I’ve received a surge of e-mail from readers in the past few days. I suspect a lot of you got bookstore gift cards in your stockings. Listen, I really appreciate that out of all the bazillions of books in the store, you picked mine. And thank you so much for writing to tell me you enjoyed them! There is no better start to my day than to turn on my computer and find e-mail from you, especially after I have hit my head on the kitchen cabinet door while trying to find the coffee.
One of the questions I get most often is whether I will make a movie out of Major Crush and/or The Boys Next Door. I think this is a great idea. Ashley Tisdale should play Lori. She makes a terrific diva in High School Musical, but she’s also got that dork act down to a science on Zack & Cody, and that’s what we want. For Adam let’s cast Lucas Black from Friday Night Lights--the movie, not the TV show. He’s handsome, he’s a terrific actor, AND he’s really from Alabama.
Okay, let’s get real. I can’t make movies. Most authors, even the ones whose books do get filmed, have very little to do with the process. Here’s what I know about it--which is probably a lot less than Micol knows, or Aimee, or...just about anyone on this blog.
Step 1. When you first sell your novel to a publisher, it’s announced with a short description on a publishing web site. Filmmakers haunt this site, and when they read a description of a novel that sounds interesting, they may ask to read it. This happened two or three times that I know of for Major Crush and six times for Going Too Far, my novel coming out with MTV Books in 2009. No takers yet, but I love hearing that someone even asked to see my work. That means I wrote a novel that SOUNDS good to someone, regardless of its actual quality, and that is no small feat in itself.
Step 2. A filmmaker purchases the TV/film rights to your book. This has happened for several of the Simon Pulse Ro-Coms!
Step 3. A filmmaker actually makes the TV/film. They buy a lot more stories than they can ever film. Only a small percentage of these ever become TV shows or movies.
Step 4. The filmmaker throws herself at your feet, pleading with you to write the screenplay from your novel so as to glean all possible benefit from your creative awesomeness. As far as I can tell, this only happens for huge best-selling authors who have a lot of editorial or film experience, and sometimes not even then. Currently I’m (finally!) reading Bridget Jones’s Diary, which so far is almost exactly like the film, in part because Helen Fielding both wrote the book and co-wrote the screenplay. But most authors are never given this choice. It’s give up control over what happens to your story in its film version, or no deal. I have heard of authors who refuse to sell TV/film rights for their books because they are afraid of what the filmmakers will do to their precious babies. Rest assured THIS will never happen at Chez Echols.
That’s the long answer. The short answer is, no, I will not personally be making films of my books, much as I would like to invite Ashley and Lucas and their stunt doubles to my parents’ place on Lake Martin for wakeboarding and pyrotechnics.