Thursday, April 29, 2021

Linda L. Richards's "Endings"

Linda L. Richards is a journalist, photographer and the author of numerous books, including three series of novels featuring strong female protagonists. She is the former publisher of Self-Counsel Press and the founder and publisher of January Magazine.

Here Richards dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Endings:
I had this moment watching the 2021 Oscars when I saw Halle Berry presenting and I felt a wave of recognition. It was like I could see this cool, elegant woman, again reinvented, embodying the nameless anti-heroine at the heart of my new book, Endings. And why? In part it’s because that character is a cipher. An enigma. She is without weight or substance on her own. Yet she dominates the story remarkably. She is everything. And nothing. Berry delivered that quality at the Oscars this year. That cool demeanor. That jaunty new hair cut. You couldn’t help what was going on behind those wonderful eyes.

So okay Berry. Among other things in her career, she was once a Bond girl (Giacinta "Jinx” Johnson in Die Another Day - 2002). So if we’re thinking former Bond girls (and why not?) what about the always wonderful Eva Green from 2006’s Casino Royale? Green played a memorable Vesper Lynd, but are you sensing a theme here? Both of those mentioned are cool-as-a-cucumber actresses now of a certain age. And that certain age thing is salient. Our narrator in Endings is bereft. Adrift. And physically she is only ever identified as being of “middle years” and other words that imply that. We don’t know anything about her physically. The only hint we have that she may be attractive is the effect she has on some of the men she encounters, but we know that, in real life, that quality can be attributed to many things beyond the trim of an ankle.

It’s probably worth mentioning that, when I wrote Endings, I did not have a physical type in mind. A cipher. An enigma. Maybe even I could not see her entirely clearly: just the way she does not want to be seen. I feel that, in the book at any rate, we see her in ways that are beyond the physical. But the movie, if there were to be one? Well, that would be a different thing.
Visit Linda L. Richards's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Renée Rosen's "The Social Graces"

Renée Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Park Avenue Summer, Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her new novel, The Social Graces, is a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.

Here Rosen dreamcasts an adaptation of The Social Graces:
The Social Graces tells the real-life story of two powerful women, Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt, who go to war over who will control New York society during the Gilded Age. And why are they both obsessed with something as seemingly frivolous as being the head of society? Because back in the Nineteenth Century, that was all women had. Society was the only arena where they could hope to exercise any influence over her existence. So, the stakes were high, and the antics were outrageous. Trust me when I say, fact is stranger than fiction.

Caroline Astor, or The Mrs. Astor, as she preferred to be called, was the reigning queen of New York society for three decades. She was both haughty and funny. I think Kathy Bates would capture her perfectly.

Her rival was Alva Vanderbilt. She was younger, far less conventional and a real firecracker. I think Julia Garner, the actress who portrays Ruth Langmore on Ozark would be a perfect choice.

I can see the two of them battling over who could throw the most elaborate ball or dinner party, who could build the bigger mansion, who could spend more on their ball gowns and jewels.
Visit Renée Rosen's website, blog, and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Dollface.

My Book, The Movie: What the Lady Wants.

My Book, The Movie: Windy City Bluess.

The Page 69 Test: The Social Graces.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 16, 2021

Trish Doller's "Float Plan"

Trish Doller is the author of novels for teens and adults about love, life, and finding your place in the world. A former journalist and radio personality, Doller has written several YA novels, including the critically acclaimed Something Like Normal, as well as Float Plan, her adult women's fiction debut. When she's not writing, she loves sailing, traveling, and avoiding housework. Doller lives in southwest Florida with an opinionated herding dog and an ex-pirate.

Here Doller dreamcasts an adaptation of Float Plan:
Float Plan is the story of Anna, a young woman grieving the loss of her fiancé, Ben. She takes their sailboat--one they were meant to sail together--and sets out alone for the Caribbean. Anna quickly learns she can't make the trip by herself, so she enlists the help of a former competitive sailor, Keane, who is struggling with a loss of his own.

