On Writing Books & Dreaming of Movie Versions

Before every book’s release, everything seems possible: This will be the one, this one will be widely read, and receive accolades; this one will top the New York Times Bestseller list. Ellen will call. And then inevitably the book comes out and you get up early and check your Amazon ranking. Not Number One Not even close. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and the day after that and the day after that. And you continue to dream, begin boldly to imagine the movie version…

I was part of the Authors Corner at the Ask Rayceen Show in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
Author's Corner, The Ask Rayceen Show
One of the questions Rayceen asked each of us authors was which of our books we saw as a movie and who did we want the lead actors to be. I didn’t have a ready answer, stumbled through a response. But it wasn’t the right answer. I’ve been obsessing over the right answer ever since. I know on one level this obsessive pondering of this question was partly due to my OCD—which now thanks to a wonderful doctor and the miracle of pharmaceuticals, is much less pronounced than it was, but still there, still persistent. 

Now, more than two weeks after my new book, In His Eyes was released, I know the answer.  The answer is In His Eyes. Divided into 139 vignettes, or short chapters, I wrote it as a play with each vignette being an act, at the end of which there is a fade to black and then the next act begins.  There are four characters: Micah, Skye, Calvin and Reid. Here are the actors I see playing them. I would, of course, want Patrik-Ian Polk to direct.)
  • Skye: Darryl Stephens from Noah s Ark.
  • Reid:  Benjamin Farmer from the Falls movie trilogy.
  • Calvin: Jensen Atwood, also from Noah’s Ark.
  • Micah: This is the only character I can’t think of an actor for. So, here’s what I’m going to do. Read the excerpt below which details the first meeting between Micah and Calvin. Then in the comments section suggest an actor. You will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of “In His Eyes.” (Or another signed book from my backlist, if you prefer)

EXCERPT: 19. The Kiss of God

Jensen Atwood (Calvin)
The bakery was a delight to the senses, a wonderland of confections barely imaginable. Though he knew what he wanted, Micah looked carefully into every case, breathing deeply. Dozens of confectioner’s delights, each on its own fragile white doily, lay behind glass like glittering jewels on white velvet. Even the air was sweet, exotic, perfumed as it was with Madagascar Vanilla and Egyptian cinnamon.

“Can I help you?” the young woman asked, stepping behind the counter and dusting flour from her hands. Micah gestured towards a tray of oatmeal cookies fat with raisins and walnuts.

Calvin watched Micah through the bakery’s windows. Even with his back turned, Calvin could tell he was gorgeous, but it was Micah’s hands, which moved as he spoke to the baker, that mesmerized him. Micah’s elegant fingers inscribed graceful shapes on the air, arabesques and curlicues, capturing tendrils of cinnamon-scented air, then letting them go.

Watching his hands, Calvin was reminded of falling leaves—if falling leaves could express grace, and sensitivity and humor; if falling leaves could pick themselves up, and, soaring, cause his breath to catch in his throat; if falling leaves could move him to catch them in his hand and hold them forever.

As if he’d felt Calvin’s eyes on him, Micah turned towards the door. His suddenly revealed face caused Calvin’s breath to catch in his throat, again, for Micah’s face bore the kiss of God.

Like a man in a dream, Calvin opened the bakery door and, halfway between sleep and wake, went to meet his destiny.

“Hello,” he said.

“Good afternoon,” the woman behind the counter said cheerfully. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”

Disappointed, Calvin nodded at her and stepped closer to Micah. “Hello,” he said again.
Micah turned and found himself looking into a pair of enormous green eyes that dominated the handsome man’s face. “Hi.”

“Listen, this might seem forward, but I’ve seen you around campus, and I was passing by and saw you, so thought it was time we met. I’m Calvin.”

“Nice to meet you, Calvin. I’m Micah.”

“So, what did you get?” Calvin asked, gesturing towards the display cases.

“Oatmeal cookies.”

Calvin raised an eyebrow. “Come now. With all these magical treats to choose from? I would have credited you with more imagination than that.”

“I know. It’s kind of a dull choice, but it’s my roommate’s birthday and he only eats oatmeal cookies.”

“OK, that’s a half-pound,” the woman behind the counter called out. Micah glanced in her direction, barely looking at the pile of cookies on the scale. “Can I have another half-pound?”

He turned back to Calvin. “So, do you go to school here?” they asked at the same time. Then, laughed.

Micah responded first. “I do. You?”

“Yes. You undergrad?”

Calvin nodded. “Sophomore.”

“I’m in law school. First year.”

“One pound of oatmeal cookies. Anything else?” She placed a white box, neatly tied with red and white string, onto the top of the counter.

“No, nothing else,” Micah said, handing her a ten-dollar bill.

As Micah pocketed his change, and picked up the box, she asked Calvin, almost seductively, “And what can I get you?”

Calvin, without looking at her, waved his hand and followed Micah out the door.

“So, Micah. Can I call you?”

“Micah smiled. “Sure. Got a pen and paper?”

Calvin took back the pen and paper. “Thanks. I’ll call you. Soon.”

Micah waved and walked off. “Hey,” Calvin called after him. “Wish your roommate happy birthday for me.”

Here’s a bonus excerpt from the first time Skye and Reid meet.

EXCERPT 2: 30. Tuesday’s Child

Darryl Stevens (Skye)
Skye had been watching the redhead since he’d entered the cafeteria and gotten in line. Short and muscular, he was sturdily built. There was a hint of baby fat in the slight puffiness of his face and the thickness at his waist, and a vestigial innocence lingered about his eyes and mouth. There was something sexy about him. Masculinity wafted off him like perfume; its heady scent caught Skye’s balls in the vice grip of desire.
When he finally got to Skye’s station, Skye smiled at him brightly. The redhead scowled in return.

“C’mon, smile,” Skye said, “or I won’t give you any mashed potatoes.”

The redhead’s face tightened. “Nothing to smile about.”

“You were born on a Wednesday, weren’t you?”

“Excuse me?” he spluttered, unnerved by the non sequitur.

“Wednesday’s child is full of woe.”

Stung, he shot back, “And you? I suppose you were born on the Sabbath day being all bonny and blithe.”

“And gay?” Skye chirped, cocking his head to one side. “Alas, no. I was born on a Tuesday.
Benjamin Farmer (Reid)
Tuesday’s child is full of grace.”

The redhead grunted.

“I’m Skye, by the way,” Skye offered as the redhead slid his tray away.

“Reid,” he replied grudgingly, wanting only to get away.

“OK, Reid. I hope your day gets better.”

Reid turned around, astonished.

“OK,” Skye continued, waving, “y’all come back and see us again, y’hear?”

Now, Reid laughed and, shaking his head, walked away.


Yu can buy In His Eyes on Amazon, or visit your local independent bookseller and ask for it.


  1. When i first read the book Adrian Brody became my Micah! The long fingers and green eyes i guess but I love him for Micah :)

    1. Hmmm...I just looked him up. Interesting choice. Do the others seem right to you--I mean can you imagine them as those characters?

    2. Ben Wishaw. Such eyes. (Polly Johnson)

  2. Or Donald Glover, if green eyes aren't vital. (Polly)


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