StoryTellerMary is the winner of the DVD! Look for an email from Dana! I’m so happy that multi-talented author Dana Cameron could stop by to talk about visiting the set of third movie adapted from her books! She is giving away a DVD of the first “Emma Fielding Mysteries” installment, “Site Unseen.” (US only.)
Dana: Remember the scene in “Wayne’s World” when Wayne and Garth get all-access passes for the Alice Cooper concert? And they over-enthusiastically showed their badges to all and sundry? That’s how it kinda how it felt when I got to visit the set of “Emma Fielding Mysteries: More Bitter Than Death” last August. It’s the third movie in the series on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries is based on my fifth novel of the same name, starring Courtney Thorne-Smith as Emma Fielding, James Tupper as FBI Special Agent Connor, and Mark Valley as Duncan Thatcher. The premiere is scheduled for February 10, 2019 at 9pm Eastern—just a few days away!—and I’ll be live tweeting, so join me!
Wayne and Garth come to mind because of the giddiness I felt at getting to see how the movie was made. There were no name tags, but I did have to be escorted onto set (as did everyone who was not in the cast or crew), and I got to wear a headset to hear the acting and the instructions to the crew and cast. And I managed to stay cool, most of the time (no “we’re not worthies!”), because I didn’t want to get booted for interrupting work. And even when I didn’t move quite fast enough (there’s a lot of hustling on a set), people were really kind. “Dana, I’d like to invite you to go over to craft and have a snack” is a lot nicer than “dude, move it, we’re about to shoot over here.”
One of the neatest things I got to see was how the crew are constantly editing their work—and mine—to tell the story to their audience. It was a little strange at first, to see how the screenplay differed from my book. Then, it was really cool to watch and understand, because knowing who your audience is, and how to communicate with them, is an important part of being a professional artist.
For example—no spoilers for either the book or the movie!—some things would have been too difficult or costly to shoot. Others, like creating the character of Special Agent Jim Conner, makes sense for the TV movies to keep Emma in the thick of the investigation. In the books, I wanted everything else in Emma’s life but her marriage to be in upheaval; for movie-Emma, having her career and living situation already sorted out gives her more time to solve mysteries (and maybe even find a new love interest? No spoilers!). Some of the elements of the academic conference were a little too “inside baseball” for anyone who wasn’t an academic, and what might work in a book wouldn’t read the same way on the screen. But Phoef Sutton [http://www.phoefsutton.com/my-work/tv-and-film/] the screenwriter kept enough of it to get the flavor, create tension (and a few laughs), and scatter a few clues.
I’m a fan of the current trend of retelling stories from different points of view or set in different historical periods. They show how a story that rings true in one time or place, still works when it’s set today (or even in the future). That it’s useful to look at another character’s take on a familiar story; take BBC’s “Sherlock” episode, “The Abominable Bride,” for example, where we see very different sides of Mary Watson and Emelia Ricoletti. Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver is a wonderful example of retelling “Rumplestiltskin” in a realistic historical context.
Probably what I like best about different versions of the same story is that it starts out with the ultimate writer’s question, “What if?” And there’s always room for creative speculation.
So what’s your favorite book-to-film adaptation, or favorite retelling of a familiar story?
BIO: Dana Cameron writes across many genres, but especially crime and speculative fiction. Her work, inspired by her career in archaeology, has won multiple Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards, and has been nominated for the Edgar Award. Dana’s Emma Fielding archaeology mysteries were optioned by Muse Entertainment; the third movie, based on MORE BITTER THAN DEATH, will premiere on the Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel on February 10, 2019. When she’s not traveling, weaving, or visiting museums, she’s usually yelling at the TV about historical inaccuracies.