Anna: If Float Plan, the movie, were cast today, I'd be crossing my fingers that Florence Pugh would play the role. Anna has a softness to her appearance that belies an inner strength, and I think that Florence has the same look.

Keane: So far I have been unable to find a handsome Irish actor who is also an below-the-knee amputee, but not for lack of searching. Until that day I find him, Mark Rowley, an able actor who plays the quippy Irish sidekick in The Last Kingdom, would make the perfect Keane.

Ben: In a film version of Float Plan, I'd love to see a few more flashbacks so that Anna's fiancé would get a bit more screen time. Since the beginning, Dylan O'Brien has always been Ben.

Director: I have very little knowledge of directors, but a woman would be great, especially a woman of color.
Visit Trish Doller's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Trish Doller & Cobi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jamie Beck's "For All She Knows"

Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than three million copies. She is a two-time Booksellers’ Best Award finalist, a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

Here Beck dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, For All She Knows:
It’s funny to talk about this because For All She Knows was just featured in the “Rights Available” section of The Hollywood Reporter! It describes the story as thus: “Like Little Fires Everywhere and Big Little Lies, this novel tackles the complicated dynamic between mothers. The story follows Mimi and Grace, whose bond is tested after a party at Mimi’s house has a tragic outcome for Grace’s teenage son.” At its core, however, this is the story of friendship and family. The setup precipitating the injury is such that everyone has had some hand in it, yet no one person is fully to blame. Of course, as you might expect, everyone points the finger at someone nonetheless. Ultimately, the themes in this story are about fate, forgiveness, and redemption.

Because the visceral emotion level remains high throughout the story, it would be critical that the actors be capable of pulling off nuanced performances to keep it from veering toward melodrama. If they made my book into a film, I know exactly who I’d love to cast in the two leading roles.

Mimi is a warm yet spirited single mother and hairdresser who was orphaned at twelve, and whose son is a popular high school football star. Despite her hard-knock life, she’s basically a sunny person, which is why she doesn’t understand why so many women in town keep her at a distance. The fact that Grace welcomed her into a friendship is one reason Mimi is particularly devastated by what happens at her home. For this character, I think Reese Witherspoon would be the perfect fit. Throughout the writing of this story, I could hear her slightly Southern twang, and picture her bright smile as well as her more doleful glances. Reese has proven herself a star in both comedic and dramatic roles, as well as being able to hit all the notes of a layered character.

In contrast, Grace is rather tightly laced. She, too, has a tragic backstory that makes her a particularly wary and worried mother whose number one goal is keeping her kids safe. And yet, despite her need to control her environment, she is a caring, kind, and compassionate woman…until her eldest is in the hospital. That sends her around the bend and into vengeful territory. This character is tricky to pull off without turning off a reader or viewer, but I think an actor like Sandra Bullock would do the job perfectly.

Now that we’ve got my dream cast of Reese and Sandra in the leading roles, I picture Paul Rudd as Grace’s husband, Sam, and possibly someone like Jencarlos Canela as Rodri, Mimi’s love interest. Grace’s son, Carter, might be played by Percy Hynes White, and Mimi’s son, Rowan, could be played by Tanner Buchanan.

Now, who can we get to produce this thing? *winks*
Visit Jamie Beck's website.

Q&A with Jamie Beck.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 12, 2021

Louise Guy's "A Winning Betrayal"

Louise Guy has enjoyed working in marketing, recruitment and film production, all which have helped steer her towards her current, and most loved, role – writer.

Her passion for writing women's fiction is a result of her love of reading, writing and exploring women's emotions and relationships. Women succeeding through hard work, overcoming adversity or just by owning their choices and decisions is something to celebrate, and Guy loves the challenge of incorporating their strengths in these situations into fiction.

