Whenever I have a novel out (The Lemon Orchard in trade paperback, May 27) my thoughts turn to casting. I can't help it. A lot of writers dream of feature films, but television--by way of TNT, CBS, Lifetime, and Hallmark Hall of Fame--has always called my name. And after seeing True Detective can there be any doubt that the storytelling on TV is as genius as it gets? Much has been written about Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson classing up the small screen, but may I just say, in my own lucky experience, great actors and TV have long been perfect together.
The bar for my casting dreams has been set high. Here are a few of the actors who have brought my novels to TV life: Bill Pullman, Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand, Julian Sands, Gena Rowlands, Rob Lowe, Julia Ormond, Chelsea Hobbs, Tate Donovan, Anne Heche, Max Martini, Campbell Scott, Kimberly Paisley-Williams, Alexa Vega, and the late legends Richard Kiley and Kim Hunter.
As I light candles and chant in hopes the television deities will bestow kindness and a TV deal on The Lemon Orchard--I'd like a network to pick it up as a series set in Malibu, the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, and the harsh, lunar, bone-scattered desert along the Mexican border, with eight episodes ordered--let me reflect on a few favorite made-for-television-movies-and series that started with books: