Hollywood & Other Opportunities 🎬

Hi, all— 

Lately, I've been thinking about the paths that we walk in life and the opportunities that crop up along the way—usually unexpectedly. Roughly a year ago, I received an email from a well-known Hollywood producer's assistant, inquiring about the film/tv rights to Kate Holland's Hidden Valor series. Now—before anyone gets too excited—that did not pan out. (At least, not yet.)

Of course, when I first read the assistant's email, I assumed it was phony. Like everyone else, I get weird offers that promise me the world. So like most folks, I also tend to read the contents of my inbox with a jaundiced eye. It turned out the interest was genuine, though. But since not much has happened since, I put the opportunity out of my head and focused on my then, current manuscript. 

Ironically, interest has been piqued again—albeit this time with a screenwriter. And this second film/tv rights inquiry is for both Kate and Regan. I was intrigued by the follow-up letter the screenwriter wrote me, so he & I spoke at length on the phone this past week. In the end, we decided to table the idea of co-writing the screenplays for both my series for now & to revisit the possibility in a year or so.

My reasons: I have 2 more books to write in Regan's Deception Point Series before the initial, overarching plot thread is tied up. And Kate? Her Hidden Valor series is just getting off the ground. As you all know, I'm currently writing Kate's 3rd book, Beneath the Bones. It's taken me this long to get a firm idea on where she—and Ruger!—are headed.

Why? Characters, especially ones in a continuing series, have to grow and change—even as key features in their world & lives need to remain the same. After all, these features are usually what attracted readers to a character & series in the first place. If you change the story/character's basic core, you change what readers love.

Keeping to Regan's base core was easy from the start. She's a detective & her dead bodies turn up in the course of her active-duty, Army CID life. Because of this, Regan's investigations realistically take her deeper into the military. As a result, her pursuit of murders & terrorists can and does take her all over the world. Likewise with Regan Chase's NCIS/Deception Point series counterpart, Special Agent Mira Ellis.

But Kate Holland is different. While Kate has the same military investigator skillset to draw on as Regan & Mira, Kate's path in life took a radically sharp turn four years earlier when she became a POW in Afghanistan. As a result of what occurred then, Kate was knocked low by near-crippling PTSD. It's taken her two complete books and into the third to fully right herself. (And, yes, she is righting herself.) But even when Kate makes it out the other end, she'll be changed as a person. The old, globe-trotting military life that she loved no longer holds the appeal it once did. And there's the firm pull that Ruger, several other humans and even the state of Arkansas itself now have on Kate & her heart.

Of course, this works for me as an author, since the elements of Kate's world that resonate with her readers include Ruger, those humans & that smaller-town mystery feel that the Arkansan setting provides in her books. So while Kate may be able to do Regan or Mira's job, she no longer wants to. That said, as noted in The Garbage Man, the town of Braxton saw just two murders in the preceding decade. (Which is still true, since those bones in Beneath the Bones ended up where they did more than ten years earlier.🤫) But that opening body count & the reasons behind it, led me into a conundrum. While I want & need to keep the same feel to Kate & Ruger's books, I can't turn Braxton into Cabot Cove, Maine. (If you missed that analogy, watch the lovely Angela Lansbury in her tv series, Murder She Wrote.)

Fortunately, I have a solution to my own Cabot Cove dilemma! Kate is about to encounter one of those lovely life opportunities that we discussed—and yes, for all you Ruger fans, her faithful German Shepherd is definitely included. And...that's all I'm going to say about that now. Partly because, as Kate's creator, I refuse to spoil her coming books. But also because I'm still at the point in the Bones manuscript where I'm setting up that opportunity. By the time I get there, inspiration during a midnight writing session may tweak it. (This happens...a lot.) So I'll be mean & ask you to stay tuned—with Kate's life...and my own opportunity to co-write the screenplays that could put Kate & Ruger or Regan/Mira up on the screen someday. Who knows what'll happen between now & then?

PS: And, yeah, getting those 2 inquiries is super cool.😁


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