Originally from Melbourne, a trip around Australia led Guy and her husband to Queensland's stunning Sunshine Coast where they now live with their two sons, gorgeous fluff ball of a cat and an abundance of visiting wildlife - the kangaroos and wallabies the most welcome, the snakes the least.

Here Guy dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, A Winning Betrayal:
While I love the idea of A Winning Betrayal being turned into a TV series or movie, I never picture actors in my characters' roles when writing a story. The physical details I provide are minimal as I know when I read myself, I will form an image of a character based on their personality and actions rather than how the author might describe them. There’s nothing worse than getting partway through a book where you’ve formed a picture of a character and then have the author remind you that they look like George Clooney (for example) when your vision is entirely different. After finishing a book, it is, however, a lot easier to dream cast.

While my stories are set in Australia, I immediately relocate them to America whenever I think of dream casting my books. The budgets are so much bigger, as is the audience. American films are accepted worldwide, whereas Australian films are often only successful within Australia.

Dream casting A Winning Betrayal would require a cast of contrasting characters.

Our female leads are opposites—quiet, introverted Frankie stars alongside opinionated, extroverted Shauna. Reese Witherspoon would make a great Shauna, and Keira Knightley (minus her British accent!) would be perfectly suited as Frankie. In the story, the two women are as opposite in appearance as they are in personality and lifestyle.

Jesse Plemons would make an excellent Dash, Frankie’s horrific brother-in-law, while Zac Efron would be more suited to her gorgeous yet naive husband, Tom.

I’d love to see Glenn Close star as Shauna’s erratic and troubled mother. And even though I’m relocating the movie to the US, a bit of Aussie flavour in the form of Liam Hemsworth to play the role of Josh, Shauna’s love interest would be the perfect way to top off the lead roles!
Visit Louise Guy's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Life Worth Living.

Q&A with Louise Guy (November 2020).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Elissa Grossell Dickey's "The Speed of Light"

Elissa Grossell Dickey is a mother, writer, and multiple sclerosis warrior who believes in the power of strong coffee and captivating stories.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her debut novel, The Speed of Light:
The Speed of Light is book club fiction following a tumultuous year in the life of a woman grappling with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, a new love, and a terrifying workplace incident. Now, call me biased, but I think The Speed of Light would make a fantastic movie, with its mix of excitement, emotion, and romance. If I’m ever lucky enough for that to happen, here’s who I imagine playing the lead roles:

Simone Archer: Simone would be played by Shailene Woodley. To be honest, I’ve always had trouble imagining who would play my main character. But when I posed the question to family and friends, multiple people suggested Shailene, who of course is famous for the Divergent films and Big Little Lies. Now, I can’t think of anyone more perfect to play a strong, caring, resilient character like Simone!

Connor Davies: Simone’s love interest would be played by Chris Evans. Yes, Chris, as in Marvel’s Captain America, is who I imagine as Connor. Honestly, who better to play the kind, funny, handsome hero who is always there for Simone than Cap himself?

Nikki Donovan: Simone’s best friend would be played by another Marvel star, Brie Larson. I swear I’m not going for a superhero theme here, and yet I think the Captain Marvel actress would be perfect as the smart, sassy, and loyal best friend who helps Simone through the hardest time of her life.

Director: In terms of a dream director, I would love to see actress Selma Blair take on this project. Like Simone (and like me), Selma lives with MS, so she would be perfect to direct this film with authenticity and compassion. I would also love to see her in the role of Danielle, the kind woman from the support group who offers Simone wise advice about living with MS.

Again, I think The Speed of Light would make an amazing film, be it in theaters, on Lifetime, or as a Netflix original. Now that I’ve spoken it into the universe, here’s hoping this dream will someday come true!
Visit Elissa Grossell Dickey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Adele Parks's "Just My Luck"

Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her. Just My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages.

