. . . Katherine Heigl. Variety reports that the "plum" role of buxom bounty hunter in the film version of Janet Evanovich's One for the Money will be played by the "Grey's Anatomy" star. It's been a long time coming; Columbia pictures first optioned the novel for film in 1994 and Reese Witherspoon was previously attached to the project (though Janet E. has said on her website that she envisions Sandra Bullock in the role). Now that Heigl has signed on, the project has gained momentum and is likely to start production.
Now, the question is, who will be cast as Stephanie's two love interests, Morelli and Ranger?
Since political memoirs have been a dime a dozen in recent weeks*, I was intrigued by a different kind of book deal from (could-have-been political memoirist) Nicolle Wallace, former White House Communications Director under George W. Bush and advisor to Sarah Palin (with whom she famously had a head-butting relationship).
In October 2010, Atria will publish Wallace’s debut novel, a story that “follows the first female President of the United States, Charlotte Kramer, and her staff as they take on dangerous threats from abroad and within her very own cabinet.” The title is Eighteen Acres, insider lingo for the White House Complex.
Atria’s vice president and executive editorial director Emily Bestler said that “Heroines in woman’s fiction typically struggle with the weight of the world on their shoulders. . . Nicolle Wallace has created a character in which that can be said literally. Forget everything you know about the genre. Whatever family, friend or workplace drama we’ve read about in the past becomes magnified tenfold when you’re the nation’s first female president.”
Here are my follow-up questions: Will President Kramer be a Democrat or Republican? (Since she was dreamed up by Nicolle Wallace, I’m guessing Republican. . . but you never know!) Will you read this debut?
While you wait for Eighteen Acres, read an interview with Curtis Sittenfeld about American Wife, a “thinly veiled account of Laura and George W. Bush's courtship and rise to the top of American politics. . . a sparkling, sprawling novel.”
*Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin; The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down by Edwards aide Andrew Young; On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson; Staying True by betrayed South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford. . . Has anyone else noticed a trend of 15-word titles?
HCI Books, the company that publishes the Chicken Soup books, announced today that they have created a “new subgenre” of romance novels: fantasy meets reality. (When I read about this, I’ll admit that the first thing that popped into my head is a line from David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice: “It’s these real-life dramas that tend to draw a larger audience. Why? I chalk it up to five simple words we use in every print or televised promotion. Five words: ‘Based Upon a True Story.’”)
The idea is that real-life couples can share a “sexy, steamy, bigger-than-life, or just plain worthwhile love story” and romance authors will write a novel based on the truth. The line of books will be called "Vows," and book one, Hard to Hold, comes out in October 2010.
Written by Julie Leto, Hard to Hold is about a woman who falls in love with a man with Tourette’s Syndrome. The pub copy also alludes to a second hurdle in the relationship. My curiosity got the best of me, and I searched the couple’s names online. Turns out they had the lead wedding story in the Sunday New York Times in August, so you can get the juicy details now, if you’d like.
The cheesy factor is certainly amped in the Vows books. (“When fantasy meets reality anything can happen. Believe it. It’s true.”) And as someone who spends hours a week engrossed in fiction, I take issue with the line from HCI’s promotional copy asserting that “the best things in life—and in romance—are real.” (Father Ralph and Meggie are real, too... to me!)
But I can still recognize that this is a very clever concept that’s perfectly suited for the age of Facebook and Google stalking and The Bachelor. When I finish a book, I love to find out everything I possibly can about the author. With the Vows books you’ll be able to do the same with the main characters. Plus, their story will keep on going when you finish the novel, which is an interesting idea.
What do you think, readers? Are you more interested in a romance novel that’s Based Upon a True Story—is truth stranger (or rather, steamier) than fiction? Or are romance plots best developed in a writer’s imagination?
For some traditional romance, check out Christie Ridgway’s February column in BookPage.
Young adult author Barry Lyga recently signed a deal with Little, Brown for a book that Publisher's Marketplace described as "'Dexter' meets 'The Silence of the Lambs' for teens, about a teen boy who uses his killer instinct, inherited from his serial killer father, to help solve a series of gruesome murders." The book, I HUNT KILLERS, will be published in spring 2012.
Lyga is a rising star in the field of teen fiction, with four YA novels under his belt, all set in the town of South Brook, Maryland. I wonder if I HUNT KILLERS will take place in South Brook as well — and if so, should fans of his earlier books fear for the lives of their favorite characters? But even if the place and people are all new, Lyga's ability to create fully realized and believable characters will no doubt have me hiding under the covers with a flashlight, frantically turning the pages to find out who survives.
Related in BookPage: A Q&A with Lyga about his most recent book, Goth Girl Rising.
And a question for readers: What was the scariest book you read as a teenager?
We were happy to hear that Libba Bray has signed a contract with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to write a new YA series for major bucks—$2 million, rumor has it. Editor Megan Tingley (who also publishes Stephenie Meyer) will be working with Bray on The Diviners, a trilogy set in the 1920s. Bray describes the series as "a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.”
Bray's success comes on the heels of winning the Printz Medal for Going Bovine, a picaresque tale of a teenage boy searching for a cure for mad cow disease, but she is also known for her atmospheric Victorian-era series that started with A Great and Terrible Beauty and contains supernatural elements.
One mystery: in our interview with Bray, she told us her work-in-progress was something quite different, “a satire about a group of teen beauty queens whose plane crashes on a deserted island. Sort of Lord of the Flies as channeled by P.J. O’Rourke and [National Lampoon writer] Doug Kenney.” Though we're eager to see what she makes of the 1920s, we're hoping this intriguing project will also see the light of day!
As a major Project Runway devotee, I was thrilled to learn that Nina Garcia has sold a book to Hyperion’s Voice imprint. Titled Nina Garcia’s Look Book, the guide will feature advice on what to wear for “every occasion” and include artwork by Ruben Toldeo, who has also illustrated for The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar and others (and he’s the husband of Isabel Toledo, who designed Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Day dress and overcoat). The book will be published in August 2010.
By day, Garcia is the fashion director of Marie Claire, although I know and love her as the no-nonsense (and occasionally snippy) judge of the best reality TV show in the history of reality TV shows: Project Runway. (“Don’t bore Nina!” is a favorite warning from designer mentor Tim Gunn.)
Garcia has also published other style guides: The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own, The Style Strategy: A Less-Is-More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping and The Little Black Book of Style.
While you wait for Look Book, browse the BookPage fashion archive, where we’ve highlighted everything from Barbie fashion to street fashion.
What’s your favorite style guide?
Now better known for his standalone successes like Shutter Island, Mystic River and The Given Day, Dennis Lehane made his fiction debut in a more conventional manner—writing a stellar detective series. Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro hit the scene in 1994's Shamus Award-winning novel A Drink Before the War. The two started as friends, then began a rocky romance that hit more than a couple of bumps over the five-book series. Now Lehane has sold a sixth (and final) Kenzie-Gennaro book to Morrow for publication in 2011—the first novel in the series since 1999's Prayers for Rain.
We at BookPage have gotten scads of emails asking whether Lehane would ever return to the series, so we think this should be welcome news for readers!
I don’t read many books by celebrities, although Ashley Judd’s memoir (spring 2011 from Ballantine) looks like it could be an exception.
The story will recall both painful childhood memories and Judd’s humanitarian work as a global ambassador for PSI (Population Services International)/Youth AIDS. What caught my attention is that the book's foreword will be written by one of my favorite New York Times columnists: Nicholas Kristof, co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
In a press release, Judd commented: “I hope that this book will be a call to action as well as a memoir. . . By sharing my own story along with those of the beautiful and resilient people I’ve met in the most desperate places, I want to show how the change we seek in the world must start within us.”
Sounds like Judd will have her hands full during the upcoming months. She’s also starring in movies such as Tooth Fairy—and working toward a Mid-Career MPA at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Who is your favorite celebrity author? I’m a sucker for political memoirs, which isn’t totally unrelated; Judd will collaborate with Maryanne Vollers, who also worked with Hillary Clinton on Living History.
Related in BookPage: Ashley’s not the only Judd with a book deal. Her mom, country singer Naomi, wrote a guide to living well, complete with some Judd family dirt.
On Saturday, the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) announced the finalists for its awards honoring books published in 2009. The awards ceremony will be on March 12. The board of directors of the NBCC nominates and votes on the books. (See a list of that group here.)
Click the highlighted titles for books reviewed in BookPage. See a full list of the nominees, which also include criticism and poetry. Which books are you rooting for to win?
Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage
Marlon James, The Book of Night Women
Michelle Huneven, Blame
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite
Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History
Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remains
William T. Vollmann, Imperial
Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End
Debra Gwartney, Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love
Mary Karr, Lit
Kati Marton, Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America
Edmund White, City Boy
Blake Bailey, Cheever: A Life
Brad Gooch, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor
Benjamin Moser, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector
Stanislao G. Pugliese, Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone
Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line
Joyce Carol Oates will be honored with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Read a handwritten interview with Oates in BookPage, in which the author tells us about her inspiration, favorite activity and whether it's possible for humans to be happy.
French graphic novelist Joann Sfar, best known for comics like the acclaimed Rabbi's Cat, is moving into a new medium in 2010. His first project: A biopic of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, which has debuted to rave reviews in France.
Serge Gainsbourg: La Vie Heroique takes a non-traditional approach—using special effects by the team that worked on Pan's Labyrinth, Sfar has created an exaggerated alter ego, played by actor Doug Jones, for the famous singer. The actual Gainsbourg is played brilliantly by French stage actor Eric Elmosnino, while British actress Lucy Gordon plays his muse and eventual wife, Jane Birkin (Sfar dedicated the film to Gordon, who sadly committed suicide in May 2009). Supermodel Laetitia Casta takes a turn as Brigitte Bardot.
Gainsbourg's exploits with women are well-known, but Sfar also takes on his early years growing up as a Jewish child in Vichy France who narrowly escaped deportation. An article in The Independent provides many interesting details on the production—most notably, that Sfar originally asked Gainsbourg's daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, to play her father.
Sfar's next film project will be based on his own work: The Rabbi's Cat comes to the big screen in 2010, as a 2D-animated film aimed at both adults and children. This charming story, set in 1930s Algeria, is about a merchant, his beautiful daughter, and their cat—who, after eating a parrot, can speak. (Sfar told the Wall Street Journal that the cat was based on his own pet.) An exact release date is still to be announced.
Related in BookPage: reviews of Sfar's graphic novels.