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.