Boy oh boy. I’ve been sitting on this one for months, and I’m so happy to finally be able to share it with the world. Talks of a sequel started all the way back in November, and the movie deal has been rumbling along for the last month or two. It’s one thing to know that something is happening, but it never feels real until you can actually tell other people about it.
So. Some specifics. We’re shooting to have the sequel out next summer. It’s the book that I’ve been writing that’s been going under the codename TOP SECRET, and I’m 44,000 words into it so far. I imagine it will end up being around 60,000-70,000 words long. I’m shooting to have a final draft ready by August. (And I’ll say this: this is the first time I’ve written a book under contract, and it’s definitely more stressful. I think about my progress more often, and I worry if I feel like I’m falling behind. Writing and stress don’t go along too well.)
Nothing in the way of a description for you just yet. I want to make sure things are good with my publisher’s opinion before I start spreading that. At the moment, it takes place about 4 months after the events of the first book. Still focused on Benji, of course. I have a title, but for now we’ll just go with the oh-so-original working title of MEMORY THIEF 2.
On the movie side of things, there’s not a whole lot I have to offer beyond what’s been reported in Deadline and Variety. (Though can I just say that, as a movie buff who’s read plenty of news in those two publications, it was incredibly thrilling to read my own name there? A real “I’ve made it” moment, even though I know it in no way means I actually have. More on that in a second.) First off, it’s important to keep in mind that this simply means the book has been optioned. That means they’ve bought the right to make a movie, if they decide to make a movie. Actually making a movie is complex, and it can take a lot of time to get everything in order. So producers option the rights to a book so they can be guaranteed no one else will cut them off and adapt it before they get to it. There are plenty of examples of adaptations being started and then abandoned. That said, signs do look good in this case. I’d say the odds are better for this one than for the average one, but I’m keeping my expectations in check. (Always a good idea in this business.)
I doubt I will personally have too much to do with the movie. It’s not in my contract that I get to have any influence whatsoever, so there’s a fair chance the whole thing could be made without me getting to say one word about it. Of course, I’d be happy to contribute, and if the film actually does get made, I’m really hoping I’d be able to visit the set, go to the premiere, and be involved however I could be. But if you’ve got great ideas about who should star or how it should be adapted, I sadly won’t be able to really do much about them.
Some people have asked if I’m worried about them messing up the book. I’m not. Not even a little. My book is my book. A movie can’t ruin it. It can only bring more attention to it. If they do make a movie, there’s no guarantee I’ll like it, but having studied adaptation for my English Masters at BYU, I think I’ll enjoy picking it apart, no matter how good or bad it is. (Though I’ll say this: the people producing this movie have a really good track record. I loved Stranger Things, and I really want to see The Arrival. This isn’t some Mom and Pop show just looking to make a quick buck. They’ve got some serious street cred.)
Others have asked if this means I can quit my library job. My answer? Ha! No. I would have to start making some serious money, year to year, before I’d ever consider walking away from my library job. First of all, I love my job and love doing the work I do with the students here. I feel like I’m contributing to society and making the world a better place and getting paid to do it. That’s what we call a Good Deal. But beyond that, I can’t imagine how it would be if I were writing with the knowledge that the only thing keeping my family fed was the success of what I was writing. It’s been stressful enough just writing with a deadline. Making it even worse isn’t high on my To Do list. Also, abandoning steady health care at this point in time seems like a bad idea. Just saying.
We’ll see what happens with the movie. For now, I’m grateful for all the well wishes and for the attention the film deal is giving the book. (Available now everywhere books are sold!) I’m focused on the sequel and making sure it comes together well. It’s the first sequel I’ve ever written, so wish me luck.
I’ll keep you all up to date on the news as I am allowed to pass it on. In the meantime, I’m planning to post some behind-the-scenes info on THE MEMORY THIEF. Like I’ve done with books in the past, I’m going to try to write up some chapter annotations and include some deleted scenes. So keep an eye peeled for those.
If you have any questions about things I haven’t covered, feel free to ask. I’m happy to answer. Thanks again!