|Curled Up With a Good Book brings you interviews with your favorite authors responding to questions about the pleasures and difficulties of the writing craft in general and about their stories and characters in particular. This month, Donna Woolfolk Cross muses on Pope Joan as an historical figure, and on her importance during Women's History Month. The author also finds that having your book made into a movie is an education unto itself.
|On Pope Joan, women and history:|
Pope Joan is an inspiring heroine because she's so different from most of the women who have been celebrated throughout history.
She's not famous for her beauty. She's not famous, as women from Anne Boleyn to Monica Lewinsky have been, for her connection to a powerful man. She's not famous, like so many of the Christian saints, for her virginity. She's famous for the brilliance of her mind and the quality of her learning. She was, simply, the smartest person of her day--and it was precisely this quality that elevated her to the papal throne.
It's a good quality for women to emulate, for it's one that endures. I wrote this book with my own daughter, and all the daughters of the world, very much in mind. If, as I hope, this story inspires young women to cultivate their minds and pursue their education, to follow their own dreams wherever they may lead, then Joan's legacy is secure.
On Pope Joan becoming a major motion picture:
Writing the screenplay for this movie was SUCH a learning experience. For one thing, I learned the answer to the eternal question asked by all book-lovers: WHY is the movie never as good as the book?
The answer lies in the nature of a screenplay. Each page of a screenplay equals one minute of screen time. So a 135-page screenplay (which is what my producer strictly limited me to) will turn into a movie that runs two hours and fifteen minutes.
My novel, Pope Joan, is almost 400 pages long. The screenplay couldn't be more than 135 pages. SOMETHING's gotta give! Until the day when we all are willing to sit through six hour movies, we can't possibly hope to see the fullness, the completeness of experience, we had with a book we loved.
To read more about Donna Woolfolk Cross and Pope Joan, visit her home page.
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