Sunday, June 24, 2012

CBLS Guest Post: Cege Smith

Today Cege Smith is guest posting here at Wenches! Let's give Cege a warm Wenches welcome!

Hollywood Calls

When we authors are supposed to be writing, frequently we find ourselves partaking in a much more passive activity: daydreaming. Something that can be very fun to daydream about is getting the call from some bigshot Hollywood producer that they want to make your book into a movie. It can happen. Hugh Howey recently scored a movie deal with Ridley Scott. (That announcement coincided with a huge spike in author daydreaming by the way).

If I got the call someone in Hollywood that they wanted to make the Shadows series into a couple of mega-blockbusters, I’d probably listen with half an ear. Okay, let’s be realistic. I’d be passed out on the floor with shock. After I came to and picked myself back up off the floor, I’d listen to what they’d have to say.

I think the biggest concern I’d have would be how they’d want to change things in effort to appease the masses. Because as flattered as I would be, I know one thing for certain: I have NEVER seen a movie that’s been as good as the book. It’s hard to crunch all the crucial elements of a story into a two-hour timeframe. So some things get skipped, some get modified, and some things change altogether.

Here’s how I think it could go down:

Although the movie producers love the idea of having Edge of Shadows (Shadows #1) based in Minnesota, they’d convince me that it was best to shoot the exterior shots of the haunted Bradford mansion using an old southern plantation home. I’d give in because I would negotiate in a plane ticket for me to see the filming and that would feed my obsession with old mansions.

Ellie Coulter, my main character, is a thirty-something divorcee who is finding out that she has a pretty significant destiny. The producers would tell me that the movie would be more popular if we made Ellie a twenty-something whose boyfriend had just dumped her instead. I’d acquiesce on the plot deviation only when they agreed to cast Kate Beckinsale as Ellie. She’s the right age for Ellie’s character in the book, but she’s got features that could lead viewers to believe she’s younger. Plus she’s gorgeous.

Ellie’s feelings for David Mitchell, the doctor who romances her, is a key subplot in the series. Her feelings for him are immediate and intense. She sacrifices everything for him to keep him safe, even though he doesn’t realize it at the time. Although I do create the possibility of a love triangle with the villain, Mikel, in Shadows Deep (Shadows #2), there is no doubt that Ellie is David’s perfect match. To give the movie the proper amount of romantic tension, the producers would push to increase the attraction that Ellie has to Mikel. I would be okay with that as long as they maintained the integrity of Ellie’s feelings for David. Those run strong and deep, and shouldn’t be called into question.

At the end of the day, I understand that Hollywood requires some creative freedom to push angles and storylines that they think will make the movie more appealing to a greater number of viewers. But the important thing for me is always staying true to my characters and their stories. So while I may be willing to compromise on some things, I would want to make sure that what readers love about the series is still intact.

That’s probably why I would never completely sign over my rights to Hollywood. Somebody has to watch over my characters and the best person to do that is me. Of course, this is all just my daydream. Back to writing!

Book Info:

Title: Shadows Deep (Shadows, Part II)
Author: Cege Smith
Publisher: Self
Length: 70,000 words
Genres: Horror, Paranormal (Non-Romance)

Available at:

Ellie Coulter made a deal with the devil, and now it’s time to pay the price. Little did she know, the shadows that have swirled around her life since her parents’ death were not a coincidence. As Ellie's destiny is revealed, it comes with the knowledge that her fate is the lynchpin in a far larger, and more dangerous game. And the one who found her has no intention of ever letting her go.

Ellie walks a fine line between keeping up the appearance of acceptance while gathering the information she needs to escape. Along the way, she has to decide who to trust and that includes the man she loves.  As facts give way to lies, Ellie begins to question everything.

With her true intentions on the verge of being discovered, Ellie must find a way to defeat her captor before she becomes a shadow herself.

Letting go was one of the hardest things a person could ever do. Ellie knew that. What happened when she let go of the idea that reality as she knew it was merely a cover on a rabbit hole? She had willingly taken the cover off and fallen down into the unknown darkness. She’d surrendered. Somehow it felt easier that way. But the Voice kept picking at her even though she was deep in her hidey hole. It wouldn’t leave her alone.

