The Stiletto Gang is pleased to welcome as our guest blogger, Jane Cleland. She is the author of the Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries (St. Martin's Minotaur). Her latest book, Antiques to Die For, debuts this month. Jane is also President of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Welcome Jane!
For the first time, I created a book trailer to celebrate my new book, Antiques to Die For. You can view it at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=janecleland.
It was quite an experience creating it.
I worked with a terrific independent film maker named Kat. http://www.spygirlpix.com/ Kat taught me the process: strategy, script, casting, setting, shoot. Sounds easy, right? Hardly.
The strategy was pretty straight ahead because I knew what I wanted. I had a clear vision—strategically, I wanted to both show what the book was about and what the experience of reading would feel like. I wanted to provide enough information to intrigue readers of traditional mysteries while creating a strong sense of place and atmosphere.
Here’s what the book is about:
After setting up shop as an antiques appraiser, Josie Prescott’s life has not gone according to plan: business is booming and she has good friends and a promising romance—but dead bodies keep crossing her path. And now, a friend is killed just hours after confiding a secret to Josie, leaving a bereaved sister who reminds Josie of herself when her mother died.
It turns out that the victim had other secrets, too: a mysterious treasure she told her sister she was leaving behind—and a secret admirer who now seems to be turning his creepy attention to Josie. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a 12-year old orphan whose sister is murdered? Can you imagine what it would be like if your sister told you that you owned a treasure—a priceless antique—but you don’t know what it is or where it is?
Set on the beautiful and rugged New Hampshire coastline, Antiques to Die For is filled with antiques lore and complex plot twists. In the end, using her knowledge of antiques, Josie finds the valuable treasure—and solves the crime. And in doing so, she gives a young girl hope.
At first, when thinking of the trailer, I focused almost exclusively on the young girl, but that took me off on the wrong track. Certainly, the girl, she’s a little blonde pixie named Paige, by the way, is a central character in the book. But Antiques to Die For is a Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery—and that means the trailer should focus primarily on Josie’s world—antiques, not a single character.
Casting was something else all together. I wanted to hire a girl to play Paige, but only her rear view would be seen. I wanted viewers to fill in their own ideas about what Paige looked like.
Kat ran ads on Craig’s list, and we were flooded with blonde ambition. One girl, or rather, her mother, wrote that her daughter was fourteen, but could play twelve. Another wrote that her daughter was ten, but could play twelve. We had two mothers who wanted to fly their daughters to New York to audition. Enough said. We picked a lovely 12-year old local girl named Shannon.
Perhaps the greatest challenge was finding a New York City shoreline location that looked even remotely like Rocky Point, the New Hampshire shoreline community where the Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries are set. Leave it to Kat! We did. When you view the trailer, keep in mind that you’re looking at a New York City beach. Pretty incredible, isn’t it?
In the end, I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. It expresses exactly what I wanted to express. A excerpt of the book is available in text or audio on my website, http://www.janecleland.net/. I love to hear your thoughts about book trailers—and the Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries, too.