What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?
I have a list, actually. I’m a very visual thinker, so I’m always thinking about how a particular scene might be filmed. I do the same thing when I’m writing, too. I find that it’s a really good trick when I’m stuck. So here goes:
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I love these books. They’re such fun to read. Currently, there are nine in the series, with a tenth one coming out soon. The author, Alexander McCall Smith, spent a lot of time in Botswana, where the books are set, and his descriptions of the landscape and the people are so rich an vivid that you can just see the sun setting over the Kalahari. It’s almost as if Botswana were another character. So I was very excited to hear that HBO and the BBC actually have made a limited series out of the books. It starts airing in the U.S. on March 23.
The Historian. Obviously, I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for Gothic horror. I had to actually stop reading The Historian after dark. It creeped me out that much. I would love Elizabeth Kostova‘s atmospherics to be transferred to the big screen. Supposedly, the film rights to the book have been picked up, but as often happens, things are mired in development.
The Janissary Tree. Actually, any of Jason Goodwin‘s three detective novels, The Janissary Tree, The Snake Stone, and The Bellini Card would be fun movies. Goodwin does not write traditional mysteries in that his setting is 19th-century Istanbul, and his detective Yashim is, well…a eunuch. Goodwin is a historian of the Ottoman Empire, and he personally knows every square inch of Istanbul. His books are packed with beautiful descriptions of the city, and again it’s almost as if the city itself were another character. Also, none of the books lack for action as Yashim is alternately chased by and chases various suspects through the city. The one problem is that the setting may be a little too exotic for Hollywood.
The Arabesk Trilogy. This series of novels, Pashazade, Effendi, and Felaheen, by British writer Jon Courtenay Grimwood, are set in an alternate history where the United States brokered an early end to World War I. Set in a 21st century where the Ottoman Empire rules most of North Africa and France and Germany still have emperors, the novels center around genetically enhanced but mentally unstable Raf and his adventures in Alexandria, Egypt, known in the novels as El Iskandriyah. Once more, its the descriptions of the setting that make these novels stand out. The one issue, which could be a problem or an advantage, is that Grimwood is a little postmodern in his leanings, and much of the plot is told out-of-sequence.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This book is just brilliant fantasy. Susanna Clark‘s conception of how magic works is inherently visual. Much of the magic in the book surrounds the use of mirrors, for example. Also, I would love to see the tall-ships made out of rain used by the British to trick the French and blockade their ports during part of the Napoleonic Wars. The problem here is the length of the book. My edition is 782 pages long. Again, here the film rights have been purchased by New Line Cinemas, but my advice is this: Under no circumstances should anyone who is not a loyal subject of Her Majesty the Queen be involved in this project. There is something so inherently British about the book that only a Brit could do it justice.
Are you listening, Hollywood?