Naples novelists get Hollywood Nibbles and Bites

Two local authors have had nibbles (in one case more than a nibble) from Hollywood production companies about turning their recent novels into films. The authors, Suzi Weinert and Howard Giordano, have a few things in common. Both found a publisher through the networking opportunities at the Naples Press Club Authors and Books Festival. In fact, both have the same publisher, Naples-based Barringer Publishing headed by Jeff Schlesinger. Also, both have had the benefit of Naples writer and literary agent Carole J. Greene as manuscript editor.

Otherwise, the stories are quite different.

A new Los Angeles production company headed by Rob Goodrich found Mr. Giordano’s thriller “Tracking Terror” by browsing through publishers’ web sites looking for viable properties. When he found, on the Barringer site, the description of a brand new novel that involves a terrorist plan to bomb New York’s Belmont Park Racetrack during the running of the prestigious Belmont Stakes, he and his associates had to take a closer look.  One never knows what first provokes interest. In this case, says Mr. Schlesinger,” it was the book cover that grabbed their attention.” They loved the concept and optioned the novel.

An option is a time-defined exclusive rights agreement. It keeps a book or manuscript off the market so that the option purchaser can move ahead with project development. In this case, “Tracking Terror” is being held for three consecutive 6-month options by Mr. Goodrich’s organization. For Jeff Schlesinger and Howard Giordano, it’s wait and see what comes of the process. The film rights have not yet actually been purchased – that will involve another kind of contract.

Schlesinger is optimistic. “It’s a matter of luck,” he says. “This is just what they were looking for.” He says that Goodrich and his team, which includes Naples partner Bruce Barone, Jr., were greatly impressed by the depth of the main character.

Rob Goodrich has been connected with such recent films as “Zookeeper,” “Never Say Never” (Justin Bieber docu-pic) and Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups.”

Howard Giordano is not surprised that filmmakers have an interest in “Tracking Terror”:  “I always felt the story, the scenes and plot, lent themselves to film. I am a visual person, and when I write I can see the scenes as I form them on the page. There are some great graphic opportunities in this novel and I am certain it would make a riveting movie.”

Already at work on his next novel, Mr. Giordano followed a career in advertising with the position of Director of Marketing for the New York Racing Authority (Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks).  Later, he was president of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation. Mr. Giordano retired to Naples to find more time to writing. The move led him to participate in workshops at the NPC Authors and Books Festival.

In the book’s acknowledgments, Mr. Giordano thanks not only Carole Greene, but also James Robison, the novelist and short story writer who has for many years led Renaissance Academy writing workshops at FGCU’s Naples Center. He also thanks his critique group that included locals Don Wilson, Linda Bilodeau, and Pina Olson.  Coincidently, the room where that critique group met is the same room where Howard Giordano met Jeff Schlesinger.

Has Naples become a hotbed of literary activity? Clearly the dynamic of supportive interaction is alive and well here. 

Weinert (left) with editor-agent Greene

Suzi Weinert’s “Garage Sale Stalker” came out just over a year ago (and was reviewed last winter in FW). Now the rights have been sold for its next life as a movie on the Hallmark Channel as a Hallmark Original Movie. Producer Jonathan Axelrod, best known for the “Dave’s World” series, and Director Michael Scott will bring screenwriter Ron Parker’s adaptation to the 87 million households that Hallmark reaches. These gentlemen all have strong track records in the industry.  Mr. Parker’s credits include the “Joan of Arc” television mini-series. . . .

To read this article in full, as it appears in the January 26,2012 issue of Naples Florida Weekly, as well as in other editions, click here:  Naples novelists get Hollywood attention

1 Comment

Filed under Authors and Books, Florida Authors

One response to “Naples novelists get Hollywood Nibbles and Bites

  1. Donna Fiala

    Gosh this is a great story, Phil. Thanks so much for including me!

    Donna

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