Today is release day of Jay Bell’s Something Like Thunder and to celebrate we have Jay with us talking about the progress in the film version of his first book Something Like Summer. So why not catch up on the news and enter the mega-giveaway Jay is so generously offering…..
From Book to Movie
Ever play that game with a friend, after you’ve both read a book, where you try showing them how you picture each character? You might send them photos of models or celebrities that near the image in your mind. Your friend will do the same in return, and sometimes you’re secretly shocked that they could get it so terribly wrong. Did they not read the same book? But no, they have a totally different mental picture. Weird, isn’t it? Lately I’ve been living through a real-life version of that game.
I wrote a book some years back called Something Like Summer. The movie version is due to start filming next month. Crazy, I know. I was taken aback myself. Excited too, of course, but past that initial rush of good feelings, there was also anxiety. I wasn’t alone because I kept getting emails from my readers that were full of sweaty-palmed worries. “What if the movie people get it wrong?” “What if it’s not good?” Oddly enough, these concerns rarely centered around how the plot would be adapted for screen, or the budget being sufficient. Most people were concerned with who would play the role of their favorite character. They would often make suggestions, pointing out celebrities they found ideal. Just like that game we talked about, no one could agree. There was no general consensus. My readers, just like your book buddy, have their own ideas. The hair color was usually right, but that’s where the similarities stopped. Some people saw the characters as being beefy, others pictured them as skinny. Some were envisioned as baby faced, others rugged, and so on. Had I failed as an author? Do the descriptions in my books suck? Erm… I prefer to think that human imagination can’t be controlled. A character description might offer guidance, but from there we tend to fill in the blanks with our own fantasies. How then could the movie producers ever cast the right actors?
They couldn’t. Not if going by appearance alone. The character descriptions weren’t completely ignored though. The producers have done a commendable job in that department. Ben Baur looks a lot like the drawing my husband did of Jace. Or is the reverse true? Regardless, it’s great he’ll be playing that character. Is he an exact match? No. None of the actors who have been cast are. I’m not sure that would have been possible without sacrificing something much more crucial—the spirit of each character. Ben Baur’s most important attribute? When it comes to this project, it’s his easy charm. Oh sure, he’s ridiculously talented and an experienced actor. That’s great, but go watch an interview with the guy and try not to like him. I dare you. It’s impossible.
Jace Holden is that kind of character, which makes Ben Baur perfect for the role, regardless of any similarities in appearance. Or how about the star of the story, Benjamin Bentley, the guy with the amazing voice? Austin McKenzie might look like him, but oh daddy, just wait until you hear him sing!
Then there’s Tim Wyman, who lives with the burden of being extremely attractive (poor guy, I know) which causes some people to overlook his more artistic side. Davi Santos, who will be playing him, is sexy. No doubt about that, but I like more that Davi has written, directed, and produced his own films . A creative impulse is more important to Tim’s character than a handsome face.
I’ll admit I was biting my nails before the lead roles were cast. Not any more though because this experience has taught me something very important. It’s not the appearance of a character that matters. We don’t love Harry Potter because he wears round glasses, has dark hair, and sports a scar on his forehead. He wouldn’t be a different character if J.K. Rowling decided to make him blond or wear contacts. We love Harry Potter because he’s the ultimate underdog. If we can’t relate to his plight, then at the very least we can sympathize with him. It’s great that movie producers for those films were able to match the character descriptions more or less, but it’s Daniel Radcliff’s meek awkwardness and occasional jut-jawed bravery that really made him feel like Harry Potter.
Ever since the Something Like Summer movie was cast, I now view my characters in a different light. I still picture them as I did before. Maybe that will change when I see the actors in action. Or maybe it won’t. Regardless, as this series continues to march on (Book six! Thunder!! Today!!!) I now look to the heart of each character first. Appearance is secondary. I suppose that’s also part of loving them, and love in general. My husband was a well-muscled college boy when I first met him, and while I still find him every bit as delicious fifteen years later, what draws me to him these days is who he is as a person. If you happen to read my books, I hope that’s appeal for you too—characters that you still enjoy spending time with, like comfortable old friends. But uh… that doesn’t mean you can’t email me photos of hot guys who match your imagination. It is a really fun game.
Something Like Thunder by Jay Bell
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
This isn’t a coming out story. Nor is it the tale of a lonely heart seeking companionship. This is about how I learned to fight.
My name is Nathaniel Courtney and I’m a survivor. I didn’t let the cruelty of others wear me down, and I’ve weathered the more subtle hardships of the heart. Love is a Trojan horse, slipping past your guard and leaving you ransacked and vulnerable. I emerged from that war not unscathed but as a new man. The only mistake I ever made was letting the right guy get away. Now I’ve got one more chance. This is the final battle, because if I fail now… I won’t. You’ll see. Just listen to my story, Kelly Phillips, and when I’m done, please don’t walk away. Take this weary soldier into your arms so we can find peace together.
Something Like Thunder is the sixth book in the on-going Something Like… series, shedding light on past events while leading the reader toward an exciting new future.
Mark will be reading and reviewing Something Like Thunder so make sure you don’t miss out when the review goes up!
Book 1: Something Like Summer –> http://bit.ly/1Gxlq9I
Book 2: Something Like Winter –> http://bit.ly/1FyGyjM
Book 3: Something Like Autumn –> http://bit.ly/1bET4lK
Book 4: Something Like Spring –> http://bit.ly/1QLEGIX
Book 5: Something Like Lightning –> http://bit.ly/1Gxm6vS
Connect with the Author
I’m always a little bit uncomfortable writing about myself. It feels too egocentric. Then again, I enjoy stalking people online, so it’s only fair I allow others to do the same.
My name, if you haven’t guessed already, is Jay Bell and I was born February 19th, 1977 in Merriam, Kansas. For simplicity’s sake let’s say I grew up there, although I also spent a decade in Missouri and Texas somewhere in between. I suppose my childhood could be summed up in two words: rebellious nerd. Come to think of it, that pretty much covers my teen and adult years as well.
I was never much for school. Professionally I got by doing tech support or other computer related jobs. While working in Lawrence, Kansas I met my future husband. Andreas was an exchange student from Germany, a country I hadn’t given much prior thought to. Andreas was that just-right combination of handsome, intelligent, kind, and talented for me to fall in love. What he saw in me is the real mystery, but we packed up the cats and moved to Germany to get married.
Not being able to speak German left me blissfully unemployable and allowed me to focus full time on my writing. I’ve always loved books, delving into fantastic worlds and letting myself get lost there. I grew up marvelling at the creative genius of C.S. Lewis, Piers Anthony, Robert Asprin, Terry Brooks, even that guy that wrote the Mr. Men books. The list could go on and on. It’s a daunting task to try and add my own stories to the countless volumes already out there, but I’m giving it my best.
Anything else you’d like to know, feel free to ask. Reading my blog will reveal most of my hobbies and interests as well. Or you can check out the interviews below. And hey, just so this isn’t all about me, feel free to tell me about yourself below. We can start our own biography party!
Check these prizes out!!! Jay will be giving away the following;
1) Any book from his back catalogue (excluding Thunder), in eBook or Paperback format
2) A set of autographed art cards (http://www.jaybellbooks.com/art-cards-and-autographs/)
3) A $25 Amazon gift certificate
4) A download code for any of my Audible audiobooks