Killer Women Dispatches #4: I preferred the book/film


Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 22.39.21The final panel session of the day at the inaugural Killer Women Crime Writing Festival was ‘I Preferred The Book/Film’, which saw Erin Kelly host a discussion with four, best-selling authors – Paula Hawkins, SJ Watson, Alex Marwood and Louise Doughty – talking about their experiences of their work being adapted for the big and small screen.

It was full of fun stories, especially SJ Watson, who recounted the time he got the call from Steven Spielberg’s production company while he was in the pub and a run-in (well, a meeting) with Nicole Kidman on the set of Before I Go To Sleep.

What was interesting, or course, was the question: how far do you get involved in an adaptation of your work. Louise Doughty, whose Apple Tree Yard is coming to BBC1 early next year, explained that she got the wobbles when she met star Emily Watson, and that the only thing she hoped asked for was that the rape scene in the book was not made sexy or titillating in the slightest. She got on very well with the director, she said, who had asked her straight away what the worst thing they could do in the adaptation.

20161015_170301Erin, whose The Poison Tree was adapted for a series by ITV, realised that she was the only one who ‘fantasy casted’ her books. The panelists said that they had mostly resisted such temptations, and that they had each decided not to get involved in the process. Louise, though, said that she enjoyed being around the writers so much, and learned so much, that she’s now working on a drama project with the team that worked on Apple Tree Yard.

Alex said that she would like to see Sabine Durrant’s Lie With Me adapted into a film or TV series.

So all in all, an excellent one-day event with some great discussion and talent on show. And cocktails. The cocktails were rather good, too. I was running around all day doing bits and bobs, and I would have liked to have attended some of the workshops (I heard particularly good things about the Sam Eades, Erin Kelly, Louise Millar and Amanda Jennings ones), and I would have liked to have seen the Fresh Blood event (hosted by friend of the site Sarah Hilary, and featuring Michelle Davies and Agnes Ravatn, both getting a lot of buzz about their debuts). But what I did see I thoroughly enjoyed and the venue itself was bathed in both Victorian splendour upstairs, and glorious decrepitude in the basement areas.

Bravo Killer Women, and see you again soon.

Paul Hirons


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