Jack said something random to me the other day, which was well motivated but didn’t make sense to me. He suggested that my three books could become a way to raise money for mental health charities. Afterall both of us have been passionate about our work for non-profit charities.
I reminded Jack that the money my books have made so far would make a disappointing donation. (ALTHOUGH EVERY PENNY COUNTS AND THE BACKBONE OF MOST CHARITIES ARE REGULAR SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS.)
He has more of a business mind than I do and more of a creative mind. He said we need to market the books, and get big names involved. My face contorted at the word “celebrities”. Well he whittered on for a while with all these ideas that frankly I was ignoring. But then he said something that did capture my attention.
Jack started talking about how much money could be made if a production company dramatised Annabelle’s story. (You see how he appealed to the part of me that cares so much about my main character and wants people to get to know her.) He thinks (and I think his feelings for me are blinding his judgement) that there is great material in the book, especially the contrast of Dean Mather’s character and the dip into the music industry that is part of the story.
He said that submitting the lyrics of the songs in the books to powerful song writing forces like Taylor Swift and the writers she has worked with (I did point out to him that Dean’s band Mildew are supposed to be a grunge rock band) and seeing if they would be willing to produce a track (or all three tracks) and use it to raise money for mental health charities. Top recording artists can generate enormous sales/streams etc. Although I am not someone who approves of lots of money lining the pockets of individuals, I do approve of lots of money getting into the hands of responsible charities.
We ended the conversation with me laughing at Jack’s ideas. But I think any writer can relate to how much it discombobulated me. For anyone who has written a novel (or a three part series), the thought of seeing the story as a movie or a television production is so exciting.
- I would love to see the town of Blackwood with it’s white picket fences and lovable vintage generation (and of course the nefarious gossipers).
- I would love to see Annabelle and Chris in New York.
- I would love to see bad boy Dean Mathers and Mildew play at Madison Square Gardens.
- I would love to see the Switzerland scenes – they would be breathtaking.
- I would love to see the English countryside scenes in West Berkshire – and the beautiful estate at Inkpen. That whole English wealthy class, tweed jackets, wellington boots, horses, dogs, going for shoots culture that Annabelle is baffled by.
- I would love to see the key events of the book…happy and sad being dramatised.
- I would love to see these amazing minor characters – Ralph Crabbe, Gina Ward (my personal favourite), Burt and Pearl, Dean Mathers, George and Carol Riley, Stephen and Fiona Grainger, Nick and Anna, Angharad and Maggie (even Jenna, Amber and Margo!) on a screen.
- I would love to see a talented actress who could one moment be a beautiful energetic woman become someone who is overwhelmed with guilt and her mistakes and unwilling to communicate with those who care about her.
- I would love to see two great actors play Chris and Robin – and leave the audience split between who they like the most and think is best for Annabelle.
Yes Jack knew just how to pull on my heart strings. But by myself I have no power and no resources to turn a story I wrote into a tool that could generate money for charities. I would love to sign it all over to those who knew how to produce entertainment. It would be immensely satisfying (as any other writer would agree) to see what started on the dashboard in my head and became Annabelle’s story, jump from page to screen. I would love someone like Taylor Swift to take the three songs and make them something that could make money for charities. It would be sooooooooo exciting to see those words become real music.
Jack dreams big. He dreams big on my behalf. I have no head for money making at all. I chose the minimum charge when pricing my paperback book, which means every time someone buys a paperback, Amazon make some money but I do not make a single penny. I make $1 each time someone downloads a Kindle copy.
If I thought the LEARNERS AT LOVE series could be a fund-raising tool for charities, I would be totally stoked. But I don’t have the expectations Jack has for my writing. It is very sweet of him though. In a way, that’s what Annabelle did for Dean. She believed in him. She saw the teenager who played the guitar in a basement with his pals, become an international rock star.
I am still going over every page, every paragraph, every punctuation mark editing my books to perfection – and I feel as if I may be doing that for weeks to come. I also think the cover for Book Three needs to be more similar in colour to the first two books.
Meanwhile there are new characters in my head that want to have their own story told. They will have to wait though. I want to do Annabelle Riley justice and give her my full attention.
If Annabelle ended up becoming a fundraiser for mental health charities (which is what Jack wants her to be) then that would be the absolute dream ending for the character I am so proud of.
But I will say this…it is very touching to have someone who believes in you. Jack and I may have different dreams. But it is inspiring to hear him come up with all these ideas. I am someone who enjoys writing. I have worked thousands of unpaid hours for charities and I don’t have a business or money making mind. I try to avoid owning anything other than the contents of one suitcase. I wrote a dramatic story set in exciting locations, but I don’t know how to take a decent photograph (and have to use Pixabay images for all my blogging posts). I wrote song lyrics for each of the three books but I don’t have a musical bone in my body – that’s why we need Taylor Swift.
I would love to hand over the books to people who know how to make money, make screen productions and make music – and for them to become a fundraising tool. I would love any profit generated to end up in the hands of mental health charities who help people in times of crisis. That is something I am sure Annabelle Riley would feel passionately about. That is something I feel passionately about.