Monday, August 31, 2020

Celia Rees's "Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook"

Celia Rees is an award-winning YA novelist who is one of Britain's foremost writers for teenagers. Her novel Witch Child has been published in 28 languages and is required reading in secondary schools in the UK. Rees’s books are published in the US by Candlewick and Scholastic. Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook is her first adult novel. A native of the West Midlands of England, she lives with her family in Leamington Spa.

Here Rees dreamcasts an adaptation of Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook:
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook is set in 1946. The story moves from an exhausted, bombed out London to the devastation of post war Germany. Main character, Edith Graham, is late thirties, an unmarried teacher who has spent the war looking after her mother and teaching school. Desperate for change and to make a contribution, she volunteers to go to Germany to help with re-construction. While in London, she stays with her friend, the exotic, exciting ex SOE agent Dori. At Dori’s house she meets and is immediately attracted to Latvian Jewish Brigade Officer, Harry Hirsch, who is also going to Germany.

Edith’s cousin, Leo, works for MI6 and recruits Edith to help search for fugitive Nazi War Criminals. One in particular, Dr Kurt von Stavenow, with whom Edith had a passionate affair before the war. Von Stavenow was involved in the Euthanasia Project: the elimination of the mentally unfit and precursor to the Holocaust. What Edith doesn’t know is that her cousin wants to use von Stavenow, not punish him. She is also tasked with finding his wife, Elisabeth von Stavenow.

Adeline Parnell, an American journalist and photographer, tells Edith about Operation Paperclip, run by the American Secret Service to find ‘useful’ Nazi scientists and give them new identities. She knows about this from Tom McHale, ex OSS, now CIA. Dori suspects that the British are doing the same thing and Edith agrees to send back information coded into recipes to escape the attention of censors.


Edith Graham – Olivia Colman

Very English, not conventionally beautiful but her expressive eyes command attention. She can play surface prim and proper but with the potential to surprise. She has tremendous emotional range from doubt and vulnerability to steely resolve and would be a very good Edith.

Dori – Rachel Weiss

Her dark, exotic good looks would make a great Dori and she bears quite a resemblance to Christine Granville, SOE spy and my inspiration for the character.

Adeline – Reese Witherspoon

American, tiny, blonde, very expressive face and looks good in anything - khakis or evening gown. She also resembles American war correspondent, Dickey Chapelle, one of my models for Adeline. My other choice would be Scarlett Johansson, who looks a bit like American photographer, Lee Miller.

Elisabeth von Stavenow – Cate Blanchett

Has to be blonde and very beautiful. I had Greta Garbo in mind when I was writing but, sadly, she’s not available. If Alexander Skarsgård plays Kurt von Stavenow (see below), then Nicole Kidman should be Elisabeth.

Tom McHale – Damian Lewis

Damian Lewis was on my noticeboard for Tom McHale. I was watching Homeland and re-watched Band of Brothers when I began writing and saw Damian Lewis as Tom McHale.

Harry Hirsch - Ben Wishaw

I always saw British actor, Ben Wishaw as Harry. I had him on my noticeboard from the start. Not just as inspiration, I actually used it to describe Harry. His dark, sensitive good looks were perfect.

Kurt von Stavenow - Michael Fassbinder

He has to be blond, Nordic, so handsome that Edith falls in love at first sight. Michael Fassbinder played excellent Nazi in Inglourious Basterds and bears an uncanny resemblance to real life extremely handsome Nazi war criminal, Joachim Peiper. If Michael is unavailable, then Alexander Skarsgård from Big Little Lies.

Directed by Katherine Bigelow

This isn’t a women’s story, but it is a story about women in a man’s world, so I’d like a woman director. She’s a superb film maker and can handle big, powerful issues with ease but she treats her characters with great understanding and compassion and never loses sight of the human cost of war.
Visit Celia Rees's website.

Q&A with Celia Rees.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 28, 2020

C.M. McGuire's "Ironspark"

When C.M. McGuire was a child, she drove her family crazy with her nonstop stories. Lucky for them, she eventually learned to write and gave their ears a rest. This love of stories led her to college where she pursued history (semi-nonfictional storytelling), anthropology (where stories come from) and theater (attention-seeking storytelling). When she isn't writing, she's painting, crocheting, gardening, baking, and teaching the next generation to love stories as much as she does.

