A Novel Surprise

In general, I strongly dislike surprises. Now I’ve never won the lottery (although I did get a call from a gentleman with a thick accent who tried to convince me that I’d come in second place in the PCH sweepstakes and all I needed to do was wire a couple hundred dollars to some woman in Kansas to cover the taxes on my winnings in order for my new Cadillac and a giant check to be delivered to my door), though I will admit that it’s hard to win if you never purchase a ticket (don’t think that I’m not a risk taker–I just have basic math skills). So I’m not usually “pleasantly surprised” by the unexpected twists of everyday life. But I’ve been reading a draft screenplay of my first book, Tours (historical fiction focusing on the family of Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours), and even though I have nothing but affection and respect for Sony VP Josh Nadler, the author creating the screenplay, I wasn’t expecting to be riveted. I was expecting to be annoyed by the story line changes necessary to adapt the novel for film. I tend to like to be in charge of my world, and any worlds I create (whether based in history or in my imagination). I’d heard nothing but negative consequences from authors who’d allowed other people creative control over their work (Hemmingway described the situation as one where  the author should, “Drive to the border of California, throw your book over the fence. When they throw the money back over the fence, collect the money and drive home.”) So while there isn’t much money to be collected on my side of the fence (no surprise there), there is a sense of unexpected satisfaction that my first real novel has inspired a screenplay that I am proud to be associated with–even on the first draft. I didn’t see that coming.


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