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  • Kristin Jacques

Friday Fun #5: That was an Adaptation?!

It’s another fabulous Friday, readers. We hope you are ready to kick it and relax for the weekend, and if not, we hope you find some time to recharge. Remember, mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health and you must take care of you!


Now, some of you may not be huge book nerds, but I am and let me tell you, when the film industry takes on a book adaptation it is always an iffy sell for me. Will they do the book justice? Will the author have creative input? Will the cast look anything like I’ve imagined these characters? Some movies nail it. They take the source material and whittle it down two hours. Some movies do not. I am a huge Percy Jackson fan and I’ve never been so salty as when I was coming out of that theater wondering why they did my boi Percy so wrong. But! Happy days, readers, because sometimes enough grumbling and push back gives adaptations a second chance to get it right, as Rick Riordan and company announced yesterday that Disney would be taking a second crack at the series.




Coming off the massive success of The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I Loved Before, YA is seeing another boom in adaptations, with more coming from unusual sources. When you dig beneath the surface of how a movie or series came to be, you will find a surprising number come from books or graphic novels. Some deviate so far from the material they are hard to recognize, such as the loveable Lucifer based off the DC comics created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Dringenberg.



Other adaptations have expanded so much on the source material it’s easy to forget eight seasons and two spin-offs worth of Salvatores and Company originated from a four book series in the 1990s by L.J. Smith.

But what about adaptations you had no idea existed. Some of you eagle eyed readers may recognize the source material for the films listed below, but we hope some of you are as baffled and delightfully surprised as we are.



Die Hard


Yippee-Kai-Yay-Mister Falcon! (This is a PG-13 blog people) Everyone’s favorite Christmas movie originated from a novel by Roderick Thorp called Nothing Lasts Forever. The even stranger part of this adaptation? It’s a sequel.



You heard me. Die Hard, the spawn of an entire franchise of one line quips and miraculous escapes, is based on a sequel. The first book was adapted too, into a 1960’s movie called The Detective that starred founding Rat Pack member Frank Sinatra. Character names were changed for the sake of bad assery, though I do like to mentally picture Sinatra rolling out from under some bullet ridden Mustang in a crumpled suit while shouting Yippee-kai-yay Mother May I (television censors are more creative than I am).

Mean Girls


Some of this source material came from Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman. Considering the amount of quotes from this movie that continue to sneak into my everyday life, I am shocked I didn’t know this?



But then again, that may have had something to do with the source material itself. Queen Bees and Wannabees is a nonfiction parenting guide. The characters and oh so quotable moments came from SNL alum Tina Fey, herself.


Legally Blonde


Everyone’s favorite California sorority girl turned Lawyer was based off the comedic novel of the same name by Amanda Brown about her own experiences attending law school. And if you haven’t watched this film, it is one of the best examples I’ve seen of female friendships and feminism ideals, and there is actual character growth without an unrealistic shift in personality or ideals. I SAID WHAT I SAID.




Pitch Perfect


Listen, this is another adaptation that plays fast and loose with it’s nonfiction source material, but I did find it interesting because it had source material. Pitch Perfect pulls from the book by GQ senior Editor Mickey Rapkin’s Pitch Pefect: The Quest for Collegiate A Capella Glory. The Belles themselves are loosely based on the a capella group Divisi from the University of Oregon. I hear the acoustics out in Oregon are great.






How to Train Your Dragon


I am putting this one on the list because in my opinion, it is one of the rare adaptations that while completely off the rails from its source material, also managed to be a banger of a film and spawn two sequels.

Cressida Cowell’s original series features characters that loosely resemble the Hiccup and Toothless we see in the films, so loosely it is easy to see how the ‘adaptation’ aspect is often overlooked. The 12 book series features a very different story line and are well worth a read, but don’t expect the same pitch black Night Fury. The Toothless of the book series is green, and telling you his origins, well, that would be spoilers….



There are tons more adaptations from books out there you may not know existed. I’ve included some links below to explore, including a chuckle worthy ‘Movies that were adapted into Books’.


And surprise! We are dropping in a little mini interview with staff member Nicole Bezanson, Sword & Silk Books Submission Intern, whose upcoming middle grade novel The Stars From Me to You is getting some rave reviews.



1. What do you do here at S & S?


I'm the submissions intern, meaning I help the senior editor and publisher read and review the projects we are sent and provide feedback and reasons for passing, asking for revisions, or making an offer. We work together as a team to assess the submission packages, including the synopsis and query letter, as well as full manuscripts if requested.



2. Tell us a little bit about your experience in the biz?


I started out writing online a long time ago, but only started pursuing the business side of publishing about a year ago. I worked for a little while as a literary intern and then was promoted to a junior agent, responsible for a number of administrative tasks but also submissions, queries, and client management. Around the same time as I began interning, I also took a job as a professional technical writer for a large, international medical technology company, which has involved expanding on my editorial, feedback, and proofreading skills both for fiction and non-fiction.


3. If you could take any literary character to prom, who would it be and why?


Definitely Jesse Tuck from Tuck Everlasting. My favorite book and my favorite male lead. I feel like he'd find the whole experience of prom fascinating, even if he is going to live forever.


4. If you could pick any character's couch to crash on for a week of sofa surfing, who and why?


Why is this question so hard? I knew right away who I would take to my fictional, back-in-time prom! But for this one, maybe Rafa from Tamara Lush's book series Constant Craving. He has this fabulous house and travels sometimes and works quite a bit near the beginning of the trilogy, so I feel like I could get a lot of writing done in a neat setting as long as his love interest Justine wasn't around to keep him on the property, in town, and in my way!


5. What book are you dying to see adapted to the screen, either as a TV series or film?


I would have immediately picked The Witcher, but Netflix already has that underway. Then I wanted to pick The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime but I see based on IMDB that's in casting, so I guess I can't pick that one either. Oh, you know what I'd love to see? All the books by Sarah Dessen made into movies. I know some of them are going to be coming out in the next year or so (This Lullaby and Once and For All, as well as Along for the Ride), but I want them all!


Poke at these Resource Links!

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/57462/20-movies-you-might-not-know-were-based-books

https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/movies-you-probably-didnt-know-were-books

http://airshipdaily.com/blog/03242014-bizarre-movie-to-book-adaptations-novelizations

https://lithub.com/20-literary-adaptations-disavowed-by-their-original-authors/

https://www.bookbub.com/blog/best-movies-based-on-books-all-time

https://seattle.bibliocommons.com/list/share/73009441/1102900277


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