Here McGuire dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Ironspark:
I think everyone, at some point or another, winds up dreamcasting their novel. It’s fun to look at actors and go “Hm, could you be/fight a creepy fairy?” My problem is that I keep finding new actors that I think, on some level, resemble the characters! So here are the main four characters and the key antagonist.

Bryn: For Bryn, I would definitely cast Arryn Zech or Hailee Steinfeld. Brigette Lundy-Paine was on that list, but since seeing them in the Bill and Ted trailer, I struggle to imagine them as this angsty Welsh girl.

Jasika: My dreamcast of Jasika changed during revisions. I would love to see Lovie Simone or Kiki Layne in this role!

Dom: I would think a younger, more gawky Martin Sensmeier. Like Martin Seinsmeier with Jared Padalecki height and Wyatt Oleff gawkiness.

Gwen: I’d go with Anna Murphy (the Irish actress), Samantha Isler, or Alona Tal.

Mab: Mab would probably be Amy Gumenick, Annie Wersching, or Danneel Ackles

As for directors, I’m a huge fan of everything Jon Favreau does. At the same time, I’d love to imagine it directed by Jonathan Entwistle or April Mullen. I think the best thing for a great show or movie would be to have a good balance between the drama, action, and comedy. After all, they’re still teenagers. Even at our darkest, we all still like to laugh, and I remember that being especially true as a teen.

Of course, the dream with something like this would be to see people you’ve never seen before bringing something new and awesome to the story!
Follow C.M. McGuire on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Ironspark.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Alex Landragin's "Crossings"

Alex Landragin is a writer whose fiction explores place, migration and literature's formal potential. He has also worked as a copywriter, travel writer, journalist, librarian, indigenous community worker, wine merchant and musician.

Landragin was born in France and migrated to Australia as a child. He has previously resided in Marseille, Alice Springs, Paris, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Washington DC. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Landragin's debut novel, Crossings, has three narratives:
The first story in Crossings is a never-before-seen ghost story by the poet Charles Baudelaire, penned for an illiterate girl. Next is a noir romance about an exiled man, modeled on Walter Benjamin, whose recurring nightmares are cured when he falls in love with a storyteller who draws him into a dangerous intrigue of rare manuscripts, police corruption, and literary societies. Finally, there are the fantastical memoirs of a woman-turned-monarch whose singular life has spanned seven generations.
Here Landragin dreamacasts an adaptation of the novel:
Most of the characters in Crossings appear more than once at different stages of their lives, so until they perfect the technology the movie - or better yet the series - probably can't be made.

But a dream cast would go something like this:

Alula - Auli'i Cravalho

Koahu - James Rolleston

Joubert - Willem Dafoe

Roblet - Sam Neill

Feuille - Philip Seymour Hoffman

Jeanne - Thandie Newton

Baudelaire - Steve Buscemi

Edmonde - anyone, as a mask is required

Mehevi - Temuera Morrison

Mathilde - Olivia Colman

Balthazar - Adrien Brody

Artopoulos - Stephen Fry

Madeleine - Maggie Cheung

Walter - Ed Norton

Chanel - Eva Green

Massu - Ben Whishaw
Visit Alex Landragin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Crossings.

Q&A with Alex Landragin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 24, 2020

Patty Dann's "The Wright Sister"

Patty Dann's novels include Mermaids, Starfish and Sweet & Crazy. The books have been translated into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Mermaids was made into a movie starring Cher, Winona Ryder, and Christina Ricci. Dann is also the author of The Butterfly Hours: Transforming Memories into Memoir, The Goldfish Went on Vacation: A Memoir of Loss, and The Baby Boat: A Memoir of Adoption. Dann's articles have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, O, The Oprah Magazine, and numerous other publications. She teaches writing workshops at the West Side YMCA in New York. Dann is married to journalist Michael Hill and has one son and two stepsons.

