[Sci-Fi Month] Guest Post: Peter Liney, author of The Detainee Trilogy

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Welcome back to my Sci-Fi Month scheduling! Today the guest post lineup commences along with the announcement of the Detainee Giveaway winner!

Peter Liney was born in Wiltshire but has spent a large part of his life overseas. He has written sitcoms for ABC and Channel 4, and drama for the BBC and South African radio. The full Detainee trilogy, which begins with The Detainee – shortly to be made into a film – is published by Jo Fletcher Books. He lives in Salisbury.

Twitter: @lineypeter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheDetainee

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Any day now, Hollywood, in the form of Thunder Road (producers of the much admired Sicario), is going to send me the screenplay of the first book of my trilogy, THE DETAINEE. Can you imagine how that makes me feel? Yes, yes, excited, disbelieving, incredibly blessed, but also, oh-so very nervous. This is my baby! First formed in my head something like seventeen years ago and with me ever since (okay, not my baby – my teenager). And here I am willingly submitting it to the world’s most famous cosmetic surgeons; those renowned for forever cutting and tucking in their endless pursuit of universal appeal.

Now I’m sure the personable and talented Grant Myers (he of the Maze Runner) doesn’t see himself quite in that role. He, I suspect, has the unenviable, if not downright impossible task of trying to please everyone. Which, I believe, is the cinematic equivalent of, ‘Man who walks in the middle of the road gets hit by trucks going both ways’. Naturally, my idea of the perfect film script would be one that follows the book to the letter, uses every line of my dialogue, and when it’s just action, the rest of my text for Voice Over. Sadly, this is probably not going to happen.

There are restraints, of course, and number one is probably time. Elements of the story have to be compressed, some things lost, and occasionally new things inserted to make the story work better as a film (yes, yes, I know I’m just preparing myself for the worst, but it is true!). And, of course – er, excuse me, while I just acknowledge this elephant in the room – although us ‘artistic types’ sometimes forget it, making movies (and indeed, publishing books) is a business just like any other, and it’s not going to last very long if people don’t make money.

America is, of course, the main market for movies and where most of their efforts are presumably directed. A quick look at the demographics tells you that fractionally more women go to movies than men (though they still have to watch movies with men most of the time), that the Hispanic community is the fastest growing ethnic group amongst movie goers (though they still have to watch movies without much ethnic diversity most of the time) and that the typical movie goer is a seventeen year old male from Wisconsin with an Ipad, an X-Box, and a persistent skin condition – no, no, I made that last bit up. But the point is, how the hell do you make sense of all that? (Or is this another example of the screen-writer William Goldman’s famous quote: ‘Nobody knows anything’?) I wouldn’t know where to begin, but I suspect that Hollywood does.

Which seems to leave me with little choice but to shuffle backwards, bow to their expertise and to stop rushing to my laptop every time I hear the chime of incoming mail like it’s the tolling of Death’s Bell. After all, when they buy the film rights to your book, they buy the premise but not necessarily the vision (someone actually remarked to me that I’d be lucky if they used the title and the names of my characters!). And maybe that’s a good thing? If the film was made exactly the same as the book, who would bother to go to the bookshop the next day to find out what the book was like? Of course, it does inevitably leave us with that age old question: which is best, the book or the film? Almost always, I suspect, it’s the former – but then, that is dependent on the fact that you are a book reader, which we sometimes forget many people aren’t. There have been one or two acknowledged exceptions to the book v film rule: The Godfather, Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, etc, but in the end, that place in your imagination where the book takes you tends to be far richer than one man’s vision (and I wish I could insert ‘woman’s’ there, but that’s another story), not to mention all the SFX in that mad, crazy, explosive world.

Okay, so I think I’ve convinced myself that whatever Hollywood does it’s for the best. I’m in safe hands. Rest easy Clancy and the Gang, we’re going to do you proud – not just in the first book, but hopefully with INTO THE FIRE and IN CONSTANT FEAR, too.

Hey! Wait a moment! What was that? . . . Incoming mail? Oh yes, and an attachment, too. I can barely bring myself to click it but I have to . . . now, let me see how my baby’s fared?

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While Peter’s obsessing over his email (with my thanks for a great post!), let’s get to the prize-giving! When I got the Sci-Fi Month ball rolling here back on the 1st, I announced that there would be a giveaway of a complete paperback set of Peter’s Detainee trilogy, courtesy of Jo Fletcher Books. That giveaway has now closed, and I can reveal that the lucky winner of said books is… *Drumroll* …

Heather Duff!

Congratulations, Heather! If you can send me an email with a mailing address, I will make sure your books are sent out ASAP!

Thanks to everybody who entered!

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