“What was it like for you when your parents died?”

Ellie had answered some variation of that question what seemed like a million times over the years, but her response always paled in comparison to the effect of that one event on the rest of her life. How could she explain the depth of pain she felt when the two people who she loved most were ripped out of her life? Or the excruciating, almost debilitating sense of loneliness that followed when she finally comprehended that she was completely alone in the world?

“I was eight,” Ellie replied. “I had no other family. One minute I was surrounded by love. In the blink of an eye I was an orphan. What do you think it was like?” No one could understand what she had been through, and eventually she gave up trying to explain. Her parents’ death was just something that happened to her a long time ago. Ellie preferred to leave that buried there.

“I am sure it was difficult. But you obviously learned to cope, even thrive.”

“Thrive isn’t the word I’d choose,” Ellie said. “I learned how to survive. Eventually I learned ways to be happy again, but I did that on my own. I never felt like I belonged anywhere again.”

The Voice was silent for a while and Ellie was relieved. When it wasn’t poking at her, the darkness was peaceful. Ellie was used to being alone.

“Tell me about your ability. You’ve linked that to your parents’ death.”

Ellie was tired of the questions. They had covered the same ground over and over again. But it was like the Voice was missing some nuance, and so it all started again. Combing through her life. Looking for clues. “I noticed it the first time at the funeral. I was standing there in the cemetery, looking at their caskets, with the social worker beside me. I kept looking around for more people, but it was just the three of us: me, the social worker, and the minister. And then I noticed that the longer the minister spoke, the more these colors seemed to grow out of him. It didn’t make any sense at the time. The colors were deep purple and blue and they got more vivid every time he made eye contact with me. It scared the hell out of me. I didn’t know what to do.”

A familiar cloud of sadness fell over her thoughts as she remembered that lost little girl. “When the service was over, I wanted to kick and scream and lash out. I wanted to push over those caskets because I convinced myself they were empty and it was some elaborate hoax. Any minute they would appear to take me home. But it wasn’t a hoax. My parents raised me to think that showing emotion in public wasn’t ladylike, so as desperately as I wanted to throw a tantrum, I knew they wouldn’t approve. I looked at the social worker and she had a glow of white tinged with yellow around her. Even though I didn’t know what it meant, the colors were soothing. I had to accept that I was left with nothing but this woman to take care of me. I was naive and automatically assumed that she was kind and that she’d be good to me.”

“She wasn’t?”

Ellie sighed. “After twenty-five years of reading auras, I know now that she was indifferent. She probably saw a dozen kids just like me every week. Her aura meant that she was at peace and even slightly happy, but it had nothing to do with me. I was part of her job, and while I was watching my parents be buried, she was probably thinking about getting a manicure or going home and having a glass of wine. Me, I had no home left.”

“You went into foster care.”

“Yes, and in foster care I stayed until I applied for emancipation when I was sixteen.” She remembered the day that the court approved her request. It had been bittersweet.

“Your ability must have been advantageous in that kind of hostile environment.”

“If you mean it helped keep me out of trouble, then probably it did. But I was always a good kid. I studied hard, got decent grades, and generally stayed out of everyone’s way.  I never gave my foster families any reason to really concern themselves with me. I wanted to be invisible. I was pretty good at it,” Ellie said. She had closed herself off from anyone who tried to reach her. It was a defense mechanism that worked well. Perhaps too well.

“Until you met Veronica.”

A face flashed in Ellie’s mind. A pretty blond with infectious laughter. Whereas her parents’ faces had faded over time, Roni’s was vivid and seemed so real that Ellie almost thought her friend was there with her in the darkness.

“Roni just wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Ellie said. “She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. And for some reason she wanted to be my friend. I owe her a lot.” It was strange talking about Veronica. Those memories were under strict lock and key for a reason.

About the Author:
Cege Smith is a Minnesota based writer who is addicted to lattes and B-rated horror films. She had been crafting spooky stories since she was twelve years old. She lives with her husband, two adorable stepsons, and mini long-hair dachshund, Juliet in the suburbs of Minneapolis.

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1 comment:

Cege Smith said...

Thank you for hosting me today!