By Julie, finding it hard to believe it is already June
Friends, we are so excited to celebrate some wonderful news from our friend Dana Cameron on the blog today. Dana’s book, Site Unseen, is going to be a Hallmark movie! It premieres on Sunday June 4 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. A few of us will be tweeting during the show–follow the hashtag #Sleuthers and #EmmaFielding
A personal note about Dana. I met her at Malice Domestic many years ago. She was then the vice-president of Sisters in Crime New England, and encouraged my friend and I to join. I may have found my way to this organization that changed my life, but her kindness made me feel welcome.
Site Unseen is the first in her Emma Fielding mystery series. I love this series, and can’t wait to see how they adapted it for television. Most importantly, we Wickeds are wicked happy for our friend. I emailed Dana a few questions about her road to Hallmark.
Tell us about the books, and how you came to write them?
DANA: I’d always loved reading, but never thought I’d be a writer, because I thought you had to have “adventures” to write. I was happier with the opposite of “adventures,” which to me was spending time in the library. So I decided by the time I was ten to be an archaeologist, and it was a job I’ve always loved.
Fast forward many years later, and a looter with a metal detector showed up on an archaeological site where I was working with a colleague. When we protested, he pulled a pistol on us. Eventually he left, but at the time, it was really scary. We reported the incident and that was that. Or so I thought.
Months later, I told a friend about this, along with some other “interesting” things that had happened to me and my colleagues in the course of doing fieldwork, and she said that I needed to write it down. Suddenly, that instinct I had as a kid came back. I tried writing a mystery, because I’d always loved them, and after a lot of drafts, and a lot of good, tough criticism, I had a book. That sounds quick but it was a process that about took eight years until the first book came out.
When did you hear that Hallmark was interested in making a movie? What was that like?
DANA: I heard there was interest in optioning the books in late summer of 2016, and we finalized and announced the deal in November. After that, I celebrated and then went back to work, because it’s usually such a long shot that an option will be exercised. And then in February of this year, I got a call from Muse Entertainment that they were developing Site Unseen, most likely for Hallmark Movies and Mysteries; in March, the movie was greenlit, with Courtney Thorne-Smith attached. And in April, I was visiting the sets in Victoria, B.C.!
It all happened so quickly that it didn’t become real until I saw the Maine state flag flying over a Canadian town hall that was standing in for the sheriff’s office and the words “Site Unseen” on the marker! Since then, my feet haven’t left the ground, and I’m given to spontaneous bursts of dancing.
Wow, that is fast! We’d be dancing too! Was that a dream of yours?
DANA: It had been, of course—I think it’s a dream of every writer to see their work performed—but since it’s been about ten years since the most recent book in the series came out, Ashes and Bones, I thought the time was past for Emma to reach an audience in another medium. I spent the time since then writing my urban fantasy series, lots of short fiction, and finishing the historical noir novel based on my Anna Hoyt short stories. So this interest was a real surprise!
When the series started, my goal was to show what real fieldwork was like. With a few notable exceptions (including Elizabeth Peters and Aaron Elkins), a lot of books treat archaeology as merely an excuse for an exotic setting or a source of obsessive characters. I loved teaching, and it had always been a goal of mine to bring some of that to my books, using situations very loosely based on my own experiences. To be able to bring Emma to a wider audience, and know how hard the screen writer, cast, and crew have worked to keep her passion for science and archaeology—and justice—central to the project is absolutely a dream come true!
We couldn’t be happier for you, and can’t wait to tune in on Sunday night at 9/8C!
DANA: Julie, thanks to you and the Wickeds for the chance to chat with you!
The world premiere of “Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery” is June 4, 9/8C on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Stars: Courtney Thorne-Smith and James Tupper.
Brilliant, dedicated, and driven, archaeologist Emma Fielding is trying to unearth evidence of a 17th century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown, one of the most significant archaeological finds in years. But the dead body that accompanies it has embroiled Emma and her students in a different kind of exploration.
Here are some clips from the show:
Yay for Dana! This is so exciting. Are there parts of the film that diverge from your story? If so, how was that for you?
This is the first time I wish I had a TV! Guess I’ll just have to dig up the books. Gosh. 😉
I’m so happy for you Dana! Thanks for stopping by today so we could celebrate with you!
Congratulations, Dana! Can’t wait.
Congratulations! I’ve had it set up to record for a week. So exciting! I am fascinated by archaology and I’ve met Dana. (I feel like I know her, through the wonders of social media)
I cannot wait to see this on Sunday, and look forward to live tweeting it!
Congratulations Dana! I’m looking forward to watching Sight Unseen on Sunday, and to reading your books!
I am currently reading Sight Unseen. You can bet I will be watching the movie on Sunday.
I have become slightly addicted to Hallmark’s mystery movies, so you can bet I’ll be tuning in. Maybe Monday night if not Sunday. (Got to love that DVR.)
Will anyone be tweeting the movie on West Coast time? Or will all of you be three hours ahead of me?
Diane Vallere is west coast tweeting. It is actually a lot of fun, and I am also going to be DVRing. Hallmark M&M is why I still have cable. I love that channel.
Loved hearing the backstory on the series here, Dana! There was a moment when I thought my Art History degree was going to morph into an archaeology degree 🙂 I can’t wait to watch the movie! (and yes, Mark, I’ll be live tweeting on West Coast time.)
I have been looking forward to seeing this new addition to the Hallmark series; reading this post has just enhanced my interest. It’s always nice to learn a bit about the author of a series, thanks.
I love this series and can’t wait to see the movie. Any chance we’ll be getting some new Emma Fielding adventures now?
ALMOST makes me wish I had a working TV, but I still have far too many unread emails and books.
Super congratulations, Dana! I am really looking forward to this series appearing on screen!
Dana, this looks like great mystery fun. Congratulations!
Julie, I know I saw the retweet hashtags somewhere and now can’t find them. Please repost!
Oh, never mind. They’re up at the start of this post!
Congratulations, Dana! This is the COOLEST thing. Set it to record last week, the instant I heard about it.
Congrats Dana! Watching it now! Any chance of reprints on the books? Used seem scarce or very dear!
holdenj, have you tried abe.com? They are a clearinghouse with many vendors, and they have some of the Emma Fielding books for $5 and under, with free shipping. They operate much like Amazon MarketPlace — with many of the same vendors and often lower prices. I’ve used them for years and found them to be very reliable.
Thanks, I will check it out!
Wow, thank you, everyone! I was on vacation when this posted–I hope you enjoyed the movie!
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