The TV Show On IFC is Not Happening

Your regularly scheduled blog is being preempted by breaking news. Ok, its not breaking news since I’ve known for awhile, but the announcement has gone public. I’m a team player and I would have been happy to wait for a group announcement but since that’s not happening here goes.

The Anita Blake TV show on IFC is not happening. Now no wailing and gnashing of teeth about it. In the two years and some change since I sold the rights to my series its been very educational. I know a great deal more about television, movies, and how this branch of the entertainment business works. It has been frustrating watching other shows in the genre I pioneered go on the air while we didn’t, but in the end I believe most things happen for a reason. I would rather have no television show than a bad one.

I learned through this long process that I loved Anita and all the other characters in my world. I’d known that in a vague way, but through meetings and talks and hearing other people’s takes on my world, I began to realize that I really loved them. I say they are my imaginary friends. I take friendship very seriously. I protect my friends, take care of them, and the scariest thing to me is not having the TV show die before it really started, but the thought of watching my friends on the small screen and hating it. That would have killed a little part of me. I didn’t understand how much they meant to me until we ventured out into Hollywoodland. Like I say, its been educational.

Tomorrow I will get up and I will continue to write Bullet, book 18 in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. I will get to finish choreographing a scene with Anita, Asher, and Jean-Claude the likes of which I have never attempted before. The thought makes me both giddy with happiness and full of intense performance anxiety.

February 2nd will see an extra surprise Anita Blake novel, Flirt, so you’re getting two this year, because my muse and I are still in enamored with Anita and her world. I’ve been in love with it since I sat down to write the first book, Guilty Pleasures, in the late 1980s. It would take about two years to write the book and two more years to sell it. I would get 200 rejections on it before it sold to Penguin/Putnam. I was writing vampires long before the publishing industry realized it was a hot market. I was told by editors that the vampire genre was dead. Boy, were they wrong.

It’s been over ten years since I sat down to write Guilty Pleasures and longer than that for the first Anita Blake short story, "Those Who Seek Foregiveness" which only saw publication in my short story collection, Strange Candy. That story was beloved by editors, but no one bought it because zombies weren’t hot then, and mixed genre wasn’t either.

The moment Anita walked on stage for me so tough, so vulnerable underneath, unflinching, brave, I loved her. It would take a few books to love Jean-Claude, my master vampire. I actually planned to kill him at the end of book three, Circus of the Damned, but by then Anita and I both would have missed him. I loved Richard Zeeman, werewolf and junior high science teacher, and way too old to be this big a boy scout. He’s sort of made me fall out of love with him as he’s pushed Anita away, but I still want him to be happy. I want him to find his peace in this fictional life. I love Edward, assassin to the monsters, and I want to see what happens with his "family life". If there’s ever a wedding Anita and I are so going. I love Jason Schuyler and how he’s grown as a person. Nathaniel Graison who is the only character I’ve ever based even loosely off a real person. That person vanished and is probably dead now, but fiction does what fact cannot, it can rewrite, it can save the un-savable, and rewrite their ending into something gentler. Micah Callahan who came out of nowhere and surprised me as well as the fans has been Anita’s rock since the moment he showed up. A man who isn’t threatened by a strong woman, and is truly willing to be your partner is a rare find, Anita needed one of those, she and I just didn’t realize it until he showed up. Asher, who still breaks my heart, even as I begin to suspect he’s got some surprises for me and Anita that may not all be good surprises. I love them all, even the scary ones like Olaf serial killer and sometimes backup. (The fact that so many of you women like him romantically is a little scary. Some bad boys cannot be saved, okay?) I love that with each book I find new ways to push the mix of vampires, wereanimals, monsters, and zombies, to that next logical conclusion.

What fascinated me at the beginning of the series was our world if we woke up tomorrow and all the creatures of nightmare were real and everyone knew they were real. It’s still what fascinates me. I was the first one to bring them out of the broom closet, or coffin, whatever, and throw them into modern medicine, law enforcement, politics, and society in general. Most writers take the mundane and make it fantastic, I like to take the fantastic and make it mundane. I want you to believe in what I write. I research my ass off to try and get as close to real as I can in among my vampires and zombies.

I don’t think most people realize how rare it is to have a series that is this long running where the audience grows larger with every book. I’ve done that without a TV show, or a movie. I’ve done that because you guys love the books, too, and you keep telling your friends, your family, your coworkers, "You’ve got to read these books." Even now with more commercials and publicity that is still what I hear the most, that one of you recommended the books to them. Thank you. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning in 1993. Others of you have only found me this year. Welcome all.

But I think one of the reasons that you guys still enjoy the books, and that each book sales better than the last, and I’ve hit #1 on the New York Times list more than once is that I still enjoy writing the books. I want to know what happens next, too. I love that Anita and I have been kicking butts and taking names for over ten years and next June 18 books. I love that she keeps pushing me outside my comfort zone, and I push right back. She and I have grown up together in a way, or maybe we’ve just helped each other grow.

So don’t be sad about the TV show going away. Be happy that tomorrow I get up more excited, more interested, with more affection for my characters, and a better grasp as a writer of my world and those characters than ever before. Think about what if the TV Show had gone on the air, and the show hadn’t loved Anita and her world as much as we do. 

Tomorrow, I’m working not because I have to, but because I want to, and my muse is poking at the scene, walking up to it, around it, and sometime tomorrow my muse and I will reach a boiling over point and it will drive me to the computer. I did three pages and some notes, just to bleed off enough energy of the scene so it wouldn’t keep me awake tonight. Yesterday I did 44 pages in a day because the muse woke me at 4 AM and by dawn I was working, and by 3-something I had the amazing page count. The writer’s high lasted for hours. What a rush of endorphins like the afterglow of sex, but hours of it. So, no regrets, guys, just more to look forward to. 

Posted by at 12:42:46 am on November 22, 2009

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