Friday, November 11, 2022

D. M. Rowell's "Never Name the Dead"

Like her protagonist Mud, D.M. Rowell (Koyh Mi O Boy Dah) comes from a long line of Kiowa Storytellers. After a thirty-two-year career spinning stories for Silicon Valley startups and corporations with a few escapes creating award-winning independent documentaries, Rowell started a new chapter writing mysteries that share information about her Plains Indian tribe, the Kiowas.

Here the author shares some insights on an adaptation of her new novel, Never Name the Dead:
As I wrote Never Name the Dead, I did think of the book becoming a movie one day. But since I never imagined my book would be published, I thought it would be me producing the feature film and submitting it to film festivals. I’ve produced independent documentaries in the past, and had always wanted to create a feature film. My book seemed the perfect vehicle.

My novel is a brisk mystery, all taking place in less than twenty-four hours. I like the fast pace of the book and would want that energy in the movie.The adventure starts with Silicon Valley professional Mae Sawpole receiving a call for help from her traditional Kiowa grandfather. The call sends Mae on an unexpected spiritual quest as she returns to her childhood home in the former Kiowa, Comanche, Apache Reservation area of Oklahoma. There she’s called Mud, a childhood nickname that stuck. Upon Mud’s arrival, she finds her grandfather missing, a precious Kiowa artifact stolen, illegal fracking and a body. Mud faces angry tribal members, old enemies, wildcat frackers and a charging buffalo in her hunt for a murderer.

While I envisioned Never Name the Dead as a movie, I never put a face or name to the ideal actors to play the different characters. I always saw Mud as a Kiowa or other Native actor, not the faces I typically saw on screen. If I produced the movie, I planned to reach out to locals in the Oklahoma area to find the right Mud and Denny.

While I didn’t have a specific actor in mind, I knew the spirit I wanted for Mud. The type of actress I want to see play Mud would be similar to Zendaya’s portrayal of MJ in the Spiderman movies. MJ is an independent and strong multiracial woman. She projects quiet strength and confidence. These are characteristics I want to come across in the portrayal of Mud, while also showing the character as a bit of a klutz that can easily laugh at herself. Mud can do amazing things one moment and fall over her tangled feet the next.
Visit D. M. Rowell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Emily J. Edwards's "Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man"

Emily Edwards earned her degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and took the long road to becoming an author, working for over a decade as a wine and spirits journalist, radio producer, and creator of the podcast, F*ckbois of Literature. She currently resides in Connecticut with her husband, and several quadrupeds.

Here Edwards dreamcasts her new novel, Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man:
The best part about writing a detective story during the 1950s is getting to immerse your main characters into one of the most interesting and tumultuous times of American media. Daydreaming about my characters on the silver screen was as natural as having those same characters talk about Humphrey Bogart taking a turn in The Maltese Falcon.

Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man is a mid-century, Private Investigator murder mystery. Viviana is the Girl Friday to New York City’s best P.I., Tommy Fortuna. One day, they gain a new client, the industrialist Tallmadge Blackstone, who has asked Tommy to trail his young daughter, Tallulah. The next day, a body shows up in Tommy’s office, and Tommy is M.I.A. Viviana takes on the cases in an effort to keep the police from pinning the murder on her boss.

When I was writing, it was most important for me to imagine not who was going to play my leading lady, Viviana Valentine, but who was going to play the supporting cast. While Viv was very hard to #DreamCast for a film version (but you’ll see who I chose eventually!), the supporting characters were not.

First and foremost, I knew that the character of Tommy Fortuna, Viv’s boss, best friend, and private investigator, had to have that effortless cool and a rugged masculinity, but more than anything, he believes in Viviana and her capabilities. I needed someone who had his own identity and sure looked good in a suit, but would watch Viviana work with a smile on his face and awe in my heart– but also be able to deliver a one-liner without flinching. In my mind, Dustin Milligan, better known as Ted from Schitt's Creek, made an excellent Tommy Fortuna.

