I’m trying to swear less around my daughter, especially now that she’s three and repeats so much of what we say. This is not easy as I tend to swear a lot. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to help.
For example, I get home from work and sit down at the dining room table with dinner. I pop open my laptop and see an e-mail from my agent about The Warehouse, which had already sold to Crown and was doing bangin business in foreign territories.
The e-mail is simple enough: there are multiple offers for film or TV, and which would I prefer? I thought about it for a few minutes and responded that it’s a nearly impossible question to answer, and I would think about it some more, but my gut was telling me TV.
His response was: Well what if it’s a film and Ron Howard is the director?
I’m pretty sure I yelled “what the fuck!”
The kiddo was immersed in Peppa Pig so, luckily, it seemed to fly over her head. I relayed the exchange to my wife and I think she used a swear word, too. What other response is there to news like that?
What followed was a bunch of back-and-forth and some other offers I had to at least consider because they were pretty damn cool, but I never strayed too far from thinking: Yes, I want my book to be adapted by Ron Howard.
When I was a kid, I nearly wore out my VHS copies of Apollo 13 and Backdraft. That’s not even a cute thing I made up to make the news seem more impactful. It’s true. Ron Howard was one of the first directors I could cite by name. I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time. The dude knows how to make a movie.
During the auction period, Apollo 13 was playing on Showtime. I re-watched it one night because it felt like a sign. The movie has lost none of its luster.
We accepted the deal from Imagine Entertainment over a week ago. I told family members and close friends, but I was waiting on the press release before I could make it “Facebook official.” Of course I wanted to shout it from a mountaintop but I was on their timeline.
I thought I’d get some warning. Of course I didn’t. Last night I was at the James Beard house having a fancypants dinner with my wife and a friend of ours, and my agent texted me, telling me to read my e-mail ASAP, because the story was already live at Deadline.
Real talk: I shared the link on Facebook and Twitter with shaking hands. Then I pocketed my phone and looked up and my wife had already gotten us glasses of champagne. I told myself I’d enjoy the dinner without looking at my phone again, but of course it didn’t work out like that.
This is nuts. Seriously. My first four (and soon five) books came out from a small press. Polis does a hell of a job for me but book promo has always felt like a full-contact game of inches. You break your ass in half and, frankly, it doesn’t always pay off. You feel like you’re endlessly chasing something and it’s always out of reach. Out of sight, even, over the horizon line.
You spend so much time running, sometimes you want to stop running. The last book in the Ash McKenna series (Potter’s Field, pre-order it here!) is coming out in July, and I’d already decided I wanted to take a bit of a break. I’m going to promote it of course, but probably no touring. I didn’t want to beat myself up so much over those inches.
And then all this. Surreal doesn’t quite describe it. Fucking insanity gets close.
I know the reality of this: The movie is optioned. That doesn’t mean it’ll get made. But to know the guy who is currently doing a Star Wars movie might be talking about The Warehouse on the promo circuit in a few weeks—that’s pretty rad.
And in case you were wondering (because in telling close friends and family I have been asked a dozen times) I am not writing the script. My pal Jordan Harper (who wrote She Rides Shotgun, which just won an Edgar, but who also works in Hollywood) said the author of a book is the worst person to adapt it.
I don’t know that language anyway. I’d rather someone who knows how to write a screenplay take a crack at it. The book is in good hands. I feel confident about that.
Quick shout-out to Jordan, who gave me some really good advice through this process (seriously, read his book), as well as, of course, my agent Josh Getzler and my film agent Lucy Stille. Josh and Lucy just killed this.
There are three big boxes when it comes to a book sale—the American deal, the film deal, and the foreign deals. We’ve checked all three (more very exciting news on foreign soon). My boss, who has worked in publishing for more than 40 years, asked me if I knew this book was going to hit like this.
And of course, no, I did not. I have a hard time seeing past my mistakes and the things I could be doing better. When I first sent this book to my agent I thought it was a mess, and when he told me he had minimal editorial notes, I didn’t even know how to take it.
It’s just gotten more absurd from there, but I think I’m finally getting to a place where I can say with some degree of confidence: I think I wrote a pretty okay book.