Thursday, November 18, 2010


By Therese Fowler

Though I write novels and have an enduring, unwavering love for books, I sometimes step out on the relationship and go see a film. It doesn’t feel like cheating. After all, the love I’m indulging in either case is Story.

In the same way that I lose myself inside a good book’s story, a good movie takes me someplace new and different. Sometimes it’s an escape. Other times it’s an experience. I especially love a book or film that can bring me to tears—of mirth or of sorrow, I have no preference. All I want is to be in some way significantly moved.

Film does something that a book can’t: it presents action, setting, and dialogue simultaneously—which is why you can experience in only a couple of hours a story that would take days to read. This fascinates me. In another life I might have been a filmmaker.

But I’m a novelist, a storysmith whose medium is words. The next best thing for me, then, would be to see one of my books made into a really good film.

Authors gets used to spending a great deal of time in limbo. We wait for inspiration, for epiphanies, for our agent and/or editor to read our drafts; we wait to see cover design, we wait for our paychecks, we wait to see copyedits and page proofs and bound galleys and the finished book in stores. We wait to see if readers respond well. So when a film agent decides to take on one of our books with hopes of finding it a Hollywood home, we’re already good at the limbo that is surely ahead here, too.

This is where I’m living right now—in Hollywood limbo. My latest novel, Exposure, which will be published in early May, captivated a film agent at Paradigm. This itself is a thrill; Paradigm reps some of my favorite talent (to use the industry term); I love that I now have something in common with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The agent put the manuscript into the hands of some producers, some of whom then became captivated too, I’m told. Not being of Hollywood, I wasn’t instantly familiar with the names. Google helped me out, and very quickly afterward I swooned. (Truly. I am not prone to hyperbole, my friends.) I wish I could tell you more, but I’m not at liberty to share names right now. I have to say, though, that regardless of the outcome, this is a lifetime highlight for me.

Right now, certain directors are considering the project. Certain writers have been approached, and certain studios, and certain actors. Certain meetings are taking place. Of course, the whole endeavor is uncertain. Even if the film rights get optioned and the ideal people sign on, there are many more hurdles that have to be overcome before the movie gets made. Some of the other gals here can tell you that what happens most often in these scenarios is…nothing.

So, I wait, and I hope, and I admire the chicken eggs without counting them. I write—my April 1st deadline won’t wait, after all. I go see movies, and I buy my favorites and watch them over again at home. Two DVDs I own that are among my favorite books-to-film are Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha. While I wait, tell me, what are some of your favorites?


Therese Fowler is the author of Souvenir and Reunion. She has worked in the U.S. Civil Service, managed a clothing store, lived in the Philippines, had children, sold real estate, earned a B.A. in sociology, sold used cars, returned to school for her MFA in creative writing, and taught college undergrads about literature and fiction-writing -- roughly in that order. With books published in nine languages and sold world-wide, Therese writes full-time from her home in Wake Forest, NC, which she shares with her husband, four amiable cats, and four nearly grown-up sons.


  1. I am in love with the line: "So, I wait, and I hope, and I admire the chicken eggs without counting them."

    Congrats on all the interest and meetings--how exciting! I will cross my fingers.

  2. My fingers are crossed for you, too, Therese! It's a dream of mine to see a novel I wrote make it to film as well, so I hope yours will take that trek and you will be able to tell us all the accompanying Hollywood tales ;). As for favorite books-to-films, Pride & Prejudice, of course. Also, The Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour version) and A Room with a View.

  3. I am sending you good luck as well, Therese! How exciting it would be to see your characters come to life! My favorite books-to-films are no surprises to all who know me, AUNTIE MAME and all the HARRY POTTERS.

  4. Therese, so exciting! Crossing fingers and toes and hoping you have some BIG news to tell us soon! Hmm, books to movies...I have Harry Potter on the brain, so I'll definitely say those. They've done such a brilliant job in capturing the heart of those books and bringing all the magical settings and people to life. I adore LAST OF THE MOHICANS, too (with Daniel Day Lewis). It actually made me want to read the book, which I did right after viewing it the first time. Loved both the novel and the film.

  5. Lovely post. I loved the film Devil Wears Prada and thought it was one of those rare cases where the movie was better than the book.

  6. I agree with Melissa-- admiring the eggs without counting them-- love that!

    I thought the book ELECTION was amazing, and so was the movie. Ditto for SILENCE OF THE LAMBS-- just unbelievable.

  7. Thanks for the crossed fingers, ladies--I welcome every bit of positive energy!

    I'm a HARRY POTTER fan too. Each book, and each film, seems better than the previous ones. Anyone going to see the latest film this weekend? We considered going to a midnight show last night, but wimped out.

    Karin, I loved that one too--and can you believe, I'd forgotten it was a book first?!

  8. I SO hope it happens for you, Therese!! The experience I had with MUST LOVE DOGS was so amazing. I felt like I should have been on the Warner Bros. studio tour and somehow managed to escape and get behind the scenes. And walking the red carpet the year I turned 50 was the best birthday present ever! My fingers and toes are crossed for you!

  9. Favorite books-to-film? One would definitely be To Kill a Mockingbird, which is on my mind since I started reading it out loud to my ten-year-old daughter.

    All digits crossed for you, Therese!

  10. Ooh, Therese, what a thrill this all must be for you--maybe soon you'll really be playing a favorite game of mine--which actor would be which character. Good luck!

    Lauren beat me to the best book to film ever--TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. It's pitch perfect. I also really loved ORDINARY PEOPLE and FIELD OF DREAMS.

  11. Thank you for more positive vibes/crossed digits!

    Claire, I loved talking with you about your experience--and am already mentally drafting the fan letter I would write to one particular producer even if this doesn't all come together.

    Lauren, I love that you're reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to your daughter. I should watch the movie again; it's been forever since I've seen it. For that matter, I should read it again...

    Judy, FIELD OF DREAMS is a book? I had no idea.

  12. Yup, Therese, it's called SHOELESS JOE by Ray Kinsella.

  13. Keep admiring those chicken eggs! GONE WITH THE WIND and because today is Harry Potter 7.1 Day (and because I'm a child), I have to also mention the HP series.

  14. I love your observation about how authors have to spend so much time in limbo waiting for things. That's where I am--but I was holding out hope things would speed up after publication. (Sigh.) I hope you don't have to wait much longer for some good news. As for me, I like any film by the Merchant-Ivory team.

  15. Fingers crossed for you! And green with envy. Every book club I visit tells me The Wednesday Sisters would make a great movie and asks if Hollywood has come knocking, but alas ...

  16. Oh Therese, I know that Hollywood waiting game well. Best of luck to you!

    Favorite book to movie? Bridget Jones's Diary!

  17. Judy, I had to check the author, thinking that was Costner's characters name--and it is. The author is W.P. Kinsella. How cool that he used his own surname for the character!

    Carleen, your Cinderella story gives me hope for my own... (And I'm all about HP too; we own all the books and the DVDs.)

    Cindy, the waiting never ends, nor the anxiety--but it's all a labor of love.

    Meg, I know what you mean; I hear it all the time about SOUVENIR. Incidentally, I agree with your fans--THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS *would* be a great film.

    Maria, right, right, I love that one too!