Oscar night is my favorite holiday.
I’ve always loved movies. In fact, I became a romance writer as a kind of an alternative, sideways route to becoming a screenwriter.
See, back when I was just starting my writing career, I focused on writing screenplays and TV scripts. But back then, I was also a new mom. I had two kids in diapers and a husband who worked in New York City. So after I submitted my scripts to a Hollywood agent and he called to ask me when I was going to move to LA – because he’d rep me if I moved out there – I took a deep breath and told him that it would be about eighteen years before my youngest was out of school, so a move west wasn’t in my immediate future. He told me – and these words were burned into my brain – that I was a very good writer. But he said that there were ten very good writers who already lived in LA and were ready to do the leg work necessary to selling their scripts, and he was going to represent one of them instead of me.
It was the best rejection of my career. And in the aftermath of that phone call, I sat there doing what I do best, which is think outside of the box. As unknown writer A, I would have to move to LA to sell my screenplays. But you know who sold plenty of screenplays from his home in Maine?
So, following that logic, I surmised that if I could become a bestselling novelist, I wouldn’t have to move to LA to write and sell screenplays.(Oh, I was SO very young back then!)
In the days after that phone call, I decided that I’d write genre fiction – my goal was to entertain – and I took all of my screenwriting skills and incorporated them into writing romance novels that were as fast-paced and as visual as possible. I wanted my books to play out like movies inside of my readers’ heads.
Long story short, I outlined my first romance novel exactly the way I would’ve outlined a screenplay, and then sat down to write the book. It was an exhilarating experience, complete with a “Eureka!” moment as I realized that romance novels were, perhaps, the ultimate fit for my particular writing voice.
I discovered that I loved writing romance novels.
So I put my screenwriting career on hold and focused on writing books.
But my love for movies has never waned. And last year I collaborated with my husband, Ed Gaffney, (an Edgar-award-nominated thriller writer) and my son, Jason T. Gaffney, and together we three wrote a screenplay – a romantic comedy with a hero and a hero, called THE PERFECT WEDDING. And then, last summer, we used our very own production company, small or LARGE Productions, to shoot the movie.
We had a cast of over a dozen actors including James Reborn (Independence Day, Real Steel) and Kristine Sutherland (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and a crew and production team of close to fifty hardworking people, including an enormously talented young director named Scott Gabriel.
We used a digital camera called “The Red” to create a movie with high production values, and shot our feature length indie film in twenty-one grueling days.
We’re currently in the final stages of post-production, with a hope to premiere THE PERFECT WEDDING at film festivals around the world, starting this spring. Find out more about TPW at http://www.theperfectweddingmovie.com and http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectWeddingMovie
So what’s the biggest difference between writing a novel and writing (and the producing) a movie? For me, it’s all about the control. As a novelist, I am god. The story is mine, and mine alone.
As a screenwriter, I was already collaborating with two other very creative (and stubborn people before we moved into production mode. And remember those dozen actors and fifty crew and production team members I mentioned earlier? All of those people brought a little bit (or a lot!) of themselves to the process of telling this story. Making a movie is a team sport, and in order to make the best movie possible, you have to learn to pass the ball.
Things I cannot do: Edit a movie. Direct a movie. Light a room to film a movie. Move a camera on a dolly so that it doesn’t bump or shake. Wire dozens of actors for sound. Film a movie. Apply makeup to the actors so that they look great. Feed fifty-something hungry and hardworking people three times a day.
Well, maybe I could do that last one.
My favorite part of the movie making process was casting the film. As one of the producers, I had input into the casting, and I was present for many of the auditions.
In fact, casting was so much fun, that when I began to plan my promotional efforts for my next book (BORN TO DARKNESS, the first in my new paranormal “Fighting Destiny” series), it didn’t take me long to decide to use my newfound skills and cast actors as the six main adult characters in the series, and then hold a photo shoot with my favorite NYC photographer, Shirin Tinati. http://www.shirintinati.com. I used her photos (and some video footage we shot, too) from that session to create “BORN TO DARKNESS Trading Cards,” and photo galleries, and book trailer videos so that readers could see the characters in this book exactly the way I see them.