Her new book is The Wright Sister, an epistolary novel of historical fiction that imagines the life of Katharine Wright and her relationship with her famous brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Here Dann dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
I have imagined The Wright Sister as a movie.

I think Reese Witherspoon would be a great Katharine.

I also think Laura Linney would be wonderful.

Perhaps Jeff Daniels as her husband, Harry Haskell.

I definitely think a woman director is required.
Visit Patty Dann's website.

Q&A with Patty Dann.

The Page 69 Test: The Wright Sister.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 21, 2020

Darin Strauss's "The Queen of Tuesday"

Darin Strauss is the bestselling author of several books. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction writing and numerous other awards, Strauss has seen his work translated into fourteen languages and published in more than twenty countries.

Here he dreamacasts an adaptation of his new book, The Queen of Tuesday:
The Queen of Tuesday would be fun to cast: it's a woman in love, it has celebrity, media, glamor, and it’s set in a period we can't turn from. The glitzy 50s, New York and LA, dream-towns at their dreaming best.

It's half-fiction/half nonfiction. It tells the story of the famous Lucille Ball -- and she's named. It tells the story, too, of my unfamous grandparents -- and they're also named. And it tells the story of the affair between my grandfather and Lucille -- and that's invented. Usually, when I write novels, I have to work out, in my head, what the main characters look like. This time, actual faces of actual people stayed in my head.

So, who would play them now? Well....

Isidore Strauss: I think of him as handsome -- but not in a way you’d notice if you saw him in line at Whole Foods. I'd say there's a range from Chris O’Dowd to Tom Hiddleston. But I think the best bet would be James McAvoy. Like my grandfather., there's something in him that reads as wicked and serious at once. Someone whose charisma you might miss, but -- if you paid attention -- you'd realize he's the sort of man who licks the cream off everything. You may not notice him at first, but if you do, you might fall in love with him.

Lucille Ball: Who could play Lucille Ball when Lucille Ball herself inhabited the role so brilliantly? I think Emma Stone. She contained famous multitudes: Quirky and sexy, hilarious and loving and hard-edged, goofy and serious. Emma Stone has that. Maybe Amy Adams too? But I think Stone--among modern superstar redheads -- contains that rare has-it-allness.

Harriet Strauss: Grandma was a complex person. She had been a social creature—parties, music, laughter--and steeply intelligent. But she spent the last 30 or so years of her life as an alcoholic and--after my grandfather left -- as a hermit. I said in a recent interview that there was scorn in her, a kind of lostness. Olivia Colman could be good: That sadness behind the smile, the sense of discomfort she shows with herself, as if her bones are maybe the wrong size under her skin.

I'd be lucky to get any of these brilliant people, of course.
Follow Darin Strauss on Twitter.

Q&A with Darin Strauss.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Kylie Schachte's "You're Next"

Kylie Schachte is a graduate from Sarah Lawrence College and an active member of the Pitch Wars online community as both an alum & mentor. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, cat, and giant dog.

Here Schachte dreamcasts an adaptation of You're Next, her first novel:
You’re Next is about sixteen-year-old detective Flora Calhoun. When she was a freshman, Flora went out for a run one morning and found the beaten, mutilated body of a classmate. Ever since, she’s been working as a private investigator for the kids at school--solving every kind of case from stolen laptops to cheating significant others. She’s thrown herself into her work as a way to escape those demons of her past, so when her ex-girlfriend Ava McQueen is murdered, Flora knows she must solve the case. But her obsession spirals out of control, and soon Flora & everyone she loves are in danger of becoming next on the killer’s list.

This story is told from Flora’s perspective, so that actor really has to carry the whole movie. Flora is prickly, clever, obsessive, and paranoid. For a while, I couldn’t imagine anyone pulling it off--and then I watched Season 2 of Stranger Things. When I saw Sadie Sink as Max--the skater girl from California--I knew she was the one. She’s young, but she has a lot of gravitas, and I think she could effortlessly slip into Flora’s specific combination of vulnerability, fury, and frantic kinetic energy. I once told a friend, “Flora looks like Sadie Sink if she hadn’t slept in about two weeks, and was running purely on rage & Diet Dr. Pepper.”

