Monday, May 21, 2012

Only Colin Firth Can Be Mr. Darcy

When I’m reading a book, I get a very distinct picture of the characters in my mind. Sometimes a certain actor or actress will seem like the perfect fit. Often, the images are just a blend of traits (hair, build, voice, etc.)

When a book is translated to the big screen, I’m often worried that the actors won’t do justice to the roles. I’ve been pleasantly surprised (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hunger Games, Pride and Prejudice [BBC version] with Colin Firth). Other times, I think the casting director was on drugs (One for the Money).
I’m trying something different with the book I’m currently writing; a technique an author recommended. I’ve selected photos of actors who resemble my book’s characters (or how I see them in my mind’s eye). I keep these photos next to my computer so that I can visualize Arlie and her best friend, Mo; Arlie's love interest, Cody; and Arlie's Uncle Frank.

This book is YA contemporary. Working title: Sensing You. More details later as the story progresses. For now, I’ll leave you with these pics of my main characters.

  • Arlie (actress Hanna Mangan Lawrence)
  • Mo/Maureen (actress Chloe Moritz)
  • Cody (actor Cord Overstreet)
  • Frank (a cross between actor Zac Galifianakis and a family friend, Frank Baxter)

Have you been pleasantly surprised or horrified by a book to film translation? Do share!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writer's Voice Contest Edition! (Entry #184)

Hi readers!
I'm entering a contest that asks me to post my query letter and first 250 words of my young adult novel, HANNAH'S HALF. The contest is based on the premise of the TV show, "The Voice." Four fabulous YA authors will pick their teams, "coach" them (help make the entries all sparkly) and then pitch to agents. What an amazing community of writers! 200 writers made the cut -- best of luck to everyone!


18-year-old Hannah Spencer would give anything for a dead-free day. For most of her life, she’s ignored the Visitors who appear in her bedroom each morning. After all, they’re dead, they don’t speak and they rarely stay more than a few minutes. 

Her communications with the deceased are pretty one-sided until Adam, a recent casualty in a car accident, appears and demands her help to move on to the afterlife. Troubled by her intense attraction to him, Hannah uncovers the truth about their connection: Adam is her  twin flame — the other half of her soul— and the two have spent a number of lifetimes together, each one ending in Hannah’s untimely death.

Unable to ignore their bond, Hannah and Adam rekindle their ages-old romance. However, when she links this mysterious ghost to the disappearance of his sister and the terrifying recurring dreams she’s been having, she must decide if helping him is worth risking her life … again.

Hannah's Half is a young adult paranormal mystery, complete at 62,000 words. I hope you find the premise intriguing enough to request a partial or full manuscript.


“You got a name, kid?”
The boy sitting on my bedroom floor couldn’t have been more than four or five years old. The cowlick in the back of his blond hair needed taming. As he sat cross-legged, holding a half-inflated red balloon, I noticed that the bottoms of his bare feet were dirty.

I rarely asked questions anymore because the Visitors never speak. I mean never. I’ve been seeing dead people for as long as I can remember and it’s always the same routine. Stare with haunted eyes, linger in the room, disappear.

“The silent treatment again. How original.” I sighed and pushed back my comforter. I’d gotten over being shy in front of the dead a long time ago. If they were going to invade my space, then they’d have to deal with seeing me in my panties.

As I rummaged through my dresser to find a pair of jeans, the sweet, burned smell of kettle corn filled my nose and carnival music played in my head. In strobe-like flashes, I saw the little boy walking hand in hand with a girl about his height. She handed him a cardboard cone wrapped with mounds of pink cotton candy. 

I shook my throbbing head as if that could make the images disappear. Unless the Visitors suddenly decided to tell me why my room was a ghost magnet, I vowed to ignore them.

God, I’d give just about anything to have a dead-free day.