Monday, February 05, 2024


 I’ve been having a hard time concentrating on much the past few weeks, so I’m drafting this blog post instead of working. Not a great use of my time, since I actually have a lot of work to do, but maybe I’ll be more productive if I get this out of my head:

The date is January 30, 2024. I’m sitting at my kitchen table. I have my laptop and a cup of coffee and a bag of Milkybars and my eye is twitching. This is a newish thing for me, the twitch. It happens when I am anxious, when I am excited, when I am tired, when I am stressed. There’s a muscle in there that has HAD IT with me. I remind myself of Carl Winslow—from the 90s sitcom Family Matters—in the episode where he gets so annoyed with his next-door neighbor, Steve Urkel, that he develops a melodramatic eye twitch. He goes to see a therapist; the therapist tells him he needs to chill out. He spends the whole episode walking around his house yelling, “THREE TWO ONE! ONE TWO THREE! WHAT THE HECK! IS BOTHERING ME?”

It doesn’t seem to help him. I might try it.

But I’m not stressed. I’m not annoyed. I’m not anxious. I’m having a great time, actually, and the great time is just a little too great for my nervous system. 

Hence, the eye twitch. 

I have just gotten off the phone—I am trying to say this in a way that doesn’t sound pretentious or ridiculous or braggy or even self-deprecating, but I can’t think of one, so—I have just gotten off the phone with a Hollywood producer who wants to turn my book, I Think We’ve Been Here Before, into a TV show. This is a very surreal thing, and I’m not sure I’m awake. 

Barclay once asked me, way back at the beginning of all this book stuff, this question: If you could steal a career from someone, whose career would you steal?

I didn’t even have to think about it: Nick Hornby, duh. He’s published a whole bunch of books, books that are funny and moving and full of music and smart little musings on life. But even cooler than that: he’s had so many of his books turned into movies and TV shows—and, like, good movies and TV shows. 

If I had his career, I said to Barclay, I’d be very happy. But really: if I could have even one book made into something else, I would be just over the moon. Tickled pink. Floored. Elated. I have this recurring daydream where I go to a movie theatre and I sit in one of those cushy theatre seats, and the lights go down and there are a few previews and then the lights go down even more and the opening credits start rolling and then those words are on the screen. You know the ones:

Based on the novel by Suzy Krause

And in the daydream, by this point, I’m just—sobbing. Just a mess. Just crying so loudly, and I have no Kleenex, because I never do, and I’m trying to contain myself with the sleeves of my sweater and it’s a spectacle. And there’s this girl sitting a few seats down from me and she’s just staring at me like, what’s your problem, the movie has not started yet, nothing sad has happened, why are you like this. 

And I don’t care. I don’t care at all. My wildest dreams are coming true and I’m, what’s the word, verklempt. 

And this random daydream girl gets up and she moves far away from me, because I am, at this point, just downright disruptive. That’s okay, I didn’t want to sit by this girl anyway. Hey, why am I alone in this scenario at the movie theatre? In my own daydream? If my book ever got made into a movie and the movie played in theatres, like, you guys would come with me to see it, right? 


See, this is the weird thing: my brain is so used to this daydream that I can’t shift it from the daydream ruts to the reality ruts. Even as I’m writing this blog post, I’m just sliding over into the daydream version of it.

So, reality. You're  thinking to yourself, Good. I don’t care about this daydream, this thing that hasn’t happened. I came here to read about what has happened, and how it happened, and what’s going to happen next. That’s fair. I’ll try to tell you:

What has happened: my book has been optioned. This is, essentially, the first step in a piece of intellectual property being made into a film or TV show. I kind of understand what’s going on, but I have a film agent who understands it better than I do, and thank goodness for that. It’s her job to understand it for me, so I don’t get myself into hot water or miss something important or sign a contract saying some Hollywood character can have the IP AND my firstborn son. So I don’t understand it well enough to tell you what’s going on other than that the aforementioned producer is doing a lot of work behind the scenes trying to get all of the stars (like the actual people stars) to align so he can make a Thing. Besides stars, he also needs backers and directors and screenwriters and so on and so forth. This is a huge job, and this is his job, and my job is just to, like, sit here and cross my fingers SO hard. (Cross your fingers with me?)

How it happened: Ok, so about two years ago (I think? Right, Paul?) this man named Paul Davidson reached out to me by email. He had written a book called The Small Stuff (click the link! Buy the book! It’s really good!) and was wondering if I could read it and offer up a blurb. I said yes. I read the book, loved it, wrote a little blurb, sent it back. Thus, we became friends. 