Ava McQueen is Flora’s ex-girlfriend and the girl who is murdered at the start of the story. I could totally see Skai Jackson in that role. Ava is a really complicated character--she’s beautiful, popular, and well-known in school for her passionate activism. But as Flora digs deeper into her investigation, she uncovers a more complicated and mysterious version of the girl she thought she knew so well. Skai Jackson has the bubbly confidence to pull off the first part, and that would make for a really interesting, unsettling contrast once the darker secrets begin to emerge.

Cass, Flora’s best friend, has an effortless cool to her, and I think Madison Hu might fit that bill. Flora is a social outcast, but Cass didn’t have to be. She’s well-liked and a talented musician, but she stood by Flora when everyone else abandoned her because she truly believes in the work they do together. Plus I think Madison can sing and play guitar, which is perfect!

The character I struggled the most to cast is Valentine, an underground streetfighter with a complicated past. He’s way too old for the role now, but a young Timothée Chalamet would be the right direction here. Like many of the characters in the book, Valentine is all about duality and contrasts. He fights for a living, but he has a ... let’s just say nontraditional ... background, and his attitude swings from abrasive bravado to a more fragile tenderness. Chalamet has that feral, hungry look that suits Valentine’s character, but he also has a more vulnerable facet that would fit the quieter moments between Valentine and Flora. Valentine has been a fan favorite so far, so if You’re Next is adapted for film, they’ll have to discover someone really wonderful & brand new for that role.

And finally, Flora’s grandfather. He’s ex-CIA, so he needs to have that kind of seriousness to him. But at the same time, he loves to bake and he’s raising Flora and her sister as best as he can in their mother’s absence, so I’d like to see a wry or playful side to him too. It would be fun to see a real heavyweight in the role--maybe Jeremy Irons or Daniel Day Lewis with an American accent?
Visit Kylie Schachte's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 17, 2020

Jennifer Greer's "A Desperate Place"

Jennifer Greer began her writing career as a journalist. She graduated from California State University, Fresno with a degree in journalism and worked as a crime reporter for the Fresno Bee. Interested in foreign affairs, she traveled to Russia in the late 80s and lived in London studying art and literature. While abroad she traveled into the war regions of Croatia and wrote an award winning article on the women and children refugees. She lives on the Oregon Coast.

Here Greer dreamcasts an adaptation of A Desperate Place, her first novel:
When I wrote A Desperate Place, I pictured each scene in my head as if I were watching a movie. It’s all very visual for me. Not only do I want to see and feel the scene I want my readers to be with me one hundred percent. The experience is what it’s all about. Walking around in someone else’s life for a time. Gaining new understanding of the world and the people in it.

With my lead character, journalist Whit McKenna, I envisioned Julianne Moore playing her part. I think she has a strength of character that suits McKenna, who is also a red head. I could picture Ms. Moore in a war zone and also as a mother. There is a grace about her and yet a hint of playfulness also surfaces when she lets down that hard guard.

My never flinching Medical Examiner Detective, Katie Riggs transferred from the murder squad to the M.E.’s office after experiencing a life-threatening skin cancer. She has a quiet strength and a strong faith in God. A natural beauty in her character that you wouldn’t expect from someone who does autopsies. I picture Emily Ratajkowski as Katie Riggs. Her blond pixie is perfect!

I’d be thrilled to see Keanu Reeves play Jacob Panetta. He’s an ex-navy seal so he’s an adventurer, but also a deep thinker. A man’s man, but a ladies man too. Introspective and a bit brooding. Good looking, but approachable.

As a movie, I think A Desperate Place would be thrilling. It has murder, dark science, gritty secrets and hero’s to champion, so what’s not to love?
Visit Jennifer Greer's website.

Q&A with Jennifer Greer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 14, 2020

Iris Martin Cohen's "Last Call on Decatur Street"

Iris Martin Cohen grew up in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and studied Creative Nonfiction at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of The Little Clan (2018).

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Last Call on Decatur Street:
I always think about movies when writing my books, I’m a pretty visual writer so that kind of daydreaming usually follows. My book takes place in the early 2000’s but is totally informed by my time as a young adult in the nineties so I think as a movie it would be a total nostalgia trip.

