Mar. 21, 2012

The latest on Defending Jacob

It’s been a while since I posted one of these updates about Defending Jacob, so here we go.

The biggest news: Warner Brothers has optioned Defending Jacob for a movie. No actors or directors are attached to the project yet. It will likely be a year or so before we have a screenplay, which will make or break the project since it is the screenplay, not the novel, that will attract actors and directors. Now, what I know about the movie business would fit on the head of a pin, so I won’t predict how this will turn out or even whether the movie will be made at all. But every indication is that the producers are intent on making this happen. Stay tuned.

Last week, Defending Jacob was published in the UK. My English publisher, Orion, has orchestrated a phenomenal publicity effort. Luckily, I will be in London in April to see it (and to drop by the London Book Fair, briefly). The first reviews from England have arrived as well, all quite favorable. In The Times, Marcel Berlins wrote that Defending Jacob is “worthy of being mentioned in the same breath [as Presumed Innocent], which is a high compliment.” It certainly is.

Another exciting aspect of this whole adventure has been foreign sales. Defending Jacob has sold in nineteen foreign countries, an absurd number. Now, the trouble with selling so many foreign-language editions is that sooner or later you run out of places to keep selling. Which is why it was so remarkable when we sold the book in Macedonia last week. Because, well, it’s Macedonia. The advance will barely cover a dinner out with my family, and the print run probably will be around 500 copies. Still, I would bet that more American novels are optioned for film than are translated into Macedonian, so let’s pause to savor this milestone, too.

Finally, yesterday morning was a remarkable one here in Boston, where I scored a publicity twofer. First, my hometown newspaper, the Globe, ran an interview with me — and put my mug at the top of page one. This is the very definition of a slow news day, one would think, but there it was. And second, I appeared on the popular morning drive-time show “Matty in the Morning.” The show’s host, Matt Siegel, is a Boston institution and a genuine, enthusiastic fan of Defending Jacob. (You can listen to the interview here.) So Bostonians on their way to work yesterday could hardly escape me.

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

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