It’s time to meet the 20th featured author of the SSS! Introducing…Kathleen Glasgow!
Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis is a cutter.
While most girls her age are dealing with college choices, love lives, and prom, Charlie is struggling just to survive. After losing her best friend, Ellis, and her home, Charlie finds herself on the downtown streets of Saint Paul, Minnesota, where every day is a fight to live. After a traumatic event lands her in the hospital, Charlie finds what might be her best hope: a recovery program for girls just like her. When her insurance runs out, though, Charlie is back on the streets, alone. Through the kindness of her old friend, Mikey, the roadie for a band in Arizona, Charlie finds herself in the endless desert of Tucson, surrounded by musicians, artists, and eccentrics, and, in particular, a washed-up singer named Riley West.
GIRL IN PIECES is the stunning, heartbreaking story of what it means to live in the world when your body is your own worst enemy. It marks the arrival of Kathleen Glasgow, a major new voice in young adult literature.
Book to Movie: Who Will Bring My Characters to Life?
By Kathleen Glasgow
“I have a really fucking angelic story to tell you…”
So says Charlie Davis, the heroine of my debut YA novel, Girl in Pieces (Random House/Delacorte, Fall 2016). She says this at the end of the novel, though, after all has been said and done, and while some may view a story about a distressed girl who self-harms as decidedly not “angelic,” I do. Because there’s a lot of hope in this novel, too.
If I count the past year of revisions with my editor, then it’s taken me a little over eight years to write this novel. I shed some serious emotional sweat into the story of Charlie, Ellis, Riley, and Blue! So when Nori sweetly asked a bunch of 2016 authors to do guest posts on her blog, I all-too-happily grabbed at the topic of “Who Will Play Your Characters in the Movie Version of Your YA Novel”? Because while I know I’m supposed to be humble and simply appreciate the fact that my novel is getting published and people will read it (life dream: achieved!), I do also want all the party favors that might come along with that.
Which means: lights, camera, action! Take a seat. I’ve got your popcorn (extra butter), Twizzlers, icy Cokes, and Junior Mints taken care of. Also, I like the back row. We can make out later, too, if you want.
Charlie Davis: Charlie Davis is a 17-year-old cutter. At the beginning of Girl in Pieces, she’s homeless and has been admitted to the hospital after a traumatic event on the streets. That’s about all I can say without giving away plot points! Charlie is silent for much of the beginning of the book and hesitant at speaking for a good portion of the middle, so I need an actress who is able to be quite still, yet convey a lot of emotion through her eyes. This isn’t a fancy role with a lot of zingy dialogue, though she does get in her fair share of dingers. Charlie is watchful, suspicious, and emotionally traumatized, but ultimately resilient. She’s an artist (comics and charcoal sketches). After considering this carefully, the envelope goes to: Kiernan Shipka, late of Mad Men. Sally Draper was a tricky act to pull off. Shipka had to play her hand close to her vest throughout the series, remaining quiet, stealth-like, and manipulative, and yet, somehow also hopeful, as she was pulled between the all-powerful triumvirate of her parents and adolescence. I think she’s an excellent choice for our Charlie Davis, who wears her heart on her (long) sleeve.
Ellis Vanderhaar: Charlie’s best friend, a wily, brash, black-haired, red-lipped marvel with a penchant for antics and an eating disorder. It’s important to me that an actress playing this character be willing to put on a few pounds, because Ellis is a binger and some of her anxiety stems from issues with her weight. Body image is a key theme in the book and I’d like to stay true to that. So who can pull off wily and anxious? The envelope goes to: Abigail Breslin, because whenever I see her, I just know she’s an ass-kicker with a heart, and I need an ass-kicker with a heart for Ellis.
Blue: In the hospital sections of Girl in Pieces, Blue is Charlie’s nemesis, constantly needling her and trying to crack her silent veneer. Blue is an older cutter, in her early thirties, and was sexually abused by her father. She’s bold and offensive but later in the book, she proves to be an ally to Charlie. When she follows Charlie from Minnesota to Tucson, Blue undergoes an important reinvention (another theme of the book). She’s pretty sassy, but in her quieter moments, you need to be able to see how her experiences have weathered her. The envelope goes to: Lindsay Lohan. I shouldn’t have to tell you why. You know LiLo would act the hell out of this role, you love her, so let’s get her back! And frankly, she was always in the back of my mind when writing Blue.
Riley West: A 25-year-old alcoholic ex-alt country singer now working the grill at his sister’s coffeehouse, True Grit, in Tucson. Riley is, to put it simply, a manipulative mess, albeit one who can be charming, at least in the beginning. Unfortunately, he’s also Charlie’s love-interest, so I need someone who is able to go from charming to callous in an instant. (Bonus points if they can play guitar.) The envelope goes to: Sam Claflin. That’s right. Finnick Odair. Need I say more? This would be a super role for Claflin—as long as he’s willing to go stubbly, lose some muscle, and let his hair get messy and matted a la Ryan Adams.
While I’m here, I’ll also put in quick pitches for: Elizabeth Banks as Riley’s sister Julie; Jeremy Renner as Fucking Frank; Diego Luna as Vinny; Amy Adams as Charlie’s mother; Charlie Hunnam as Charlie’s suicidal dad (in flashbacks!); Kodi Smit-McPhee as Evan; Frances McDormand as Ariel; and Rachel McAdams as Caspar, the kindest doctor in the whole entire world.
If Nori ever invites me back to post, I’ll tell you why I think Diablo Cody would be the perfect director for Girl in Pieces.
(^^Psst- Note from Nori- you’re ALWAYS welcome on my blog, Kathleen! <3)
Kathleen Glasgow writes for The Writer’s Almanac and lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her debut novel Girl in Pieces, will be published in Fall 2016 by Random House/Delacorte. She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota. Everything she needed to know about life she learned from reading S.E. Hinton, Judy Blume, and J.D. Salinger.
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