(Asking another author for a blurb is such a vulnerable, terrifying thing. If you do it, and they say yes, it’s pretty much instant friendship.)

We stayed in touch and I blurbed another book of his a year later (Company of Foos, also great, CLICK THE LINK BUY THE BOOK). When I sent the blurb along, he thanked me and reminded me that he was always happy to return the favour. I said, “Thanks! How about…right now?” 

And he was like, “Okay!”

So I sent him an ARC for I Think We’ve Been Here Before

A week later, I woke up to the sound of the front door opening (don’t worry; it wasn’t Paul. Wouldn’t that be funny though? If he read the book and drove all the way from LA to Canada to bust down my front door and yell into the house, “SUZY! WE’RE MAKING A MOVIE!” That might have been a more exciting story. This one is still good; it’s just less intense). 

The person opening the door was Barclay (this makes more sense, doesn’t it?). He was headed outside with Sully to shovel snow. I reached over to the bedside table and grabbed my phone, which dinged in my hand, alerting me that an email had come in sometime during the night. The email was from Paul. There were a lot of lowercase letters, but my eyes were still full of sleep and they grazed past all those lowercase letters and drifted directly to the ones in the middle of the email in all-caps: THIS SHOULD BE A MOVIE.

I woke up a little bit more and read the rest of the email. It was very kind, and there was a blurb in it, which you will find on the back cover of I Think We’ve Been Here Before when it comes out in September, but after the blurb there was a bit about how, though I knew Paul as an author, his actual day job was as an executive in Hollywood and a producer. He wanted to option my book. Turn it into something you could watch on a screen.

I was surprised to read this, as you can imagine. I yelled, “BARCLAY GUESS WHAT!” (Because he was still standing at the front door putting his boots on.)

He yelled back, “WHAT?”

And I yelled back, “PAUL WANTS TO OPTION MY BOOK!”

And he was like, “THAT’S COOL, BABE.”

But the words sounded so weird coming out of my mouth, flying through the house. They sounded…delusional. 

What if—and this was seeming more likely by the minute—what if Paul was just being nice? Like, what if this email wasn’t so much a business email as a friendship email, and him being like, “I want to option your book” wasn’t so much him being like, “I want to option your book” as it was him being like, “You said nice things about my books and now it’s my turn to say nice things about your book and the nicest thing I can think of to say about a person’s book is ‘I want to option your book.’” You know, like how people are like, when they’re eating a really good sandwich, or even just a sandwich made by someone whose feelings they don’t want to hurt, “This sandwich is so good; I want to marry this sandwich.”

They don’t actually want to marry this sandwich. We all know this. And maybe, probably, Paul didn’t actually want to option my book.

So I tempered my expectations and replied with cautious gratitude to Paul’s email, at which point he doubled down: he asked me to pass his info along to my film agent. It was like he got caught hyperbolically saying “I want to marry this sandwich” and instead of being like, “Obviously I don’t want to marry this sandwich,” he said, “Bring me a clergyman!”

And he has only continued to double down. There's a contract! There's a press release! There are phone calls being made! PHONE CALLS! So what I’m saying is, if he was just trying to be nice, he is in WAY over his head at this point.

(Can you imagine?)

As for what’s going to happen next: I am going to walk around my house with my eyes twitching all over the place, yelling, "THREE TWO ONE! ONE TWO THREE! WHAT THE HECK! IS BOTHERING ME?"

Oh, you mean, what happens next, like, with the option and the Paul and all that: I have no idea. Like I said, this is not my industry, not my area of expertise. What I hope happens next? I hope we attach a great screenwriter, an incredible director, a stellar cast, and a sweet studio. I hope someone wants to pay for all of it. I hope my daydream comes true. I could take or leave the girl who's all weirded out by my emotional outburst, but it would kind of be poetic if she was there, wouldn't it? I'd probably lean over and say, "Hey, you don't know me, but we've met this dream I had." 

Actually, no, that's probably not a thing I should do.

In any case, I will absolutely keep you posted.

UPDATE: It's now February 5 and I've been given the go-ahead to hit publish on this ramble. 

Click on this to read more:


1 comment:

Michelle said...

I AM SO SO SO EXCITED FOR YOU! And what a great way to write it. No wonder your book is being optioned.