Patricia Cornwell's iconic crime-fighting character Kay Scarpetta is a step closer to making her big screen debut after the author signed a new publishing deal. The American crime writer has spent several years working on a movie version of her bestselling books, with Angelina Jolie tapped to play the series' medical examiner protagonist.
The plans were put on hold while Cornwell worked out a new deal with a publishing house, and it has now been announced she will move to HarperCollins after several years at rival Penguin.
The $10 million (£6.6 million), two-book deal will coincide with production on the the first Scarpetta film via movie studio Fox 2000, a sister company of HarperCollins.
Elizabeth Gabler, president of Fox 2000, says, "(It is) one of our (the studio's) greatest priorities is to begin production on the film as soon as possible."
Jolie put herself forward for the lead role in 2009 and has remained keen to play the steely doctor onscreen, saying in 2011, "If all the other pieces... fit together to make sure everyone’s happy with it... it's looking hopeful."
The film's release is slated for 2015.
J.K. Rowling, one of the most brilliant imaginations of our time and a self-made millionaire to boot, is supposed to be an inspiration for women and girls the world over. And, with an empire under her belt and the title "Most Influential Woman in the U.K" tacked on, her name has become synonymous with success — a powerful message for little girls with big dreams. But, as we learned this weekend, Rowling dropped her famous name for a new crime thriller released in April — and with it, her status as a feminist role model.
The Sunday Times of London confirmed Sunday that Rowling is the author of The Cuckoo's Calling, a detective novel written by an alleged first-time author working under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The novel, which has sold 1,500 copies to date, may not have been a commercial success, but it did garner critical praise, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, Rowling confessed to her deception in a statement, saying, "I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name."
After the heavy scrutiny she faced when Rowling released her first non-Harry Potter novel, The Casual Vacancy, in September 2012, it's easy to see why it would be appealing to take on a new name. It must be freeing, as Rowling says, to escape any expectations of which one might fall short. The problem with Rowling's sneaky move is not that she chose a nom de plume, but that she chose a male one.
Women writers (women in practically every field, really) have long faced a stigma. Considered too fragile, too sensitive, or not intelligent enough to create anything of substance, women writers have been looked down upon for centuries. And as such, women often chose to write under male names. The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, were guilty of this — first publishing under the names Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell because, Charlotte once said, "authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice."
And this prejudice, unfortunately, was not relegated to the 19th century. In fact, the reason Rowling chose to use her initials instead of her first name, Joanne, is because her publisher believed boys would not buy a book written by a woman, the BBC reports.
But then, Rowling wrote one of the most popular book series of all time. A face was soon paired with her name, and everyone knew the truth: Harry Potter was created by a woman. And guess what? People still bought the books. They bought them by the millions and billions. And then they shelled out $15 a pop to see her stories brought to life on the big screen. And they flocked to an amusement park in Florida to pay $100 to experience her world as part of their own.
But now, Rowling has taken a step back. Sure, I understand that she wanted to write without the added pressure her name attracts. I get that she wanted honest feedback, reviews without the caveat "written by the author of Harry Potter." But couldn't she pick a lady's name? With The Cuckoo's Calling, Rowling attracted praise to a supposed newcomer — wouldn't it have been more interesting, and more beneficial for other women writing genre fiction, if that newcomer was female?
Crime fiction is dominated by male voices — the likes of P.D. James (another initials user!), Patricia Cornwell, Ruth Rendell, and a few others stand out from the pack of men in their rarity. Which is why it's especially upsetting that Rowling would pass up the opportunity to throw another woman's name into the mix. Is Rowling still under the impression that readers don't want to buy books by female writers? Or, even worse, is it true that the general public — and men in particular — still won't buy books written by female writers?
If that's the case, the only way to dispel the victorian myth that women can't write is to prove, again and again, that they can. In publishing under a male name, Rowling passed up the opportunity to do just that.
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The American writer, best known for her series of books about fictional medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is suing over allegations her multi-million dollar fortune has vanished.
She claims to be missing up to $40 million (£25 million) and has accused executives at New York-based company Anchin, Block & Anchin of mishandling her finances, making bad investment decisions and over-billing her.
The case has gone to court in Boston, Massachusetts and Cornwell was in attendance this week (beg14Jan13) when lawyers for the defence began detailing her spending habits in their opening arguments.
James Campbell, an attorney representing Anchin, Block & Anchin, claimed Cornwell spent the missing money herself and alleged the author and her partner, Dr. Staci Gruber, frittered away the fortune by lavishing $5 million (£3.1 million) on a private jet service and $40,000 (£25,000) a month on renting a luxury apartment in New York City.
He told the court, "Where did the money go? Ms Cornwell and Dr Gruber spent the money. You have to consider the large lifestyles involved, the spending habits, impulsive buying."
In the lawsuit, Cornwell acknowledges her struggle with bipolar disorder, and claims bosses at the firm were aware of her illness and abused her trust.
Cornwell's lawyer, Joan Lukey, argued, "This case is, at its core, about trust. There is no amount of money that is enough to properly compensate her for what Anchin, Block and Anchin did."
Angelina Jolie is said to be starring in a big screen adaptation of Cornwell's book series, playing the author's most famous character.
Bestselling author PATRICIA CORNWELL has landed cameos in two made-for-TV movies based on her books At Risk and The Front. Andie MacDowell and Diahann Carroll are among her castmates in the two dramas, which will debut on American cable network Lifetime the next two Saturdays (10Apr10 & 17Apr10).
Cornwell was delighted when Jolie agreed to play crime-solving medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta in a new thriller based on her bestselling novels.
The writer admits she struggled to arrange an appointment to meet the busy Hollywood star, but when she finally managed to arrange a visit on the set of Jolie's movie Salt, she was shocked by the star's easygoing demeanour.
Cornwell says, "When Angelina came out of left field (to take the role) last year, I was floored. I think meeting the head of the KGB (Russian secret service) might have been easier. It was all hush-hush.
"(Angelina) had pithy things to say about what she wanted to do. She was direct and goal-oriented. (With celebrities), usually it's all about them... She waited on everyone, getting them their lunch, while her own staff was seated. She was aware intuitively how other people were feeling and wanted to make them comfortable. It was not typical for people of her stature."
The actor, who died in September 2008, beat out philanthropists Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Mel Gibson on a new The Giving Back Fund poll, which will be published in Sunday's (01Nov09) Parade magazine in America.
Newman has handed out an estimated $21 million (GBP13 million) to health, education and environmental initiatives - and his Newman's Own foundation continues to raise cash for charity.
Pitt and Jolie come in second on the list with hand-outs that total $13.4 million (GBP8.3 million) and Gibson is third.
The new big givers top 12 list also features Oprah Winfrey, actor Sam Waterson, author Patricia Cornwell and Barbra Streisand.