Secondly, I had to cast one of Tommy’s clients, a mean sonofab**** who has oodles of money and looked like he was up to no good. His name is Tallmadge Blackstone and at one point in the novel, he looks very large and menacing. Now, most actors are not that large (I lived in LA for 15 years and at 5’10”, I towered over most celebrities I saw on the street!), but without a doubt the perfect casting is Joe Manganiello, best known from True Blood. That’s a man who is built like a brick wall and could command a room!

Tallmadge Blackstone’s daughter, Tallulah, plays an essential role in the story, and there’s no one who could be her better than Barbie Ferreira from Euphoria. Tally is a fresh 18 years old, spoiled rotten, but knows exactly how people view her and what people want from her. She’s a curvaceous beauty who is frequently trapped by gossip magazine photographers and would be eaten alive by the public if she wasn’t such a force of nature by inclination.

And now, we get to the main character, Viviana Valentine. Viv is defined by her sense of humor, her ability to let things roll off her like water on a duck’s back. She gets internally frustrated but always has a comeback ready on her lips. She’s not a glamorous girl, like Tallulah, but charms the socks off people without thinking twice. I love her so much, and I cannot imagine anyone playing her but: Kaitlyn Dever, the breakout comedian from Booksmart.

Collectively, I feel like this casting best captures the essence of Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man. The book is a comedy in its head and detective story in its heart. I hope this helps readers better visualize the action of the novel!
Visit Emily J. Edwards's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Debra Bokur's "The Lava Witch"

Debra Bokur is the author of The Dark Paradise Mysteries series from Kensington. She’s traveled the world as a writer, journalist and staff editor for various national media outlets, with more than 2,000 print pieces carrying her byline to date. Her work has garnered multiple awards, including a 2015 Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism. For more than a decade, she served as the poetry editor at a national literary journal, and her poetry and short fiction have been widely published. Among her favorite writing credits are a series of original literary essays commissioned by the Celestial Seasonings tea company that appeared on the artfully illustrated boxes of ten separate tea flavors. She continues to travel in her capacity as the Global Researcher and Writer for the Association for Safe International Road Travel, and as a monthly columnist for Global Traveler magazine.

Here Bokur dreamcasts an adaptation of The Lava Witch, the third Dark Paradise mystery:
The Lava Witch has a slightly larger cast of characters than the first two books in the Dark Paradise Mystery series, and it wasn’t easy to narrow down some of my imaginary casting choices.

That said, I’d love to see the character of Charlie Holmes played by young actor Jace Norman, who appeared in Nickelodeon’s popular show Henry Danger; or possibly by Tanner Buchanan, who showed range and potential in the political thriller Designated Survivor.

For Maya Holmes, actress Isabella Gomez (of the Netflix series One Day at a Time) would be my choice. And Don Cheadle is hands-down my pick for Dr. Davos O’Connor. Cheadle has performed in more films than there’s room here to list, and I’ve admired every one of his performances. And, since this venue allows my dreamcasting to be as fabulous as I’d like, I’m going to pretend that he’s read The Lava Witch and we’ve already had lunch so he could tell me in person his take on the role.

For scientist Byron Coolidge, actor Jason Ralph—who starred in the series The Magicians and who also had a recurring role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—would be excellent. Robert Sheehan (Umbrella Academy, Misfits) is a natural for the part of Vance Sousa, while either actress Liana Liberato or Maisie Williams would no doubt do a great job as Gloria Marsh.

Jody Phillips could be played by Jaime Ray Newman (Veronica Mars, Bones, Eureka, The Time Traveler’s Wife) or by Lauren Lapkus (Big Bang Theory, Orange Is the New Black). I’d round out my casting with Maggie Q (The Divergent Series) as Officer Jennifer Kama, and either Charlie Plummer or Lucas Hedges as Trey Carter.
Visit Debra Bokur's website.

Q&A with Debra Bokur.

My Book, The Movie: The Fire Thief.

My Book, The Movie: The Bone Field.

--Marshal Zeringue