Like many authors, seeing my characters depicted on a movie theater screen would be out of this world. Getting a novel optioned not only means more money (not always seven figures, but that does happen), but other cool perks like visits to the shoot, perhaps even meeting the actors bringing our imaginary friends to life.
But as I learned while reading this eye-opening excerpt on CrimeReads, not all novelists get their due credit — even when the freaking title is the same. That’s what happened to author Tess Gerritsen, who wrote the novel Gravity, sold the visual rights to a subsidiary of the studio that ended up making a blockbuster movie starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, then helped with the screenplay for that movie, but never got credit for it.
Then she sued and lost.
Hers is apparently one of many tales of theft in the wild, wild west. “(T)here is certainly a dark side to the industry and even the most careful writer may one day find himself a victim of IP (Intellectual Property) theft,” Gerritsen says in her chapter in Hollywood vs. the Author. “If it happens to you, count it as a hard lesson learned in Hollywood, and proof that you’ve written a story worth stealing.”
Speaking of dark …
CrimeReads was also kind enough to round up the Dark Dozen — THE 12 DARKEST ENDINGS IN THE HISTORY OF NOIR FICTION.
This list includes spoilers, obviously, and these endings aren’t for the faint of heart. Most of the novels are from the 20th century, going as far back as the ’30s with books like Double Indemnity. I’m perhaps most interested in reading the youngest novel on the list, Assumption by Percival Everett.
Virus hits publishing
According to Publisher’s Weekly, U.S. print sales started strong in the first quarter of 2020, but there were some dips once COVID-19 caused lockdowns across much of the country. But several categories still finished the quarter up.
The report didn’t include information about ebook sales.
Of particular interest to me, suspense/thrillers were hit hard, with a 13.3 percent decline. Hopefully that number will rebound, especially by July.
Meanwhile, in Texas
Five writers with Texas ties were awarded literary Guggenheim Fellowships for 2020. Of them, two teach at The University of Texas at Austin (my alma mater), and another is from Austin. Two other Austinites (and another UT educator) received the prestigious fellowships in photography and composition (Hook ‘Em), making seven total recipients from Texas (one, Jenny Boully, was not listed in the previous link. She was raised in San Antonio).
Judy Alter — a prolific mystery author, director of academic presses, and member of the Western Writers of America Hall of Fame — included my novella, Live with the Truth, in a weekly Texas Reads Roundup for Lone Star Literary Life focusing on genre fiction written by men.