Last Call on Decatur Street The Movie is definitely directed by Jim Jarmusch, Down by Law meets Mystery Train.

My book follows a sad burlesque dancer named Rosemary over one long night as she moves through the streets and dive bars of New Orleans. Along the way she encounters a whole series of characters – bartenders, strippers, rockabillys, teenage punks – people on the margins, who are wry and funny and kind of sad and who love to hold forth on barstools.

The soundtrack is all Tom Waits songs and rare fifties R&B.

Since I am casting the 90’s indie movie of my dreams, Rosemary, the burlesque dancer hiding her sorrows in booze and men and bad choices, is played by Winona Ryder, trying to be cool but breaking at the seams with desperate vulnerability.

Christopher, the angry, but romantic and lost young punk she befriends is clearly Basketball Diaries–era Leonardo DiCaprio.

Her more straight-living best friend, Gaby, is Gabrielle Union. Steve Buscemi obviously makes an appearance, John Doe, Rosie Perez, Marisa Tomei, Heather Graham, maybe some real bonkers cameo by Johnny Depp.

It is definitely a small budget movie, full of style and great music, a slice of southern life, darkly funny, atmospheric, that slowly leads its way to something unexpected and profound.
Visit Iris Martin Cohen's website.

Q&A with Iris Martin Cohen.

The Page 69 Test: Last Call on Decatur Street.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Kathleen Rooney's "Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey"

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches in the English Department at DePaul University, and her most recent books include the national best-seller, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (2017) and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte (2018). Her new novel, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, is based on a true story of the Great War.

Here Rooney dreamcasts an adaptation of Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey:
As its title suggests, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey has two protagonists. Both based on real-life heroes of World War I, the former, Cher Ami, is a messenger pigeon, and the latter, Major Whittlesey, is an army officer. Their lives intersect unexpectedly during a harrowing friendly fire incident in the Meuse-Argonne Forest when Cher Ami successfully delivers Whit’s message requesting that the barrage cease.

I could see the book being adapted either into a fully animated film—an adult cartoon mixing darkness and humor in the vein of the fabulous BoJack Horseman—or into a live action picture in which the pigeons and other animals were done using special effects. Either way, my ideal casting of the protagonists remains the same.

Back in November of 2019, the writer-actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge did the New York Times Book Review’s “By the Book” interview and in response to the question, “Which subjects do you wish more authors would write about?” she replied, “I wish more people would write from the point of view of tiny, witty animals.” Cher Ami is tiny and witty! I adored Fleabag more than almost any other TV show I’ve ever seen because of the way Waller-Bridge knows how to use comedy to make inherently sad things even sadder. Also, Cher Ami is a British bird and Waller-Bridge has precisely the right accent. Thus, Waller-Bridge would be my absolute dream actor to voice Cher Ami.

As for Charles Whittlesey, the role needs someone with a blend of dignity and awkwardness, as well as a dry and self-deprecating sense of humor; somebody charismatic but not too much of a matinee idol-type movie star. Thus, I’d be thrilled to see Jason Segel in the role.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen Rooney's website.

The Page 69 Test: Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 10, 2020

Julie McElwain's "Shadows in Time"

Julie McElwain is a national award-winning journalist. Born and raised in North Dakota, she graduated from North Dakota State University, and moved to Los Angeles, where she worked for a fashion trade newspaper.

Her first novel, A Murder In Time, was one of the top 10 picks by the National Librarian Association for its April 2016 book list. The novel was also a finalist for the 2016 Goodreads’ readers choice awards in the Sci-fi category, and made Bustle’s list of 9 Most Addictive Mystery series for 2017.

The series continues Kendra Donovan’s adventures in Regency England with A Twist in Time, Caught in Time, Betrayal in Time, and Shadows in Time.

Here McElwain dreamcasts an adaptation of Shadows in Time:
Except for the Duke of Aldridge, I can’t say that I had any actor in mind when I began writing the In Time novels. And with the Duke, in the back of my mind, I kept visualizing a younger version of the late Wilfrid Hyde-White, the phenomenal British actor who played Colonel Pickering in the 1964 musical My Fair Lady. While Mr. Hyde-White is no longer with us, I’d love someone with that same spirit, who can embody the Duke’s gentle kindness but at the same time is no pushover. Liam Cunningham comes to mind. I thought his character, Davos, in Game Of Thrones, had many of those qualities.

