Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now in Theatres!

My good friend Diana Peterfreund is joining us today to talk about her experience writing the novelization of the new movie "Morning Glory," which hits theatres TODAY and stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diana Keaton, and Patrick Wilson.

Here's a blurb for both the movie and the book:

BREAKING NEWS: Ambitious young TV producer Becky Fuller is fired from a local morning show in New Jersey, and her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life.

Desperately in need of a job, yet still full of boundless optimism, Becky vows to land on her feet and stumbles into an opportunity at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: Executive producers seldom survive beyond the next commercial break, and the outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian.

Promising the head of the network that she can reverse the downward spiral, Becky makes legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy an offer he can’t contractually refuse. She successfully adds Pomeroy to the team, but he refuses to participate in any Daybreak fluff pieces and morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion, and crafts. What’s more, he takes an instant dislike to his equally difficult co-anchor, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen.The only bright spot in Becky’s career is Adam Bennett, a gorgeous fellow producer, but Daybreak’s dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen’s on-air chemistry proves more explosive every day, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, her job, and, ultimately, Daybreak itself.

Please welcome, Diana Peterfreund!

DP: Hi, Amanda! Thanks so much for having me!

AB: Glad you could be here! Let's talk writing. What was it like to write a book based on a screenplay?

DP: In a word: invigorating. I'd just come off writing ASCENDANT (a killer unicorn fantasy), which is my darkest novel to date. It was the depths of winter and I was in desperate need of writing something light and funny. When the script for Morning Glory came in, I sat on the couch and laughed my head off the whole way through. My husband, sitting in the next room, kept calling over to me and saying, "So it's good, huh?"

The process was pretty simple: they sent me a working script (there are differences between the script I had and the final film) and I tried to keep as true to the dialogue and storyline as possible. The challenges were how to translate the occasional montage into a cohesive narrative and of course, to fill in all of the action and the main character's interior thoughts. The needs of a screenplay and feature film are very different from those of a novel. In a movie, they can do a lot of visual short cuts. I can afford to be more expansive, to add in explanatory scenes and to flesh out parts that take more development on the page than on the screen. Whereas a film can get a lot of mileage from two attractive co-stars (in this case, Rachel McAdams and Patrick Wilson) making goo-goo eyes at each other, it doesn't come across as well in text, so I enjoyed adding to their romance.

After turning in the draft and doing revisions with my editor, we had to go through another round of approval with the studio and the the producers. We made some changes because they had updated the script. I had no descriptions to go by and only the stills I could find online, so sometimes I made changes to certain scenes so they'd be more in keeping with the actual sets/costumes/hair in the film. After the producers signed off on it, Random House put it into production.

AB: I usually write my books by "casting" them in my mind. Did you know who the stars of the movie would be before you agreed to write the novel?

DP: I did. In fact, that was one of the reasons I was so keen to do it. I've been a fan of Rachel McAdams since her Slings & Arrows days (an awesome Canadian show about a Shakespearean theater troupe), and I've loved Harrison Ford since my early childhood. To get the chance to write a character for Han Solo -- um, Ford? Awesome! Additionally, Patrick Wilson is from my hometown. He's a few years older than me, and I remember all the drama kids in high school would talk about him as one of the guys who "made it."

AB: How did you get involved with the project?

DP: My editor at Random House is the same one I had for all my Secret Society Girl novels. She called me up and asked me if I'd be interested in the project. I'd been hearing a lot about novelizations from some fellow writers in NINC (Novelists, Inc.) and I was keen to do the project. She thought we'd be a good fit because of the voice of my other novels. She pitched me to Paramount and they said yes.

AB: Are you working on anything new at the moment?

DP: My main project at the moment is caring for my newborn daughter. She's a month old now, and so I'm still on my one-woman shop's version of "maternity leave." But since my husband's paternity leave runs out soon, I'm going to have to figure out the details of how to be a mom and a writer all at once.

Just this week I signed on to do two new short stories for anthologies (yay!) I had so much fun with the short I had out this year: "Errant" in Kiss Me Deadly and "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" in Zombies Vs. Unicorns, and they seem to have found a readership, so I'm excited to do more. I have three in the hopper for 2011 and 2012. Additionally, I'm working on a YA post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion which should be out in 2012.

AB: OK, you hooked me with "YA post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion." Awesome! I can't wait! And congrats on your little girl!

OK, Fictionistas readers...I'm going to give away a copy of "Morning Glory: A Novel" to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment!

We'll post the winner on Friday's blog.


  1. This is a movie I have been wanting to see. In fact, I am going to talk my husband into taking me for our next date night. I will definitely have to read the book and see how they match up. I can't wait to read it!

  2. I can't wait to read this book. I love Diana's books. I would love to secret society books turned into movies as well.

    Congrats on the baby girl!

    Wendy B

  3. I didn't know there was a book!

  4. This sounds fabulous, Diana. I enjoyed learning how you do these adaptations, continue to write, and balance parenthood.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Maggie Toussaint from WRW

  5. This is way cool. After seeing Diane Keaton on the Today show, I want to see the movie. Now I want to read the book, knowing Diana wrote it!

  6. Fascinating!!!! I hope I get to do this someday!

  7. Hurray! I heard about this book at Nationals!

    I is gud sekrit keepr!

  8. Jeanette4:44 PM

    I'll definitely have to read the book since I have been waiting for this to come to theaters! Now that it's in theaters I cannot wait to see it this weekend with one of my girlfriends. I'll have to see how the book and movie match up.

  9. Stacy Bell5:02 PM

    This is so cool! I had no idea that Diana wrote this book!

  10. Can't wait to see the movie....starts tonight! WoooHooo. Congratulations on your wonderful success. And to write for Han Solo---um, Harrison Ford, WOWZER...chance of a lifetime. So cool.


  11. I can't wait to see this movie. I wonder how the book matches up.

  12. This book is now on my future "must read" list! Can't wait to see the movie and read the book!