To celebrate the launch of A Taste for Nightshade I was invited by 'My Book the Movie' blogspot to 'dreamcast' an adaptation of my novel. It doesn't mean it's actually going to be filmed - I just get the chance to imagine it:
In my dream version I’d like to resurrect Alfred Hitchcock to direct my novel. I'm picturing the atmospheric sets he used for Rebecca and the way Hitch used food to drive his plots . I’ll never forget the illuminated glass of poisoned milk in Suspicion, or Marion Crane picking over her last sandwich in Psycho.
My flame-haired confidence trickster Mary is a talented cook, impersonator, and born survivor. I’d give her role to Myanna Buring, Edna in Downton Abbey and star of Banished and Ripper Street.
Mary’s timid mistress is Grace Moore, warm-hearted and vulnerable Anna Maxwell-Martin (Death Comes to Pemberley, Bleak House).
While writing I pictured Grace’s weak but handsome husband as a young James Fox. The other male lead is escaped convict Will, to be played by The Last Kingdom's Ragnar, Tobias Santelmann.
The main location, Delafosse Hall, is based on a house in North Wales with forgotten tunnels, decaying summerhouse, tales of hopeless love and ghostly hauntings. If it could have Hitchcock's brooding Manderley appearance I'd be very happy. My dark mystery also takes the reader to London’s Golden Square, the convict camps of Sydney, Australia, and Maori settlements of New Zealand.
The food needs to be highly crafted, from aphrodisiacs and poisons, to a tiny sugar four-poster bed for a wedding cake and a miniature baby and cradle. When writing the book I studied sugarwork with TV food historian Ivan Day, who created the food for Death Comes to Pemberley.
I’m sure Hitchcock would conjure the twisting staircases of Delafosse Hall, the snowbound winter rides, flickering candlelight and create edge-of-the-seat moments from the twists and revelations.
Image stills courtesy of Hitchcock's 'Rebecca' 1940.
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