Monday, April 20, 2015

The One in Which I Write a Letter to Kristen Bell

Dear Ms. Bell,

You might be wondering why an almost 42-year-old woman is writing to you. Since I'm also from Michigan (lived in Troy, Bloomfield Township, Jackson, and Ann Arbor before moving to Dayton, Ohio in 2003), perhaps you'll indulge me and keep reading. (In fact, had I not moved from Bloomfield, I might have ended up at the very same high school you attended! Small world.) I'll try to keep this letter short (I always do), but my guess is that it has the potential to run long. 

First off, I'm a big fan of yours. Certainly before Frozen, before Fanboys, before Forgetting Sarah Marshall, maybe all the way back to Veronica Mars. I enjoy your humor the most, and the authenticity that seems to shine through the screen. So maybe this is a fan letter, but then again, it's not.

Because the reason I'm writing is to tell you that I wrote a book. (I know. Like you needed to hear that a crazy lady from southwestern Ohio wrote a book. Who the heck cares, right?) Before you jump ship and put this letter down, let me give you a bit of a background about how the story came about.

In early 2013, I was putting my youngest to bed (at the time, she was four-and-a-half years old), and she said, "Mommy, can you read me this book?" Which book was it, you ask? Good old Cinderella. To be quite honest, I was tired of reading Cinderella. My youngest daughter is a princess at heart, and I had probably read that worn copy of Cinderella 5000 times at that point. But as parents are wont to do (and I know you know this already with your little ones), I sat down on the edge of the bed to read that story ONE MORE TIME.

And I'm so glad I did. Because reading that book came right after a discussion we'd had about Doctor Who—another favorite in our house. And in one single instant, a story idea popped into my brain. What if Cinderella had a daughter and she met up with Doctor Who's son? What if, indeed? (Stick with me here…you'll see where this is going.)

I dashed through reading the story, wrapped my daughter in hugs and kisses, and ran down to my computer. That night, my story took off, and over the course of one month (a time during which I drank tons of coffee and took far too few showers), I wrote an entire novel that I entitled, Beyond the Trees. And from the moment I wrote about Philippa Phipps and her flaxen hair, I envisioned you. Philippa's spunk, her determination, her quest to become something more extraordinary than simply a royal daughter…I could see you playing her role in the movie in my mind. To this day, when I read the book, I still see you as Philippa.

I haven't found an agent for the book and I might never find an agent (I'm okay with that fact) but I'm not writing this little (or big?) letter so that you might help me find one. I do realize you’re an actress, and not a literary agent. (I also realize that if the story hasn't quite made it to the published book status, the chances of ever seeing you in this movie are slim. And you're already too old to star as Philippa. Sorry. But I'm older than you, so I'm not trying to be harsh.) I'm writing this letter because I'm thinking on sharing the story with you and your family. I promise to send a more polished—and professionally critiqued—version of the manuscript I finished in March 2013.

Just so you know, there's a bit of humor, some adventure, time travel, and even a few gory parts (my son wanted me to include a place called The Pit of Souls, and so I did). At its heart, though, the story is a fairy tale. My kids enjoyed it, and I'm thinking that someday, your children might enjoy the story, too. (For the record, the novel would be categorized as upper middle-grade. You've got a while until Lincoln and Delta could read it by themselves…)

So if you find a copy of a book by an unknown author in your agent's mailbox soon, well, now you'll know why it's there.

Best of luck to you and hope to see you soon on any screen.



Unknown said...

love this!

T said...

Tweet to her too!

Anonymous said...

I was a huge Veronica Mars fan as well... just love Kristen Bell!

Also, a man in my writer's group was just telling us that, as he writes, he pics actors he imagines perfect to play his characters in a movie and that's who his characters become.

Christina said...

Maybe one of her kids could play her, after my book becomes a famous, published entity! (A girl can hope!)

I wonder if I'll envision any other actors for other books. That's interesting about your writing group friend.

Anonymous said...

I've not envisioned an actor for one of my characters as I write, but apparently it's somewhat common. A Sci-fi author I read mentioned on his blog that he had an actor in mind for one of his characters.