Friday, August 5, 2011

Adaptation Interview: J.M. Boch

Novel available at AuthorHouse
After writing and self-publishing her novel Housewife Blues... Passion, Happiness At Last!, which was featured ALA International Book Fair in 2011, J.M. Boch decided to loosely adapt her novel into a screenplay titled Dead Weight. In the interview below, I spoke to J.M. about her adaptation process. Continue reading after the interview for excerpts from the novel and screenplay, as well as J.M.'s bio.

Interview With J.M. Boch

Q: What was the most challenging part of adapting the novel into a screenplay?   

JMB: For me it was cutting down on the dialogue.  I'm a story writer thus used to describing everything in great detail so the readers can picture what is going on.  A screenplay is completely opposite. 

Q: Describe your adaptation process.  

JMB: I never attempted writing a screenplay up to that point but felt my book would make a very entertaining piece.  I knew I could not guess at the process so looked in the trade paper to find a writer who could teach me how to adapt my book into a screenplay.  We met, conversed and agreed upon dates and times to work together on it.  It took 2 hours almost every Sunday for 5 months to complete.

Q; Were there significant story changes you had to make from novel to script?  

JMB: Yes, added 1 major character and changed the flow of the story to make it more enticing for film.

Q: How personal is Lisa's story to you?    

JMB: Writers are instructed to write what they know.  Remembering the writing process for the book 50% is/was from my personal experience.  The remaining 50% is from pieces of my life but embellished for entertainment purposes.

Q: How different would the novel and screenplay be if you had written it before being married and having children?  

JMB: Completely, I'm sure :)

Q; What prompted you to turn the novel into a script?  

JMB: I work part-time as an actor and noticed how there were so many remakes over the last few years, not enough films that a large percentage of the population can actually relate to, etc.  I simply felt that a film like this would be highly entertaining and possibly help others to not make the same mistakes as Lisa to avoid so much struggle in life.  We are only here once.

Q: What are some of your favorite novels and screenplays?  

JMB: The genre is nothing close to what I write but I love the writer Dean Koontz, his Odd Thomas series any many more titles.  Screenplays - wow that is a tough one - there are too many.  Spur of the moment these come to mind - Something's Gotta GiveForrest Gump, The Godfather...there is too many to list, honestly.

Q; If "Dead Weight" was filmed, how do you envision it (look, tone, actors, etc.)?  

JMB: The look is throughout different decades which includes flashbacks and somewhat complicated.  However, we believe it has the film noir essence.  I have a list of actors in mind and in the process of contacting their agents. For the main characters; Lisa-Cameron Diaz or Reese Witherspoon, Dave-Patrick Dempsey.

Excerpt from Housewife Blues... Passion, Happiness At Last! (Novel) 
Pages 6-7
   The same routine every morning when not working (3-4 days per week):

1.      Wake up at 6:50 a.m. to make sure her two high school age daughters are awake and getting ready.  Make her coffee while digging in her purse for singles for the kids lunches…she has to ask him or uses money she makes that’s supposed to be for vacations and advertisement for a side business she’s had ready to roll for six years.  Makes sure the girls are dressed decently and ready to leave on time.  Then says, ‘bye, have a good day, drive safe’ and quietly closes the front door after they head out.  Hopefully not waking the younger two children so she can have her coffee in peace.

2.      If it’s warm enough she takes her coffee and enjoys a smoke with it at her table on the patio…enjoying the quiet and view of the rolling hills (mountains actually but small ones from her point of view) and trying to fully wake up.  If it’s too cool she brings her coffee and smokes in the only room in the house her and her husband smoke in…the ½ bathroom downstairs that has a fan/vent in it.

3.      7:40 a.m. Is she awake? No, not really, going through pre-menopause has caused her to be extra tired for two weeks out of every month and she feels she could sleep all day.  However, it’s now time to wake up the two elementary age kids, another girl and at last the son they both wanted so badly.  Luckily three out of four of her children have the get up and go energy when necessary like their mom and there’s not much of a fuss.

 Excerpt from Dead Weight (Screenplay)
same scene as novel excerpt


Lisa engaged in her morning routine while not at work.


We see the microwave CLOCK through the window. ­It shows 5:50 a.m. Lisa sitting at patio table having a cup of coffee and a cigarette.


We see Lisa's bedroom alarm CLOCK as she passes her room.  It shows 6:00 a.m. Lisa walks to Hannah's room then Traci's.  Peeks in to make sure they're awake.


The microwave CLOCK shows 6:45 a.m.  Lisa is digging in her purse for lunch money to give to the girls.


Traci's alarm CLOCK shows 7:00 a.m. Lisa is back to wake Maria.  She gently shakes her shoulder and quietly speaks.


Time to get up for school, sweetie.

Lisa takes a few steps to JOEY'S ROOM and awakens him in the same manner.


Joey, time to get up for school.


The microwave CLOCK shows 7:15 a.m. Lisa gets glasses of juice for Maria and Joey.


What kind of cereal do you guys want?


We see the CLOCK in the dining room and it shows 7:30 a.m. Lisa kisses Hannah and Traci on the cheek as they leave for school. 


Bye girls.  Have a good day.


We see the CLOCK on the stereo display in the minivan, that reads 8:25 a.m. Lisa, Maria and Joey enter the car and exit the driveway.


We see Traci's alarm CLOCK that now reads 8:40 a.m. Lisa puts dry cat food in Traci's cats' dish.


We see Lisa's alarm CLOCK, which reads 8:45 a.m., through the doorway.  Duchess chases Lisa down the stairs and follows her out the patio door.


We see Lisa flip open her cell phone.  Close-up on the time which is 8:50 a.m. she sighs, closes her phone. 

Lisa sets the filled dog dish down then goes to the outside sink and re-fills the water dish.  She sets it down near Duchess who's gulping down her food. 

Lisa sinks into a patio chair and plops her legs on an opposite chair at the patio table.  She reads the paper while having a cigarette and sipping at her coffee.



Lisa spends an hour or two cleaning the house; sweeping, morning kitchen mess, etc. She has music blaring from the stereo on a classic rock station.


The CLOCK on the wall above the TV. reads 9:45 a.m. Lisa is dusting and the radio blares Nirvana's 'All Apologies'.  On the chorus Lisa joins in the singing and belts out 'I'm married, buried, yeah, yeah, yeah'


Lisa washes her hands after all the cleaning.  Her finger itches beneath her wedding ring.  She tugs at it, finally gets it off and smiles. 


Lisa enters her bedroom with a little bounce in her step.  She puts the wedding ring in her jewelry box on her dresser.  Looks at her stationary bike and rolls her eyes.  Flops down on the bed and takes a snooze instead.


Energized from her nap, she sits down at her laptop to edit her book.

Writer Bio: 

J.M. has been writing for over 14 years and has two self-published books. Housewife Blues… was recently featured in the Author Solutions booth at the ALA International Book Fair in San Diego – Jan. 2011.  Boch recently sent her 3rd book, a romance novel and 4th book, a children’s book, off to publishers.   Currently, she is simultaneously writing the script for a television show based on her 1st book, MOLLY’S ADVENTURES, and two new screenplays. The television script is a cross between ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and ‘That 70’s Show’. Other writing includes screenplay DEAD WEIGHT, shorts – THE GOOD MOM and WEIRD LUCY and a treatment – TRUST ME. Boch has worked part-time for 13 years as a SAG & AFTRA background actor.

Excerpts from Housewife Blues... and Dead Weight © J.M. Boch

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