If you’ve come to my site but don’t recognize ADF’s name, it’s probably because he isn’t noted for writing romance novels – on his website, he says, “And I couldn't write a romantic vampire novel if I tried…” – and…wait a minute. Let me stop myself right there. I’d intended to post on something else today but I’ve just changed my mind. This blog is about to go rogue.
I was going to write about ADF’s adventures in movie novelizations. On the radio the other day, I heard that Foster was tapped to write the novelization of the upcoming STAR WARS movie so I thought I’d blog about it. I was going to do this because (a) Foster once came to my local library, gave a fun talk about writing, and I liked him for that, so I occasionally check to see how his career is doing (spoiler: just fine); and (b) I imagined that doing a novelization for LucasFilm had to be an incredible challenge. A roll-up the sleeves, wipe the brow, scream at the moon kind of challenge.
More on that next week. This week, I’ve got a bone to pick with the guy.
Strolling through his website, increasingly impressed by ADF’s work and travels, I happen to see our hero claim that tapping out a vampire romance novel is beyond his ability. Turns out, such stories aren't his cup of blood…his joke, not mine. He’s been writing for 40-plus years, he’s created entire fictional universes, but he can’t imagine kicking up his Apple computer and inventing a vampire who knows how to deep kiss.
Pardon me, Mr. Foster, if I don’t buy the assertion. If the good folks at Del Rey Books offered to send me a six-figure check for 50 SHADES OF BLOODSUCKER, my Dracula wanna-be would be smooching in their inbox by March of next year. April at the latest.
I’ll bet you’d have the manuscript completed by February. Because you have a very particular set of skills; skills you have acquired over a very long career – but no writer grows up, eager to do novelizations. A writer tackles a movie novelization because they think they can pull it off and somebody else thinks they can deliver, too. No one involved is doing this for the love of the game. This kind of work is done because there’s a guaranteed check at the end of the gig. (And, sometimes, royalties. If you’re getting royalties on this next SW novel…well, 2016 is going to be a very good year in the Foster household.)
So how do I know you can write a vampire romance novel? Glynn and I did it. Okay, Twisted Games isn’t exactly the same, Mr. Stickler, but let’s be honest here: a werewolf romance novella isn’t too far afield. Plus, the werewolf sparkles. (Or maybe not. Buy it and you’ll see.) What happened was, a small publisher sent out word that she was looking for shape-shifter romances, 20,000 word minimum, and Glynn came across the notice. He would never have seen it if it was football season but it wasn’t, so he did, and he brought it to me.
I reminded my honey that we’d never written a shape-shifter romance. That I’d never even read a romance with supernatural elements. He reminded me that I’d always claimed, a good writer could write any genre, any day, if they didn’t get in their own way. Five weeks later, we finished the first draft. It was not wonderful. Two weeks later, we’d upped our game. We sent in our submission, signed a contract, even got to pick our cover artist. It sold okay, too. The people that read the story seemed to like it; at least, the reviewers did.
The thing is, we discovered that writing a romance is a lot of fun. So we tried writing another, then another, and then romance stories became our focus. Our next two years are pretty much booked, fictionally-speaking, with several more novellas and at least one more novel. All of them in the romance genre. No vampires yet but I’ll tell you, ADF, you write one, we’ll write one.
It’ll be a sparkle-off. I dare you.
Next week, the blog I was supposed to write: Why Alan Dean Foster rocks.