Is everyone ready? Are we all sitting comfortably?
Today we got to announce some AMAZING NEWS about The Butterfly Garden: it’s been optioned for film by Anonymous Content and PalmStar Media!
You can read the official announcement on Deadline , but I’ll pre-empt a few of the most common responses (and answer some other questions I’ve gotten in quantity) below.
OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO BE A MOVIE!!!
The option actually translates pretty literally: they’ve purchased the option to pursue development. It might move forward, it might not (because as strange an industry as publishing is, Hollywood is so much stranger) but Anonymous Content and PalmStar Media have the chance to play with it and see where it goes. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a HUGE step in an exciting direction.
CAN I SEND IN MY HEADSHOT/AUDITION TAPE/FIRSTBORN CHILD?
No, no, and um…NO.
If this moves forward, I will have zero input on casting. Excitement is amazing and wonderful, and I hope you are excited, because this is awesome! But I will have absolutely no influence on roles or actors or anything of that nature.
WHEN WILL IT BE OUT?
See answer the first–at least point, we can’t even be sure it’s going to move forward, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.
WILL THE BOOK BE AVAILABLE IN [INSERT COUNTRY]?
If it doesn’t come up on Amazon or your favorite retail page, the rights may not have sold for that territory. Best bet? If you’re comfortable reading in English, Book Depository ships worldwide! You can also e-mail publishers in your country and express interest. My Contacts page has been updated with addresses for foreign rights queries. Hopefully my creepy darlings will continue to make their way into the wider world.
CAN I GET A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK?
YES! (If you live in the US; sorry)
My local Barnes & Noble has it in stock, and can take orders over the phone for signed copies to ship out from the store. Because the books will be leaving from the store, rather than the warehouse, there is a shipping charge, but the books are signed and, given the pertinent information and a day or two’s grace for my getting in there, can be personalized. The phone number is: 1-402-393-6223, and store hours are Sunday: 10am-7pm CT, Monday through Saturday, 9am-9pm CT.
WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND ON FACEBOOK?
I’m sorry, but no. I do have an author page (sidebar) and you are welcome to leave comments or questions or messages there–it makes my day when you do! But my personal facebook is just that, and it’s for the people I actually know. Being online, it can be difficult to separate out what’s professional from what’s personal, but for my own introverted sense of well-being, that is a line I have to maintain. You are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter or tumblr or my author facebook, and I’ve got my e-mail up on my Contacts as well, but my personal facebook stays separate.
WILL THERE BE A SEQUEL?
There will be a companion novel out next year, entitled Roses of May, and while it’s not a direct sequel, we will be following our Butterflies and FBI team for a time. The bulk of the story shifts to a new case, a new story, but some things don’t leave us so easily. Is it surprising if Butterflies have a way of lingering?
One more thing.
For all your reviews, your conversations, emails, comments, tweets, your enthusiasm and the way you’re talking it up, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You’re amazing. The response to this book has absolutely blown me away and I am so, so grateful.
More news as I learn it!
Art, in any of its myriad mediums, has a schism most people don’t even realize exists. It’s a difficult idea, an oversight that’s somehow ingrained in our cultural consciousness. It’s surprisingly simple, too, when we look at it flat on a page.
The artist is not his or her art.
It seems obvious, right? Of course there’s a divide there, of course the artist is completely separate from the art he or she produces. Only, that’s not how we tend to think, or react. We walk out on this invisible bridge and never notice the transition from artist to art.
How we regard an artist very frequently colors how we look at his or her work. We make assumptions about people based on their performances or creations, but conversely, we also make assumptions about the work based on what we know of the artist.
Have you ever learned something totally awful about an actor, and when you go back to watch one of your favorite movies they happen to be in, you’re totally bummed because instead of enjoying the movie, all you can think about is how this really hot guy you previously admired as an actor just got arrested for drunk driving and smacking around his girlfriend?
Have you ever watched an interview with an actress that was so incredibly funny, where she came off as so real and down to earth and AWESOME that even though you didn’t like her movies much, you’ll still watch them, just because she’s cool?
We do it with books, too, which may seem odd to some. I mean, actors, they’re out there celebrities, right? They have no private lives because they belong to their audiences? Authors are more private, we think. Actors create art using their bodies, their voices, every part of them as the medium. Authors, we think, create something completely separate from them.
We think that, anyway. Truth is, what we think of an author REALLY colors our perception of the work.
My friend Shae has talked from time to time about author behavior and how authors behaving well can make her interested in a book she might otherwise not read. It’s a bottom line sort of thing–authors who behave well are more likely to get her money, whereas authors behaving badly–being nasty, arguing over reviews, attacking bloggers, etc–are very UNlikely to get her money.
I certainly think there’s something to that. When an author throws a public hissy fit pissing and moaning over a criticism someone dared to give their precious book-baby, it’s hard to take him or her seriously as an author. Rather than regarding him or her as an artist with a completely separate work of art, we think of a child throwing a tantrum. There’s nothing worthwhile in that. There’s nothing in that behavior worth investing in.
