Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bringing Books to Life

On January 23rd, New Line Cinema will release the movie Inkheart, based on the very popular book by Cornelia Funke (she was also on board as a producer on the movie). Inkheart tells the story of Mo (played by Brendan Fraser) and his 12-year-old daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett) who when he reads aloud from a book can make the people and objects mentioned in the pages come to life. But when something comes out of a book, something else has to go back in. The book is the first in the series published by Chicken House (an imprint of Scholastic) followed by Inkspell and the recently published Inkdeath. Helen Mirren joins the cast as Meggie's great-aunt Elinor, a wealthy rare-book collector with a somewhat prickly personality. Since the movie doesn't open for a few weeks, you have time to read all three books first! And I have to say, the trailer looks pretty darned good!

Funke was born in Germany and initially dreamed of becoming an astronaut, until she discovered that military training was involved. She first worked as a social worker in Germany, and then became a designer of board games and illustrator of children's books. Frustrated sometimes by how the stories were written, she decided to write her own, and at age 35 became a full-time writer. The first book of hers that was translated into English was The Thief Lord, which became an instant bestseller and won numerous awards in the US and internationally. She has written more than 40 books, most involving "magical realism." Before a manuscript is submitted to the publisher, it goes through three or four drafts, and she reads the whole text of each draft aloud. "Revision," she says, "makes writing sparkle, makes it dense and beautiful." Funke and her family moved from Hamburg, Germany, to Los Angeles in 2005.

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