Another Game Of Thrones’ alumna, Kit Harington, would make a fabulous Alec. Or Aiden Turner, who played Ross Poldark in the TV series, Poldark. Both actors have the smoldering good looks and charisma that would brilliantly bring Alec to life on-screen. In the supporting roles of Finn Muldoon, I can see Chris O’Dowd as the Irish reporter. He might be a little too old to play Finn, but I love his sardonic sense of humor. I think Kit Harrington’s real-life wife, Rose Leslie, would make for a fantastic Rebecca. Her character, Gwen, in Downton Abbey certainly shares the same independent, feisty yet feminine qualities that Rebecca has. Sam Kelly is harder for me to cast, simply because in my mind he has a very distinctive look. But if I were to cast him, I’d go with either Robert Carlyle, who played Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon A Time, or John Hannah, who was in The Mummy.

I saved my fantasy casting of Kendra for the last because I think her shoes would be the most difficult to fill. I’d love someone to embody her brilliance, insecurities, determination, humor as well as be able to handle the physical action required. When I’ve been asked this question before, I’ve mentioned Sofia Pernas. And I continue to find myself gravitating toward her. While she might not be as well known as other actresses, I’ve been impressed with her work on CBS’ Blood & Treasure. Pernas plays a swashbuckling art thief, and in that role, displays many of the same characteristics that Kendra has.
Visit Julie McElwain's website.

My Book, The Movie: Betrayal in Time.

Q&A with Julie McElwain.

The Page 69 Test: Shadows in Time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 7, 2020

Fiona Davis's "The Lions of Fifth Avenue"

Fiona Davis began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater.

After getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Fiona's books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

She's a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City.

Here Davis dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Lions of Fifth Avenue:
The Lions of Fifth Avenue is about two women, eighty years apart, who are connected by the New York Public Library as well as a series of book thefts that roil the building, in 1913 and 1993. Before I started writing my first draft, I figured out which stars I thought the main characters resembled and posted images of them on my bulletin board. Having an actual face to look at is crucial for staying close to the characters, especially as they grow and change over revision after revision. Here are my picks for The Lions of Fifth Avenue casting:

Laura Lyons: Laura is smart and capable, with a classic beauty, so I would cast Emily Blunt as Laura, the wife of the New York Public Library’s superintendent, who lives in an apartment deep inside the building with her husband and two children when the book opens, in 1913. Emily Blunt has such an intelligence behind her eyes, and I also love her quick wit.

Jack Lyons: Jack is the super of the enormous New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, and I would go with Emily Blunt’s real-life husband, John Krasinski, for the role. They’re a lot of fun to watch together - they tease each other and joke nonstop - so an undeniable chemistry would be already in place. And I love that he’s an inherently likeable guy, as Jack in my story has a complicated reaction to his wife’s desire to explore a career, and I didn’t want him to come off as a jerk.

Sadie Donovan: Sadie is a quirky duck, a curator at the library in 1993 who loves vintage clothes and old books. She’s out of step with her time. For her, I’d love to see the British actress Olivia Colman take on the role. She always seems slightly uncomfortable in her skin, and portrays characters who have heart but not a lot of social grace, which fits Sadie to a tee.
Visit Fiona Davis's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Address.

My Book, The Movie: The Masterpiece.

My Book, The Movie: The Chelsea Girls.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Adele Parks's "Lies Lies Lies"

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North East England. She has written twenty novels in twenty years; all hit the bestseller lists. She's been an ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa Book Awards, and is a keen supporter of The National Literary Trust. Parks lived in Italy, Botswana and London and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, son and cat.

