As in the popular movie series, the published draft novel, Father of the Grooms, has been transformed into a screenplay, Until Death do You Part, and will appear first as an Audio Book under that title with the softcover to follow. From a writer’s point of view, the leap from novel to screenplay necessitated radical changes to convert a 400 page novel to a 110 page screenplay. This exercise was much more than selecting and cutting content, although that certainly occurred. The difference between the screenplay and novel involved changes in formatting, tenses, and rearrangements of sections to provide a more gripping start to the movie and have it build towards a satisfying climax.
At present, the screenplay is in its seventh iteration after receiving feedback from as many screenwriting contest. This process has much improved the screenplay. Among the major improvements were adding a well-defined villain at the opening of the first act as well as tension-building elements throughout the screenplay. Not only was this feedback used to improve the screenplay, it was also used to improve the novel which was undergoing its own transformation.
The title of the novel was changed to Until Death Do You Part to more nearly reflect the screenplay’s contents and the text sent in for professional editing. In turn, this corrected text has been sent to ListenUP Productions in Atlanta, for conversion into an audiobook which will be released later this year. This followed the simultaneous release of my last business book, Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age, in late 2020 in both softcover and audio formats. The novel as an audio book offers more challenges that the business book because of its mix of characters of different ages, sexes, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. These include two adult brothers, the heros of the novel, who have different personalities and outlooks toward life. They along with their father, mother, sister, and gay uncle make a trip to Sicily to reconnect with their Italian roots for the first time in three generations. Unknown to them, their family is one of the most powerful Mafia families in Italy, and because of their own needs, the Sicilian side of the family needs to get to women out of the country and use some not so delicate persuasion to have the two sons marry two women that they had never even heard of.
The Sicilian side of the family is run by a retired enforcer who has returned to oversee the family’s operations after the Don and his Segundo have been arrested because of information provided by a rival gang in Naples. This threatens a Mafia war and he seeks to get his daughter and niece safely out of the country by marrying them to these visiting Americans who “are given an offer that they cannot refuse.” With many misgivings, all agree to the wedding. The rival gang sends down a crew to prevent this wedding at all cost and a cat-and-mouse game starts with four attempts being made to kill various members of the wedding party. Father Flanagan, an Irish priest who is to perform the ceremony, elicits the aid of two gay male strippers to seen by the prospective brides in bed with the two grooms in hopes that the brides can have the wedding called off, but nothing doing. “A contract is a contract,” and the wedding will proceed as planned. All of this is successfully resolved in the screenplay and novel.
The characters mentioned and many more who have supporting parts will make it particularly tough for a single voice actor to preform. I look forward to receiving the reads from the three voice actors who will audition for the part. After the publication of the audiobook, I will make another round of changes before publishing the novel as a softcover.