Earlier this week I shared information about Pam Ferderbar’s book, Feng Shui and Charlotte Nighingale. Today I am sharing a guest post she wrote for us. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to read for her, but if her charming and witty emails are any indication of her writing style, then I highly recommend you check out her book. You can buy it here. And you can read some reviews and a little more about her here.
The Genesis of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale
Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale was originally written as a short story/novella – 42 pages. I had given up directing TV commercials in favor of pursuing writing, and nothing was going my way. I was at the lowest point in my life – living in L.A., away from my family, struggling to make ends meet. One night I saw a news segment about Feng Shui and how big corporations, hospitals and even theme parks were using it to make people feel comfortable in the space, and a seed sprouted in my brain.
For the next 6 weeks all I could think about was this concept, and I wondered whether something like Feng Shui could change a person’s luck. One day the hapless but lovable character of Charlotte Nightingale popped into my head (or onto my shoulder) and she pretty much dictated the story to me. When it was finished a few days later I gave copies to everyone I knew in the hopes that someone had either movie or publishing connections. The next thing I knew Madonna wanted to option the material. My lawyer stepped in and a bidding war over the film rights ensued at the end of which – 72 hours later – we set a record for the sale of film rights to an unpublished manuscript by an unknown author.
In essence, I wrote a story about a girl with the worst luck in the world, whose luck changes overnight because of Feng Shui, and my luck changed overnight – because of Feng Shui! (Next I plan to write a story about a woman who can eat all the chocolate in the world and her thighs just get thinner. Let’s see how that one pans out.)
I bought a house, was hired to adapt the story into a feature film screenplay and in classic “the universe will unravel your pretty little life sweater like a demented cat” fashion, all my executives at New Line Cinema were fired and my project was shelved. (The original #CharlotteMoment.) I spent the next several years freelancing in advertising, writing screenplays (some of which were optioned and are still in various forms of development) and I got a long overdue divorce, which cost me everything I owned, but saved my soul.
Two years ago I decided to revisit Charlotte Nightingale and write a full-length novel. I finished it just before I returned to Wisconsin, and my family, in March of 2013. One day I picked up the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and saw an article about Kira Henschel and her company Henschel HAUS – a small but successful publisher. I figured, what the heck, and I sent a query email. Ms. Henschel asked me for the first five chapters that same day, and that same day she read them and agreed to publish Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale. A week or so later the contracts were signed, edits and rewriting commenced and the book will be released on June 21st of this year – the summer solstice, which I have no doubt is a very auspicious date.
I guess lightning (or at least Feng Shui) does strike twice!