In some respects, it’s easy enough to separate. Author A is an ass, so we don’t read Author A. I’ll be honest, there are some people I do this with. I’ve never had a particular interest in reading Nicolas Sparks. What he writes isn’t really in my areas of interest. I’ve read the synopses and some of the major-publication reviews for his books (I work in a bookstore, so when he has a new release coming up, people ask me what it’s about), and I personally get bored with relaying the plots, because there’s a level of sameness to them that turns me off. Whatever. No author is going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
What I find personally repellent, though, and the reason I will probably never read a Nicolas Sparks book and will certainly never buy one, is his attitude, his unflagging belief that only men can write anything of true legitimacy and we poor women simply lack the emotional and intellectual depth to rise above mere chicklit. I’m not a huge fan of the term chick-lit, and to his partial credit, neither does Nicolas Sparks seem to be, though his distaste is usually in regards to the term being applied to his writing. But, for the sake of general perception, we’ll let the term go in favor of getting to the deeper reality: Nicolas Sparks is the king of chicklit.
His books are out-of-the-box bestsellers, he has movie deals panting on the heels of contract announcements, and the overwhelming majority of his readership is female. His books are love stories. Sometimes bittersweet, sometimes shadowed by Issues, but they’re enthusiastically devoured by women.
But Nicolas Sparks says his books aren’t chicklit. He says they’re “love tragedy”. (Anyone who can tell wtf love tragedy is as a genre is a much smarter person that I am)
Through interviews over the course of years, he’s expressed abhorrence at the thought of being grouped with writers such as Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Piccoult, or Sophie Kinsella- in other words, female authors who are generally dismissed as writing chicklit. Or for the slightly more PC term, women’s fiction, which is really just as limiting and only slightly less derogatory.
Reading his interviews any time he’s asked about genre or similar writers leaves me genuinely angry, because I come away feeling like if I were one of his readers, he’d be insulting me for giving him my money.
Now, I really don’t know anything about Nicolas Sparks beyond those interviews. Well, much of anything, and scuttlebutt from booksellers who’ve worked his signings probably doesn’t count to a holistic view of a person. He may be a really good person, a great husband, a great father, a genuine guy who most people would personally admire. I have no idea. But when I’m being honest with myself, which I try to be, I can admit that I generally assume him to be kind of a douchecanoe. And that is based purely off the public perception I have through his interviews and question/answer periods at signings.
Having never had a particular interest in his books anyway, my assumptions about him don’t particularly bother me as a consumer. I’m not torn by the divide between the artist and his art because I’m not interested in either.
But sometimes, it is so much harder.
Tessa Gratton already talked about this more eloquently than I ever could, but if you’re any kind of sci-fi nerd (or even if you’re not, and just pay a smidgeon of attention to the internet at large), then you’re aware that there’s a huge kerfuffle in the fandom of “Ender’s Game”.
It’s a cult book. It’s hard to take someone seriously as a sci-fi nerd if they haven’t read this book. Fans have been waiting for the movie for two decades.
But the author is, in a very public way, someone who devotes great time and energy to hating significant portions of the population. He is someone who actively pursues not just the limitation of certain rights that should be seen as innate, but actually wishes harm on those people and those who support them. It’s not just time and energy he puts to these endeavors, either–he also puts his money to it, money he earns through the sale of books like “Ender’s Game”.
So it leaves his fans with a choice: get more of the books they genuinely love, because whatever his personality and outlook, he’s a hell of a writer, or stand on principle and refuse to buy his products, thus reducing the amount of money he has to put into disenfranchisement and hate.
And it’s HARD, when you really love the work. I remember the first time I read “Ender’s Game”. I’d previously read “Enchantment”, and loved it, but then the summer between high school and college, I was working at a Boy Scout camp, and my friend Casey loaned me a stack of books to get me through the summer. I think they lasted me about a week. This stack included “Ender’s Game”, “Ender’s Shadow”, “Children of the Mind”, “Speaker for the Dead”, and “Xenocide.” I really liked Game. I LOVED Shadow. Children, Speaker, and Xeno gave me my first appreciation for what books could look like when they ran amuck from the author. (Honestly, I kind of thought the trilogy was a hot mess) But I reread Game and Shadow a lot, and the idea of a well-done movie was terribly appealing.
And from what I’ve seen of the movie publicity, it looks like this production might be just that: well-done.
And a movie isn’t a book. Yes, an author flourishes when a movie does well, but it’s a different creative vehicle. The movie belongs to the director, to the producers, to the screenwriters, to the actors, to all the crew and everyone who works on the film. Is it really fair to punish all of them because you dislike the author of the original text?
But if you’re contributing to the general well-being of someone whose views you find abhorrent, aren’t you helping to spread those views, albeit unintentionally?
