Greetings, all, and a very happy Friday to you all.
This evening I want to share with you another interview I did with one of my favorite authors and amazing friend, Sandra Carrington-Smith.
Author of “The Book of Obeah,” “Housekeeping for the Soul,” and “Killer in Sight,” with the Obeah sequel, “The Rosaries” coming out soon, Sandra is an amazing writer. We have recently found out that “The Book of Obeah” is going to be a movie. Of course, we are all extremely excited about this. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my interview with Sandra about this upcoming event, so without further ado, here it is:
Me: You wrote “The Book of Obeah” as a work of fiction. What was your initial reaction when talk started about making it into a movie?
SCS: I guess it is every author’s secret dream to see his/her creative babies come to life on the silver screen, so I won’t deny that even before the possibility of turning The Book of Obeah into a movie became reality, I already started casting in my head. I met the producer a couple of years ago, and over time, we have discussed this project several times; yet, when I logged into Facebook and saw the movie page, I grinned from ear to ear. I don’t think I can even explain how I felt in that moment…
Me: Voodoo is kind of a taboo subject. Witchcraft was taboo until the Harry Potter series, and Vampires were made “cool” by the Twilight series. Do you foresee Voodoo, in its real form (not a Hollywood Voodoo doll-type portrayal) becoming more understood with the making of this film?
SCS: That’s certainly my greatest hope. This religion has been demonized long enough, mostly because of fear, greed, and lack of knowledge. I believe that once people are shown the beauty and the spiritual richness hidden behind the mystery, a new awareness is bound to arise.
Me: Where would you be filming? I know that Eastern North Carolina and New Orleans are integral parts of the location.
SCS: Shooting will begin in southern Louisiana — in New Orleans and surrounding areas – and it will move north to include Raleigh, NC, and Clayton, the small town where the protagonist’s grandmother’s farm is located.
Me: How difficult is it to convert a good work of fiction to a movie?
SCS: As with all creative projects, there is more work behind the scenes than what meets the eye. Pre-production includes creating a screenplay, preparing a proposal, securing investors and casting. Writing a good screenplay that will be loyal to the original story is a difficult task, but it can be done.
Me: If someone were to want to invest in this project, what would they need to do?
SCS: The official movie website will be announced next week, and it will include links and contact information. For the time being, if anyone is interested in investing in the project, they can use the movie page on Facebook to leave a message for the executive producer, Milena Rimassa. Also, I would like to invite anyone who visits the page to ‘like’ it. Every day, we post new tidbits and magical recipes, so it is a lot of fun to navigate and learn something new.
Me: If I wanted to get an e-book, where are these available?
SCS: The Book of Obeah is currently available as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and most other digital readers.
Me: Where did you get your initial knowledge of Voodoo?
SCS: I grew up around it, for the most part, but didn’t practice. My mother practiced Santeria and Candomble’, so those are the paths I felt most comfortable with; however, as I grew older, I found myself gravitating more toward Haitian Vodoun. When I wrote The Book of Obeah, I intentionally mixed Orisha and Lwa to drive home the point that different entities connected to the elements they represent share a common core even if they have developed unique identities within different cultures. Traditionally, it is a big no-no to interchange these entities, but in reality, there is no harm in doing so. Unlike humans, who so enjoy to catalog and separate, spirits adhere to the concept of the One.
Me: Who would you ideally like to see portray the main characters of the story, if money were no object?
SCS: Maybe Evan Rachel Wood for Melody. Mark Consuelos or Danny Pino for Mario. Definitely Morgan Freeman for Legba.
Me: I know that “Obeah”‘s sequel, “The Rosaries,” is going to be released soon. Would you like to see this work converted to a movie?
SCS: I certainly would. I think the whole Crossroads Series has the potential to do well on screen.
Me: Do you see the series going to film as a way to enlighten people or do you prefer the Hollywood route to glamorize the Voodoo religion?
SCS: I honestly think it needs to be a bit of both. Awareness must be raised, but it needs to be threaded into a story that’s thrilling and commercially viable. A film that is strictly spiritual in nature might be appealing to a certain niche, but it won’t go very far, as many people just aren’t ready to accept a complete turnaround; if we aim at shifting awareness, the more people we reach the better.
Me: Do you have any advice for writers who might aspire to see their works on the big screen?
SCS: Dream, pray and network. I met Milena Rimassa a couple of years ago, and we became friends before the idea of working on a common project crossed our minds. You can also write your own screenplay and try to sell it to a production company. Writing a screenplay is no small feat, but some authors really like to be in control of the new creative incarnation of their book.
For more information and juicy Magickal tidbits, please visit Book of Obeah: The Movie’s Facebook page.