Here Parks dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest book to hit the US, Lies, Lies, Lies:
Daisy and Simon have been together for nearly twenty years. Many of those years were dominated by their yearning to start a family. We meet them when their longed-for daughter is six years old. She is the centre of their world; everything should be perfect now they are a happy family of three. However, Simon is pushing for a second child and Daisy is strangely resistant to even trying again. Thwarted, Simon is drinking even more than usual. One night at their friends’ party his drinking spirals out of control with brutal consequences. He doesn’t just embarrass himself - which Daisy and her friends Connie and Lucy are getting used to - he causes a devastating accident. Their little family can never be the same again. The fracture that Simon’s atrocious and destructive behaviour crates in their marriage looks set to be filled by Daisy’s old college friend Daryll. But is Daryll the hero she needs or an even bigger and more malevolent threat?

This novel investigates a number of different types of addiction - to alcohol, to people, to the concept of family. It’s also a book about deception and lies. No one is telling the truth. Not to each other or themselves.

Ok, if ever the world delivered all my Christmases at once, and Lies Lies Lies was made into a film, this would be my dream cast.

I’d love to see Emily Blunt play Daisy. Her range is incredible. She can nail fun or fearless, but she is also absolutely knockout when playing dramatic or vulnerable roles, like Girl on a Train or as strong, spirited, resourceful mother in A Quiet Place. Daisy is vulnerable and victimised but has incredible inner strength and resilience. My only caveat is that Blunt is actually far too beautiful to play Daisy, so she’d have to ugly-up a bit in make up!

I’d have Jake Gyllenhaal play alcoholic Simon; the father that puts his family in jeopardy. Whether or not Simon can redeem himself is a huge part of the forward momentum of the novel. Gyllenhaal is utterly brilliant at dark, complex and conflicted characters. Addiction is so beautiful and terrible, powerful and dangerous. He’d be perfect.

I’d like to see Tom Hiddleston play charming, charismatic Daryll who we all want to trust and be seduced by, but should we? He displayed a cold undercurrent to his good guy persona in The Night Manager and on stage in Betrayal.

Besides looking at the power of addiction and the danger of secrets, I also investigate the redemptive force of friendship. I’d cast Stephan James from If Beale Street Could Talk and Race as Leon. Leon is incredibly exposed, but is tough and formidable. Rachal McAdams is super-smiley and I think she’d make a great Connie. The friend who is the peacemaker and refuses to choose sides. I’d cast Lena Headey as Lucy, the stunning but apparently unrelentingly selfish friend. Headey played the steely Cersei in Game of Thrones and Daisy needs to borrow a backbone.
Visit Adele Parks's website.

My Book, The Movie: I Invited Her In.

Q&A with Adele Parks.

The Page 69 Test: Lies, Lies, Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 3, 2020

Khurrum Rahman's "East of Hounslow"

Khurrum Rahman is a west London boy who now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two sons.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of East of Hounslow, his first novel and the first in the Jay Qasim series:
East of Hounslow centres around young British Muslim, Jay Qasim. A small-time dope dealer living in West London, who lives at home with his Mum and has just bought his pride and joy – a black BMW. Life seems sweet. What Jay doesn’t realise is that he is being carefully watched by MI5, who feel that he is just the man to infiltrate a terrorist cell, thousands of miles East of Hounslow.

As an author, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but my first love is the movies. If I go longer than a couple of weeks without going to the cinema, I start to get withdrawal symptoms. I simply adore the experience of watching a film over a tub of popcorn. It’s the ultimate escape.

I wrote East of Hounslow just like I would write a movie. I wanted the story to pop and come alive off the page where I could visualise Jay staring down at me from the screen and see the action running through my mind. The tone is based around some of my favourite films, combining the dialogue of Fargo and Reservoir Dogs, with the hard-hitting drama of Boyz ‘n the Hood and American History X.

I’ve always struggled to visualise an actor that could portray the role of Jay, I think he would have the attitude of Beverly Hill Cops’ Eddie Murphy, mixed in with a softness of Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel, and the screen presence of True Romance’s Christian Slater. I don’t think that there is any actor, right now, who has that Jay look, though I do like the idea of an up and coming actor playing the role.

Direction, I would love to see East of Hounslow in the hands of the Coen Brothers to give it that distinctive, slightly off-beat style that they are so great at achieving. So, Ethan, Joel, if you’re reading this, give me a shout.
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--Marshal Zeringue