You need to hear this story.
Because it’s funny, and just plain unbelievable on so many levels. I thought I’d immortalize it in a blog post, so that years from now, when my Instagram and Text message threads are all deleted, I would be able to remind my kids that I was right. Things happen for a reason. Always.
The Wednesday night before my birthday, I was chatting with my agent on the phone about two production houses that were interested in my latest book, In This Life. I placed her on speaker and checked my Instagram which was buzzing with a new message.
“Oh, hey, I have a message from someone asking about film rights or something,” I said to her.
“Who is it?” she asked.
“I don’t know, I need to read it when we hang up.”
And so I did. It was a very respectful letter, telling me about how he had picked up my book by mistake, while looking for another book, and that he was hooked after the first 50 pages. That he couldn’t put it down. And that if he did finish this book, it would be the first one he’s finished since 2011. This was the start of many, many messages, going back and forth. Funny ones – he posted a picture of another book with the same title, and I was too afraid to say, “that’s not my book.” He was joking, of course. He said, “bear with me, I’m a slow reader.” But the messages kept coming, we talked about various stages of the book, the characters, his reaction to what was happening.
CB: I still can’t believe you’re reading my book.
AB: Why are you so surprised?
CB: Because you’re Adrian Bellani, actor, boyfriend of Sloane, I just can’t believe it.
Three days later, in the middle of a very tense meeting, I received the message that would become this book’s blessing. “I finished. I lived it, I loved it, it was beautiful.”
Mutual trust was born after that, I think. Our conversations shifted to texts and we talked about the characters, who would be perfect for the role, changes or additions to the story Adrian wished to see, his plans, how he saw Jude, how he loved Jude, how he was thrown for a loop and how he was waiting for his girl to finish reading it as well. With no contract and nothing in writing, we talked casually about how the book came about, an open dialogue about so many things I don’t normally share with people I just met.
What he didn’t know – wait, scratch that – he knew because I am so transparent, I don’t hold anything back. In a more diluted manner, what he didn’t know was how truly impressed I was with him as an artist and as a person. When you share common ideas and align on a vision with someone who totally gets the messages hidden in your words, you’d better recognize it as a gift.
Long story short, I signed over the option to produce, direct, do whatever he wanted with In This Life over to Adrian Bellani. When I told him about posting my news and writing about it on my blog, he graciously told me to tell whomever it is I wanted. On one condition. No pictures, no IMDB link. And I respect that. I respect him for that.
And so, with a grateful heart, I share this news with all of you. It hasn’t really died down yet – Adrian is moving quickly, with pitch decks and casting and different scenarios. I don’t know anything about L.A. or Hollywood (except Rodeo Drive and shopping) but if it is anything like my corporate world, there will be a lot of networking going on. I leave it all in his hands, because I know that he will make it right by Jude, Anna and Dante.
At the end of the day, I didn’t get book sales. Bloggers didn’t shout my name from the rooftops. I got lost in the huge pile of book releases and authors and sexy stories and alpha males. But because someone decided to go to the gym two weeks ago, scanned through his iPhone and picked up my book by mistake, read the first 50 pages and couldn’t put it down, I. GOT. THIS.
Bringing your characters to life in the heart of each and every reader is every humble author’s dream. This is mine too. And it just came true.
Luck, chance, serendipity and Instagram. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know.