Here Parks dreamcasts an adaptation of Just My Luck:
Just My Luck is the story of a group of friends who have been extremely close since they met fifteen years ago, around the time they all had their first babies. The families have grown up together and their lives have become intrinsically linked: the kids go to the same schools, they go on holidays together, they meet socially all the time. One of their little rituals is that they do the lottery every week, as a syndicate. Until one evening, they quarrel. Two of the three couples leave the syndicate but the very next week the numbers come up and Lexi and Jake Greenwood have the winning ticket worth 18 million pounds/23 million dollars! This leads to all sorts of betrayals, jealousy and deception as the other couples go to extreme lengths to try to get a share of the money. And when I say extreme, think of pretty much every illegal activity you can and they try it…theft, bribery, kidnapping, extortion… This is a novel that looks at what money can, can’t, should and certainly should not buy!

It’s a novel where you are unsure who to trust and no one is exactly what they seem. I think actors would enjoy the challenge and range. Isla Fisher would be my absolute dream for the role of Lexi Greenwood. The earnest mom who works in the charity sector and firmly believes her friends and family are everything. Until, that is, she wins the lottery. Then she sees her family turn into avaricious, materialistic people, the very sort of person she abhors. Lexi has a heart of gold but is no pushover, I think Isla Fisher would nail the nuance. I’d cast Dominic Cooper as her husband, Jake Greenwood. Dominic Cooper has played the loveable rogue before and brilliantly projects an aloofness and unknowability whilst playing Jack-the-lad parts. That’s very Jake.

I’d cast Carmen Ejogo as Carla Pearson, the impossibly glamourous mother of three. In the novel Carla is drop dead gorgeous, a showstopper but also has a steely ambition that means she is prepared to turn a blind eye to her husband’s faults. Again, a level of complexity that would offer any actor a great opportunity to have fun. At the risk of there being too many Dominics on set, I’d cast Dominic West as Patrick Pearson. He could play the charmer who you really, really want to trust but should you? I’d like to see Rosamund Pike play the English Rose, Jennifer Heathcote. Jennifer is the devoted mother to one son, she is ‘old school English’ and monied. I think Rosamund would be marvellous in the role. She’s so elegant and refined, but again behind that cool, calm exterior there’s a firecracker! Fred Heathcote (Jennifer’s husband in the novel) would be played by Matthew Macfadyen. I think since he played Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, he is everyone’s quintessential English Gentleman. I also think it would be interesting to see him unravel.

You know, it’s really tricky to talk about casting without giving away spoilers! I am delighted to say that Just My Luck is currently optioned and so you never know, one day this wish list cast list might turn into something more than a dream!
Visit Adele Parks's website.

My Book, The Movie: I Invited Her In.

Q&A with Adele Parks.

My Book, The Movie: Lies, Lies, Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Clay McLeod Chapman's "Whisper Down the Lane"

Clay McLeod Chapman writes novels, comic books, and children’s books, as well as for film and TV. He is the author of the horror novels The Remaking and Whisper Down the Lane.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of Whisper Down the Lane:
In Whisper Down the Lane, we spend a considerable amount of time within the minds of two characters who -- nonspoiler alert -- turn out to be the same person, just at different points in his life. There's "Sean" at age five and "Richard" in his thirties. I feel like this is sort of an open secret that the book isn't really trying to hide, so I feel comfortable enough talking about it here. For the sake of your question, though, I'm going to focus on adult Richard. To have the same character cleaved from his own past, his childhood buried under a considerable amount of trauma... that could be a powerhouse performance for any actor!

There are certain actors who possess a particular haunted nature that I find myself extremely enamoured by. Just one look at Cillian Murphy or Peter Sarsgaard and you can almost sense the darkness lingering beneath their cheeks, buried behind their eyes. Jake Gyllenhaal would bring a particular charm to the role, where you can still see the little lost boy lingering within the adult. If Nightcrawler is any indication, there's a certain darkness to him that most wouldn't suspect.

