Books to Film

I received an email the other day asking if Ellie Hatcher or Samantha Kincaid would be coming to screens any time soon. Despite having an actual credible Hollywood agent and the usual conversations, I won’t hold my breath until film is in the can. The email did have me wondering why this is probably the most common question of authors. The person who asked me is a much appreciated reader of many many books, and in that context the questions is precisely that – a question about the status of my work.

But in other contexts the question carries other connotations. When Michael Connelly and I toured Quantico together (“Bobby DeNiro told me not to name drop,” whatever), we encountered a small group of people taking a tour. We were introduced and it was clear no one had heard of either of us. But when mention was made of a movie based on one of Michael’s books, suddenly he was a superstar. Of course, he actually is a superstar, but that’s not my point. My point is that his superstar status has nothing, or at least shouldn’t have anything, to do with his books.

Why do people (particular non-readers) use the book-to-film project as a proxy for success? Is it because they actually believe that any real book gets made into a movie? Is it because they want to know if you’re rich, and they believe (somewhat correctly) that authors only get mad cash through film deals? Or is it a secret way to change the conversation from something they don’t care about (books) to something we all love to dish about (celebs)? I know I shouldn’t think about this too hard, because people are just trying to make friendly conversation. But, seriously, why do friendly conversations always lead to this place?