Herbert's "Scorched Grounds"

Debbie Herbert is an Amazon Charts, Washington Post, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author who’s always been fascinated by magic, romance, and Gothic stories.

Married and living in Alabama, she roots for the Crimson Tide football team.

Herbert's new novel is Scorched Grounds.

Here she dreamcasts the leads in an adaptation of the new novel:
Since my book is heavily influenced by Southern Gothic, I'd love to see Renée Zellweger in the lead role. She was brilliant in the movie Cold Mountain.

For the role of the ne'er do well father, Jack Nicholson would be perfect. He has an edgy charm that is mesmerizing.
Visit Debbie Herbert's website.

The Page 69 Test: Scorched Grounds.

Writers Read: Debbie Herbert.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Robert Dugoni's "A Cold Trail"

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, the Charles Jenkins Series and the David Sloane series. Since 2013, Dugoni has sold more than 5,000,000 books, and My Sister’s Grave and The Eighth Sister have been optioned for television series development. He is also the author of the best-selling standalone novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and The 7th Canon, a 2017 finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best novel. His expose, The Cyanide Canary, became a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction, and the Friends of Mystery, Spotted Owl Award for the best novel in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two time finalist for the International Thriller Writers award and the Mystery Writers of America Award for best novel. His David Sloane novels have twice been nominated for the Harper Lee Award for legal fiction.

Here Dugoni dreamcasts an adaptation of his new Tracy Crosswhite novel, A Cold Trail:
I had this discussion with friends some years ago. There are a number of different directions that could be taken with respect to actors.

For Tracy Crosswhite, Charlize Theron comes to mind because of her similar physicality, and she’s played tough as nails characters. People have mentioned others like Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett. Me, I’d be happy with any of that stellar group.

For Dan O’Leary people have suggested Bradley Cooper, Peter Stormare and William Hurt. He’d have to be someone in good shape, with a sharp whit and likeable.

Del and Faz, the two Italian stallions. This is a tough one. You’d need two big, Italian looking guys, but many of the better known actors from the mafia movies of the 1980s would now be too old. This would require some thought.

Kinsington Rowe – Someone like Josh Duhamel or Matt Damon, even Matthew McConaughey - Actors who physically could play a guy who played football in college and is now in his 40s.
Visit Robert Dugoni's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 3, 2020

David Sosnowski's "Buzz Kill"

David Sosnowski has worked as a gag writer, fireworks salesman, telephone pollster, university writing instructor, and environmental protection specialist, while living in cities as varied as Washington, DC; Detroit, Michigan; and Fairbanks, Alaska. He is the author of three previous critically acclaimed novels, Rapture, Vamped, and Happy Doomsday.

Here Sosnowski dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Buzz Kill:
If Buzz Kill is ever optioned for a movie, I feel sorry for the casting director. Assuming the script stays true to the source material (admittedly a pretty dubious assumption), the poor casting director is going to need to find three actors with some especially rubbery facial skills. That’s because three of the main characters – Roger, Pandora, and Gladys Lynch – all share an inherited condition identified as HEFS: Hyper-expressive Face Syndrome. Or, as one of the characters puts it, “Take Jim Carrey. … He’s like the HEFS poster child.”


Maybe the casting director would get one freebie in that hard-to-cast trio. Roger, Pandora’s father and Gladys’ son could be played by the actor invoked to describe the syndrome: Jim Carrey, setting the stage for a lot of self-referential, meta-jokes and (dare I say?) sight gags.

Okay, but that still leaves two female equivalents of Jim Carrey to be cast, one young (Pandora, around sixteen) and another old (Gladys, in her early nineties). I’m going to need to take some liberties here because I can’t think of any exact fits for either, but here goes: For Pandora, a much younger Kristin Wiig might do, while for Gladys, a much older Laurie Metcalf or Carol Burnett. I guess I could check to see if Wiig has a daughter or the other two surviving mothers. Or maybe technology might come to the rescue! There are, after all, the age-tailoring CGI techniques recently used in the movie The Irishman with the Robert De Niro of Taxi Driver costarring next to the De Niro of, well, the latter part of The Irishman.

Hmmm…. Maybe I don’t feel so sorry for that casting director after all.
Visit David Sosnowski's website.

Writers Read: David Sosnowski.

The Page 69 Test: Buzz Kill.

--Marshal Zeringue