5 Minutes for Books, thank you so much for inviting me to guest blog! I am so excited about the release of The Whole Package (linked to Jennifer’s review), my debut novel. I’m delighted to reveal some Big Secrets about it that your readers probably don’t know.
Big Secret #1
I was a closet screenwriter before I was a novelist.
As a girl who grew up in the Midwest and hated the cold, I moved out to Los Angeles as soon as possible. The Hollywood Sign! The stars on the sidewalk! The stars walking the sidewalks! It was all such a thrill, very similar to humming a bar of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
Originally, I moved out to LA with plans to be an actress. But the truth of the matter was, I was a closet writer. I secretly wanted to write movies.
It took a while, but I eventually made that leap.
Big Secret #2
The Whole Package was originally conceptualized as a movie.
While pitching and writing spec scripts in LA, I thought a movie about three women who open a male version of Hooters would be hilarious.
The story would be about three women – no, three best friends – wronged in the way Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler were in The First Wives Club. These friends would stand up for themselves and the female population by opening a restaurant designed to exploit men. There would be dance numbers like those in The Full Monty… Fabulous!
Oddly, no one found this idea as hysterical as I did.
Big Secret #3
Visions of exotic male dancers haunted me.
But I tell you what – I just couldn’t get the vision of Full Monty-esque dancers out of my head.
Secretly, I started conceptualizing a story. It couldn’t just be about the dancers; it had to be about the women who started the restaurant. They were the centerpiece.
An opening scene started to shape in my head – I pictured a Goldie Hawn-esque character in a Paris cafe. She orders a chocolate croissant, a French girl dares to call her fat. Goldie becomes mock-outraged, adorably hurt, beautifully defiant… Yes! This story just had to be told.
Big Secret #4
The Whole Package became a book (read Jennifer’s review).
I decided that, if I couldn’t write the story as a screenplay, I would write it as a book.
The outline I wrote for The Whole Package was actually guided by a screenwriting book. Specifically, Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.
Big Secret #5
The Whole Package could become a movie.
I wrote the book and am delighted to hear that it reads like a fun, heartfelt movie. Specifically, The First Wives Club meets The Full Monty.
And – in a twist of events worthy of a Hollywood movie – a top agency in Hollywood believes The Whole Package should be a movie. They now represent it for book-to-film.
Will The Whole Package become a movie? Only time will tell… but I think that would be the perfect Hollywood ending.
Stay in touch!
Cynthia Ellingsen is an author and screenwriter who lives in Lexinton, KY with her husband. Visit her website at www.cynthiaellingsen.com.
Facebook: Cynthia Ellingsen – Author Page
Ha- what a fun concept, surely a turn-the-tables premise. 🙂
Best of luck to you with the movie making process!
Cynthia Ellingsen says
@Dawn, thanks so much! Give it a read and tell your friends. Excited to hear what you think!
Just finished the Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen – What a Hoot! I loved everything about this fabulous story of friendships that are so familiar; humor, love, and shared memories that triumph over crisis. This is more than just a light summer read ~ it’s a blast. Can’t wait to read your next – Go, Cynthia, go!