Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guest Blogger: Debbi Mack!

I'm thrilled today to have a guest blogger and fellow writer here today as she rides through the month of November on her Twenty Questions Blog Tour -- author of the hardboiled mystery, IDENTITY CRISIS, Debbi Mack. Please help me in welcoming Debbi, as she talks about something very near and dear to my heart - the movies.

Question 11: Can you picture your books being made into films? If so, who would you want to play your protagonist?

First, I'd like to say it's really awesome to be a guest on Karen's blog, Fiction for Dessert. I've gotten to know Karen from Sisters in Crime, Chesapeake Chapter. We both had short stories in the chapter's anthology CHESAPEAKE CRIMES: THEY HAD IT COMIN'. I feel like Karen is not only a kindred indie author spirit, but a friend.

One of the things I like most about Karen is her interest in movies. We're both hopeless movie buffs. Frankly, I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon (or evening or morning LOL) than watching a great movie.

Many of the books I've come to love I learned about by seeing the movie first. So, to me, movies are an essential part of the writing experience.

Identity Crisis

Having said that, I have to say I can totally see my novel IDENTITY CRISIS being made into a movie. There are a couple of reasons why this is so.

First, I tend to use screenplay writing structure when I develop my novels. This involves dividing the plot into three acts. The first act includes an "inciting incident." This is something that sets the plot in motion. It gives the protagonist a reason to do what she does (in this case, investigate a murder and identity theft scheme). The first act ends with a plot twist of some kind. This sends the story into yet another direction. And it should also ratchet up the suspense and conflict between the characters. In the second act, the story should keep moving forward and unfold with increasing tension and suspense. By the time you reach the third act, things (ideally) will look hopeless. The protagonist will reach a point where things look dire and she has to solve the problem in a creative way. This is the act in which the final puzzle piece falls into place and the protagonist reaches a resolution before the story comes to an end.

If this sounds formulaic or easy, think again. Coming up with creative ways to put obstacles in the protagonist's way and cause conflict between characters, while moving the plot forward is tricky stuff. And remember you need to be planting clues along the way and all the threads and clues have to be resolved and come together in the end. So, not so easy, huh?

I followed the three-act structure when writing IDENTITY CRISIS and have used it in writing other novels, including the sequel LEAST WANTED (and a couple of other novels I'd like to publish eventually).

Second, in writing my novels, I tend to think visually. In IDENTITY CRISIS, I created a couple of scenarios I hoped would translate well into film. The book has a rather gritty (and I think evocative) scene in which my protagonist, Sam McRae, gets beaten by mobsters. It also includes a couple of car chases. (What can I say? I like car chases. Think Bullitt. Think The French Connection. Think The Seven Ups. Heck, think The Rockford Files.)

Now, having said that, who would I want to play Sam? Wow, that's a good question.

I've thought Jody Foster would be particularly good. She has the All-American looks I picture Sam having. Blue eyes, reddish-brown hair. She's also played some tough gals (Silence of the Lambs comes to mind – *shiver*).

But then I thought, even if I sold the movie rights today, how long would it take to actually make the film?

So, my choices have become younger and younger. Kirsten Dunst, maybe? Um, Kristen Bell from Veronica Mars? Ellen Page from Juno?

You can see my problem here, can't you? I suspect the best person to play Sam is probably still in diapers. LOL

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Thanks for reading, everyone! Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address if you'd like to enter the drawing for the 10 autographed copies of IDENTITY CRISIS I'm giving away. (One entry per person, but comment as often as you like.)

The drawing will be held on my blog My Life on the Mid-List after the tour is finished. Check my blog for the entire tour schedule.

And please join me at my next stop tomorrow: Tina's Book Reviews

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Debbi Mack is the author of IDENTITY CRISIS, a hardboiled mystery and the first in a series featuring lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. She's also a short story writer whose ebook anthology, FIVE UNEASY PIECES, includes the Derringer-nominated "The Right to Remain Silent," originally published in The Back Alley Webzine. Debbi's work has also appeared in two of the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES anthologies.

Be on the lookout for her next Sam McRae novel, LEAST WANTED, which will be published soon (in print and ebook versions).

Debbi practiced law for nine years before becoming a freelance writer/researcher and fiction author. She's also worked as a news wire reporter covering the legal beat in Washington, D.C. and as a reference librarian at the Federal Trade Commission. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three cats.

You can find out more about Debbi on her Web site, and her blog My Life on the Mid-List. Her books are available on Amazon,, Smashwords and other sites around the Web, as well by order at stores. You can also buy autographed copies of her novel from her Web site.

Having read and THOROUGHLY enjoyed IDENTITY CRISIS, I highly recommend you take Debbi up on this offer to win a copy of her book - you won't be disappointed. Start leaving your comments today. Oh, and I vote for Ellen Page to play Sam MacRae!!!

Thank you for stopping by Debbi, and good luck on the rest of your tour.

Debbi is also guest blogging today at Lori's Reading Corner.


L.C. Evans said...

I love mysteries and this looks like a good one. Thanks for the interview, Debbi. I wish you every success with your writing.

Debbi said...

Thanks, L.C. Would you like to be entered into the drawing for a copy of the book?

Simon Wood said...

How about Amber Tamblyn for Sam...

Debbi said...

Nice suggestion, Simon. She's got the right look.

Must admit I had to look her up on IMDB. :)

Karen Cantwell said...

I had to look her up too, Debbi! :-) She does have the look, but she's young enough to be my daughter! And I'm only . . . um . . 32?

Debbi said...

LOL! Jack Benny was never older than 39. I'm certainly no older than, say, 35? Seems judicious. :)

author Scott Nicholson said...

I'm really enjoyingt he advance read of LEAST WANTED!


Debbi said...

Thanks, Scott! :)

MysDawg said...

How about Maria Bello. A little older but I'm sure she can kick butt when necessary

Debbi said...

Maria is cool. I loved her in Thank You for Smoking. Now I just need someone to make the darned movie. :)