Saffron Walden-based author on promotional tour for Hollywood film adaptation of her bestselling novel
Saffron Walden-based author Jojo Moyes says having one of her books turned into a major Hollywood film is like “winning the lottery”.
Her best-selling romantic novel Me Before You, published in 2012, was snapped up by American movie studio MGM a year later to be made into a full-length feature film.
The big screen adaptation, starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke, is released on Thursday, June 3, and Jojo is currently on a five-week promotional tour of the USA, Canada, Germany and Norway.
She says that never “in a million years” did she expect this to happen and rubbing shoulders with famous actors has been a “surreal” experience. Speaking exclusively to the Reporter from Toronto, Jojo said: “I have had other books optioned in the past, but I always thought of it like holding a lottery ticket – your chances of winning are pretty tiny but it would be lovely if it did.
“But this book seemed to gain such momentum so quickly that it always felt like it had a better chance than the others.
“In January 2013, when Me Before You was published in the US, the New York Times wrote an amazing review of it and from there lots of movie studios got in touch.
“I flew out to meet MGM in LA when I was on a book tour, and it went from there.”
Jojo also co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, and says she was very surprised to be asked by the producer to be involved.
She said: “Most studios wouldn’t dream of asking the author of the book to write the screenplay, so I had no expectations at all.
“But the producer told me they wanted to retain the same voice as the book and asked me if I’d be interested in writing it – and I’m one of those people who tends to say yes to stuff before I think about all the many reasons I should say no.
“I ended up loving the process so much that I’ve gone on to adapt two others. I also got to be on set every day which was the most fun.”
Mingling with Hollywood celebrities has definitely been an eye-opener for Jojo, but she says she is enjoying the experience.
She said: “Some of it is surreal – there’s a part of your brain going ‘oh my god I’m standing here talking to...’. Being on tour can be pretty strange – the paparazzi and the circus of it all, but mostly once you get past the trappings, they’re just normal people. Maybe better looking normal people.
“The best bit of the tour is the responses from audiences, they seem to be so enthusiastic. It is very far from my normal life, but I’m just determined to enjoy every day of it. Besides, when I get home my children will bring my feet firmly back down to the ground. I have no doubt of that.”
So what advice does she have for budding authors?
“Write every day, make time if you have no time. Also read voraciously and try and work out why your favourite books work for you. It’s no good saying you might write a book ‘if only you had the time’.
“Be persistent - I wrote three books before I got my first one published.” said Jojo.
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