I don’t know the answer. I know a lot of people have chosen to boycott the movie, boycott the books. Those fans who agree with Card’s views are likely, for equally passionate reasons, to see the movie multiple times, buy multiple copies of the books to balance out. But I also know I haven’t been able to read Game or Shadow since I learned of Card’s outspoken views. I’ve tried, because I genuinely do love those two books, but I find myself looking for his views in the text. It’s hard to separate what he wrote from what he professes.
I know I wouldn’t want anyone to blur that line in my own stories, in my book. I know I wouldn’t want anyone to look at Ophelia’s passive acceptance of a number of abuses and wrongs and think I in any way believe that to be how things should be. We create worlds separate from ourselves. We invest ourselves in them, certainly, but they’re not our manifestos. It’s easy to argue that we our book should buy judgments of us only as writers.
Easy to argue–a lot harder to live by.
Until next time~
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones came out about a week ago in theaters. I’ve now seen it twice.
For all their flaws, I love the Mortal Instruments book series. And with any book that you love, there’s this DREAD when you hear it’s been officially greenlit for production. Options are one thing- so many books are optioned but never made. But actually going into production? That’s when it becomes real, and suddenly you’re looking at pictures of actors and hearing names of directors and designers and screenwriters and producers and OH MY GOD WHAT IF IT’S AWFUL AND YOU HATE IT AND THEY RUIN IT AND THEY TOTALLY RUN ANYONE OFF FROM DISCOVERING THE BOOKS BECAUSE THE MOVIE IS SO BAD…
Okay, so some of us (me included) can get a bit worked up about it.
But it’s a side effect of being invested in the books- if we love the book, we get passionate about it. We want to see it done right, we want whatever comes out of it to do it justice. In order to keep some semblance of sanity, I try not to look at pictures leading up to the release. I very frequently skip trailers where possible. I spend most of the time leading up to the release by studiously convincing myself that I don’t know a book exists. It’s the best way I can look at a movie adaptation as completely its own thing.
So there was anticipation and more than a little fear when my brother suggested seeing it last weekend. To be fair, he didn’t care what movie we saw, because he was showing off the luxury theater with the cushy leather recliners.
I can say, with total honesty, I loved this movie. Not just as an adaptation, but also just as a movie. Did I have some technical quibbles with it? Absolutely. But I thought this was, without reservation, an excellent production.
-There were some consistency issues. I’m not talking about translating from the book, I’m talking about purely within the movie itself. When Clary and Valentine go through the portal or interact directly with the surface tension, they come away soaking wet. Yet both times we see Jace put an arm through the portal, he’s completely dry, as is his clothing.
-Also, during the scenes at the Hotel Dumort, daylight becomes a tricky tricky thing. Bright daylight is shining down on Simon, but it’s pure night when the wolves break through, but then it’s shifting dawn when they burst out onto the roof. Little goofs like sweat sheens or degrees of wet hair kept shifting between parts of scenes, as well.
-some of the funniest moments in this movie happened in moments where nothing was being said. But. Those funny moments tended to fade out because they were held for a beat and a half too long. It’s a matter of seconds, but because it’s a consistent fault, it tends to bring notice to it.
And one tiny quibble about it AS AN ADAPTATION:
-Izzy’s red stone necklace? The one that warms to warn her of demons in the vicinity? It’s only in one scene. The Izzy in the book is never without it. It was a small bother, but a bother nonetheless, especially because it’s such an easy thing.
But seriously, a two hour movie and those are my only quibbles?
The casting was brilliant. The sense of connection between the characters, the small expressions, the casting director did a phenomenal job. Other than a few too many sweeping vistas of the city, the sense of New York was woven very well into the film, and oh my God the Institute. It was gorgeous! The costuming was a lot of fun, even if the runes weren’t quite as I’d anticipated (and why are Izzy’s runes so much more delicate than the boys’?), and Magnus?
Oh my God, Magnus. Our first view of him is phenomenal. I can’t even…
The pacing, aside from the extra beats, was great. It made for a tight story and a continuing sense of action, even in the quieter moments.
And I actually really loved most of the changes they made. Part of the challenge in translating a book to film is in keeping things tight. Readers have the luxury of flipping back and forth to remind themselves of when something was first brought up. Viewers have to be able to follow a cohesive timeline. So shifting the final action to the Institute, rather than introducing a new location, made a lot of sense. Shaving things off for the sake of clarity is a necessity, and I liked the choices they made in that regard. The soundtrack was fun, at times very well woven through it, and when the vampire fight starts, the shift in music was brilliant.
Also, I thought it was incredibly smart move to pack the previews with YA-adaptation trailers. Vampire Academy, The Book Thief, and Catching Fire, and they perfectly hit their target audience.
All in all, this was a fantastic movie, and a solid adaptation that gives me SO MUCH FAITH in the slew of translations coming out over the rest of this year and next.
Until next time~