Sam Rockwell is another contender. His ragged magnetism is always on display with his characters, equal parts sly and sliced. And hell, if I'm shooting for the moon here... why not cast Ryan Gosling? I wouldn't argue!
Visit Clay McLeod Chapman's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Remaking.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 2, 2021

Sarah Langan's "Good Neighbors"

Sarah Langan grew up on Long Island, in a town called Garden City, but not on a crescent bordering a park. She got her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and also received her Master’s in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology from New York University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters.

She’s received three Bram-Stoker awards, and her work has often been included in best-of-the year lists and anthologies. She’s a founding board member of the Shirley Jackson Awards, and works in both film and prose.

Here Langan shares some thoughts about above-the-line talent that might do a great job adapting her new novel Good Neighbors for the big screen:
My book's about the fish out of water Wilde family, who scrimp and save for a piece of the American dream-- a house in the suburbs of Long Island. But they're not welcome. They're rough around the edges and represent the declining status of suburbia. It's the near future and times are a little rougher, finances tighter, global warming worse, and there's a dangerous sinkhole in the middle of the park. These problems are too big to overcome, and the Wildes make the perfect scapegoats. The people of Maple Street have been looking for someone to blame for a long time. When Maple Street's favorite daughter Shelly falls down the sinkhole, the whole block decides that she must have been running from someone when she fell. They direct their accusations against the Wilde family, dad Arlo in particular, whom they decide must have been hurting her. The police get involved, child services takes Arlo away, and pretty soon, and ugly mob forms. The Wilde family isn't just in danger of losing their dream, but their lives.

Casting is currently underway for Good Neighbors, so in deference to that, I'm not going to mention anyone who is actually attached, or whom we may eventually approach. I'm not allowed until it's officially announced. So, that's why, if anybody reads this, and is actually considering being a part of Good Neighbors, or is already attached, that your name is not mentioned here.

I don't think about actors, or directors, or translating my work to film as I'm writing. But it's fun to think about afterward. Any translation to film inherently changes the material, and I think it's important to go with that-- to trust and enjoy what others bring to your work.


You and Dead to Me have extraordinarily tricky tones, and their director, Silver Tree, manages to pull them off, so I'd love to see her take on Good Neighbors, which is both funny and dark, horrific and and uplifting, real and surreal.

For similar reasons, I'd love to see David Lynch's take, and Karyn Kusama's (The Invitation).

I've been told my whole career that my work reads like a David Lynch film, and I'm finally starting to see it.

Writers --

I'd love to see what Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott, or Patricia Highsmith had to bring to an adaptation.


Toni Colette, Charlize Theron, Lisa Kudrow, Thandie Newton, Rosie Perez, and Jamie Lee Curtis would all make amazing Rhea Schroeders. They'd have to be mean, smart, a little crazy, and totally sympathetic in the face of extremely unsympathetic behavior. It's not an easy feat.

Evan Rachel Wood, Amanda Seyfried, Kerry Washington, and Rooney Mara would all make great Gertie Wildes-- they need to be vulnerable and tender-- wounded-- but have a hidden strength.

Gary Oldman, Tom Hulce, Tim Meadows, Dennis Haysbert would make a great Fritz Schroeder, I think. They have to be cold, but devoted, and conflict-averse. I feel like all these guys could bring something to that.

Arlo Wilde-- I'm a Tom Hardy fan, so let's start there. Also, Donald Glover, Adam Driver, Rupert Grint, and Freddie Prinze Jr. They have to be very rough around the edges, sexy, bad-tempered and suspicious-seeming, but also incredibly decent people.

I love Anna Paquin as nosy Mrs. Ottomanelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Fred Atlas, and Robert Pattinson as Peter Benchley.

The kids-- I dunno! They're 13! I don't know anything about 13-year-old actors!
Visit Sarah Langan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Keeper.

My Book, The Movie: The Missing.

The Page 69 Test: Good Neighbors.

--Marshal Zeringue