Today, I’m guest posting with New York Times Bestselling authors at Jungle Red Writers about serendipity and how Just Add Magic become a tv pilot. Many special special thanks to my new friend Hank Phillippi Ryan, I am in awe or HER. I really am. If you follow on FB (https://www.facebook.com/HankPhillippiRyanAuthor), you’ll see what I mean. And her books are to die for! I am so glad I met her! If you have a chance to see Hank at one of her many appearances, you should. You’ll fall in love with her.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Whatever you call it–the universe, serendipity, luck, chance, whatever–there are things we cannot control and cannot imagine our lives without. I am not going to yammer any more about his, because–what if I hadn’t met Cindy Callaghan at Pennwriters a couple of years ago? I’ll tell you what if. We wouldn’t be reading this blog today. And Cindy’s story is amazing.
But please note: The second paragraph has a bombshell, which, Cindy being Cindy, she just barrels right by. So let me give a headline: Her new book is now an AMAZON TV pilot. Whoa.
How my First Book Became a TV Pilot
(And the role of serendipity)
by Cindy Callaghan
Once upon a time there was a newbie writer (me) with an idea: Freckle-faced Kelly Quinn and her Secret Cooking Club.
I’m going to uber sum up several years of toil, tears and cheers to give you a glimpse into the stream of events that led me here: The Just Add Magic pilot on Amazon!
Kelly Quinn’s Secret Cooking Club, retitled and published Just Add Magic, landed me a literary agent and first book contract. After its release my second draft manuscript, Sydney Mackenzie Knocks ‘Em Dead, was submitted to publishers, but sadly, didn’t sell. This led my agent to let me go and the destruction of my writing dreams. This left Just Add Magic unrepresented and all rights reverting to moi.
But lightening struck twice when I signed with a like-minded agent who saw promise and passion in me. #Hallelujah! Together we’ve sold four more books to Simon & Schuster. However, I continued to believe that Just Add Magic had more in its future – the screen.
Enter: College Roommate. Like everyone, I friended my freshman college roommate on Facebook. We’d gone to University of Southern California to be film writers, but yadda yadda. I got an MBA from the University of Delaware and worked for twenty years in pharmaceuticals. You’ll find more on my background here. Anyways, she wasn’t living far from me, so we lunched and I learned that she was transitioning from an animation writing career. She’d said, “Talk to my agent and see if she has some advice for Just Add Magic.”
One day I get a call from California, “I’d love to represent it.”
I texted a pal, “Who has two thumbs and a film agent? This girl!”
My film agent submitted Just Add Magic to studios.
I was at the International Thriller Writers meeting in New York City. Michael Connelly, the author whose work first encouraged me to write, spoke about his detective Harry Bosch and “exciting stuff coming soon.” I was attending a session called “Book to TV,” (Hello, Irony) when my cellphone rang again from California. (FYI, ALWAYS take a call from California.) My film agent said, “Amazon wants to option it!”
So, now I am totally freaking out. Totally.
Months pass. Drafts are written and sent up the Amazon ladder waiting for the green light. It was also during these months that I learned Michael Connelly’s “Bosch” pilot was coming out from Amazon Studios. This made Connelly and I Amazon siblings; only he doesn’t know we’re related. (It’s cool, nonetheless.)
On night I was at the local coffee joint debating semi-colons with my writing group when a call comes in from you-know-where. They say, “Can you come to LA? We’re moving ahead.”
Everyone at the coffee joint got to see my happy dance. (Poor folks).
What did it feel like? Mostly this: The school where we filmed was filled with people – actors, extras, cinematographers, directors, security, food service people, set and costume designers, make-up artists, etc. etc. They were all there for something that was in my head, an idea of freckle-faced Kelly Quinn and her secret cooking club. Does that thought give you chills? It does to me. Every time.
What if my first literary agent hadn’t let me go?
What if my roommate wasn’t on Facebook?
What if we’d never met for lunch?
What if interplanetary alignment hadn’t been exactly as it was at every point in time over those years? The cosmic sequence of events would’ve been totally altered and instead of a movie deal, there could’ve been a zombie apocalypse …..come on, I’m a writer, this is how I think.
Please watch the Just Add Magic pilot and answer the questions after the episode.
And if you see Michael Connelly, give him my best. After all, we’re practically related.