Many authors dream about seeing their books come to life on the big screen. For mystery author Blake Crouch, this dream has become a reality — FOX has adapted his book Pines into the TV miniseries Wayward Pines, which will premiere on May 14.
The exposure a film or TV adaptation brings to a book boosts sales in and of itself. But just like adaptations sell books, book sales impact viewership, and high ratings can mean more adaptations for future books. Blake understands how running a price promotion and featuring it with BookBub to garner a high volume of book downloads can lead to more fans of the Wayward Pines TV series.
Blake agreed to answer some of our questions about the process of being adapted for TV, and how to coordinate a successful price promotion with its premiere.
Tell us about your experience finding out your novels would be adapted into a TV mini-series. How did it feel seeing your world and characters come to life on screen?
I’ve had novels and stories optioned before, but it was clear the moment we sold Wayward Pines to FOX that it was their intention to make it, so the excitement once the deal closed was a whole other level of insanity.
In terms of what it’s like to see a story you wrote translated into television, I suppose the only word for it is surreal. When you’re writing a book, you’re so plugged into the characters and the story that you lose all perspective. But once actors and writers and directors take on the job of turning your books into this other medium, you suddenly see the story with fresh eyes. I think that’s the best part of this experience for me — getting to experience Wayward Pines through this new medium.
How involved were you in the process of turning Wayward Pines into a TV series? Did you have any input into the script or casting?
My involvement was in the writing arena. I wrote on three of the episodes (the 5th, the 8th, and the last). So I did have input on the script-writing and editing.
Did you ever get to visit the set? What was that like?
I did! Walking through all the interiors they built on Vancouver stages was maybe my favorite moment of this entire experience. It’s literally watching something you imagined brought to tangible life, and it felt like Christmas morning when I was a kid again. The first set I walked through was Sheriff Arnold Pope’s office, and then the coffee shop, the abandoned house where Ethan finds the body in the first book, and then Kate and Harold’s toy shop.
Was there any divergence in the TV series from your original story? If so, did creator Chad Hodge talk to you about any changes before you saw the series?
The TV series definitely does some things differently from the books, and we talked about those changes at every step of the way. But I’m thrilled the show is different. I think a straight adaptation of any literary material is boring. The great thing about this show is that even for people who’ve read the books and think they know what’s coming, there are so many surprises in store.
The mini-series premieres May 14. This alone will help sales of your books, but what else will you be doing to promote the three-book series in conjunction with the TV series?
I’m doing a BookBub Featured Deal, a book tour in the US, and numerous international editions of the books will be publishing close to the global air date.
Your BookBub Featured Deal ran today promoting the first book in the series, Pines, a week before the air date. How did you decide on the price point and timing for this promotion?
I wanted Pines to be available at the $2.00 price-point just before the launch of the show. Wayward and The Last Town will stay full price, but I wanted the first book in the series to have a low barrier to entry since (hopefully) there will be a high visibility for the series when the show premieres.
Sony preempted another one of your novels, Dark Matter, for film, and you’ll be writing the script. What about your thrillers is so enticing to studios? What advice would you give authors who dream of film adaptations of their thrillers or mysteries? Are there specific thematic or plot elements studios look for?
I’m not sure what about my books is speaking to the film/TV crowd these days. Maybe it has something to do with the balance of suspense and sci-fi? For authors who dream of having their books made into television or film, I would give the same advice I’d share with anyone who wants to write. First, write the kind of books you would want to read. I think it all starts there. Don’t chase trends. And also keep in mind that books are competing with other forms of media, all of which is available on e-readers, so it’s a taller order than ever to make people care about the stories and characters you’re creating. When I sit down to figure out an idea, I think, is this something that’s so compelling people would rather read this than watch the latest season of House of Cards or The Walking Dead? That’s the competition.
Want to share this post? Here’s a ready-made tweet:
Click to tweet: Coordinating an Ebook Discount & TV Adaptation: Q&A with @blakecrouch1 – http://bit.ly/1OXpA4w #bookmarketing #WaywardPines