The Rosie Project has sold in excess of 2million copies and has been sold to over 40 countries. This success led to the rights being optioned by Sony and to the delight of many fans we will be able to see the lovable character of Don Tillman on the silver screen in the near future. His second novel The Rosie Effect is on a similar trajectory, so I was very fortunate to be able to have a quick chat with a very busy man and the hottest commodity in publishing at the moment.
Since you first wrote The Rosie Project as a screenplay was it always your vision to see it as a film?
I did when I was writing to the screenplay, but while writing the novel I didn’t at all, I put the visual out of my mind. I was much more concerned about Don’s internal world, what was happening in his mind. I wanted the language to express this.
I heard that you’re working on the script for the film did you refer to your original screenplay?
I’ve drafted two scripts for SONY that’s my contractual obligation. I redid the script with the book in mind.
JK Rowling said that most of the writing of a book was done in the mind, The Rosie Project took a six years to be written, was most of this thrashing out the plot?
Yes it was thrashing out the plot and the characters. For two and half years it was The Klara Project. I dumped Klara and introduced Rosie. So getting characters right was crucial as was developing plot twists.
Great characterization is central to The Rosie Project’s Success Can you give any advice on this topic for would be authors?
If you are trying to write comedy then the more time you spend on forming a good character then the less time you have to spend on the comedy. The character does the work for you. Every minute, hour you spend on forming your character is worth it and will come back in further down the track. I don’t use any tricks for characters, like list of their favourite hobbies etc. but the advice I give to young writers is try to look to your own experience. Even if that experience doesn’t seem relevant avoid second hand characters from Television or books. For example if you want to have a character who is the boss of a corporation don’t base it on Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Develop your character first and write what they would do in that situation.
The books deal with a variety of relationship issues especially the differences between men and women and how they communicate is this through observation and is it a topic you wanted to explore?
It’s very much through my observations. I try to give men and women similar strengths in the books. As I create a character their gender is not critical to the character, the dean of medicine is female and gay, but was originally written as a male character. Its not that I felt I had to do that, it just evolved.
I certainly regard men and women as equal, but as a writer and most novelists will tell you this, I find writing the other gender hard.
Will we be seeing future installments of Don Tillman’s adventures?
Well we know Rosie is pregnant so the outcome is obvious. I will revisit Don and explore some issues; I’ll set it seven years later, let the child grow. I’m working on another novel at the moment called “The candle”. My wife and I are also collaborating on a joint novel.