Because even though I’ve only written two screenplays versus fifty-one novels in the past twenty years since I got that phone call from that Hollywood agent, I still write books using screenwriting outlining techniques, in hopes that my stories will play out like fast-paced and exciting movies in my readers’ minds.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: I have two copies of the CD audiobook of "BREAKING THE RULES" to give to two people who leave comments by midnight EST, 28 February. Please put your email address in the comment box!
BLURB: "BORN TO DARKNESS"
Dishonorably discharged, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin is down to his last ten bucks when he finally finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, a little-known and believed-to-be-fringe scientific research facility. When he enters the OI compound, he is plunged into a strange world where seemingly mild-mannered scientists--including women half his size--can kick his highly skilled ass.
Shane soon discovers that there are certain individuals who possess the unique ability to access untapped regions of the brain with extraordinary results-including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process. Known as "Greater-Thans," this rare breed is recruited by OI, where they are rigorously trained using ancient techniques to cultivate their powers and wield them responsibly.
But in the depths of America's second Great Depression, where the divide between the haves and the have-nots has grown even wider, those who are rich--and reckless--enough have a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that that can make anyone a Greater-Than, with the power of eternal youth. The sinister cartel known as The Organization has begun mass-producing Destiny, and the demand is growing. But few realize the drug's true danger, and fewer still know the dirty secret of Destiny's crucial ingredient.
Michelle "Mac" Mackenzie knows the ugly truth. And as one of the Obermeyer Institute's crack team of operatives, she's determined to end the scourge of Destiny. But her kick-ass attitude gets knocked for a loop when she discovers one of the new test subjects is the same smoldering stranger who just rocked her world in a one-night stand. And although Shane quickly discovers he isn't a Greater-Than like Mac, as an ex-SEAL, he's got talents of his own. But Mac's got powerful reasons to keep her distance from Shane-and reasons to want him close. She's used to risking her life, but now she faces sacrificing her heart in the ultimate war on drugs.
BLURB For Giveaway Book: "BREAKING THE RULES"
Now Eden's back, on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Even if she and Izzy can prove that their broken marriage is still in one piece, winning legal custody of Ben is a long shot. But they’re not alone: Danny and his girlfriend Jenn offer to help, and he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.
As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now, they must all pull together like never before and strike back, swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious.
Suzanne Brockmann is the award-winning author of fifty-one books, and is widely recognized as one of the leading voices in romantic suspense. Her work has earned her repeated appearances on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as numerous awards, including Romance Writers of America's #1 Favorite Book of the Year and two RITA awards.
Married to author Ed Gaffney, Suz divides her time between Sarasota, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts and New York City. They have two grown children, Melanie, who is a personal trainer and a writer, and Jason, who is an actor and tap dancer, and two miniature schnauzers, C.K. Dexter-Haven and Little Joe, both of whom (unlike Mel and Jason) still live at home.
Suz is a proud member of PFLAG -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She is also a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and MassEquality. A firm believer in civil rights for all people, she has fought hard to bring equal marriage rights to all citizens of her home state, Massachusetts.
Suzanne has an author page at: http://www.romancebooksrus.com. Come and visit!
facebook main page: http://www.facebook.com/SuzanneBrockmannBooks
See pictures of my “cast” of "BORN TO DARKNESS" at:
Find out more about "BORN TO DARKNESS" at:
Join my official countdown to "BORN TO DARKNESS" at:
Get a virtually signed copy of "BORN TO DARKNESS" (plus a bonus “Extra” Jules Robin short story) at:
Find out more about TPW a:
http://www.theperfectweddingmovie.com and http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectWeddingMovie