It's a letter, he promises no more than that, but every so often a new one should appear here...
I'm often asked if I have an opinion as to why my work attracts film-makers, and I expect I'll be asked it again as "For the Dogs" heads into production. The answer is complex, and perhaps that's why "For the Dogs" is the first book of mine to actually make it into production despite repeated interest over the years in several titles.
The obvious answer is that it's all about the plot. Sometimes thrillers are accused by reviewers of being written with an eye to a big screen adaptation, and what they normally mean by that is that the book has a plot which can be readily imagined as a blockbuster movie. Perhaps those books do sometimes get picked up, but in my experience, plot is never usually enough - Hollywood has seen it all before in one form or another, and even an unusual premise can normally be compared with a previous film (or combination of films - it's "Jaws" meets "The Godfather"!). And for as much as people have described my books as "filmic", I think that's more about the visual quality of my writing style than it is about adaptability because I know from experience that my books are pretty tough to adapt into a traditional screenplay structure.
I can only repeat here what I've heard time and time again from producers, directors, actors and writers who've shown an interest in adapting my work for the screen, that it's all about the characters. They don't fall in love with a book because there's a great plot twist on page 90 or because there's an amazing shoot-out, they don't fall in love with it because it's neatly divided into a classic three-act structure, and (most of the time) they don't fall in love with it because they spy merchandising opportunities on the horizon. Hollywood has a reputation for being shallow, and I've experienced plenty of things over the years that have left me disillusioned with the movie business (a business I would never actually want to be a part of), but a good number of the people I've encountered are passionate about storytelling and cinema, and the thing they almost always relate to is strong characters.
That was the case with "For the Dogs" too. It's not about who shoots whom, it's not about the mechanics of what happens to the characters during the course of the plot, it's about the characters themselves, who they are as people, what life has done to them, what it still has in store for them. Every party that's been involved with the development process for this film has come on board because they related to the characters of Ella Hatto and Lucas.
So the only advice I can give to other writers is to forget about plotting it like a movie, forget about the killer movie premise - just invest in your characters, which is what a good storyteller should be doing anyway.
Until next time, K