I wrote the Imago Chronicles for my daughter as a lasting gift for when I’m dead and gone, but I was inspired to create my protagonist during a martial arts seminar where I was the only female instructor. The women participating in this event told me they never believed a woman could fight until they saw me taking on some very large male students in a demo. When I asked them why they thought this, they said it was in their upbringing; this idea was in their culture and in the books they read.
A quick trip to the bookstore revealed many female fantasy heroines either being rescued or only able to hold their own because they possessed supernatural powers or superhuman strength to take on an opponent. I didn’t want my daughter reading about women needing to be rescued; I wanted her to read about an ordinary woman capable of doing the rescuing without relying on supernatural powers. This gave rise to the main character of Nayla Treeborn.
What is the story you’re telling in the Imago Chronicles?
This epic fantasy series consists of an ensemble cast of characters featuring an unlikely heroine, Nayla Treeborn. In Imago Chronicles: Book One (A Warrior’s Tale), Nayla’s only crime is being born half human and half elf; denied by one race and shunned by the other, she immerses herself in the male-dominated arena of warriorship. When those keeping her at arm’s-length discover she possesses exceptional skills on the field of battle and true courage in the face of war, she becomes a pawn in a cruel game that will determine the survival of the free peoples of her realm. It is a tale about self-sacrifice, betrayal, redemption, love, and loyalty rolled into a very non-traditional, epic fantasy!
How you get a motion picture deal? We all want to know how that happens!
In 2008, Michy Gustavia, an indie film producer, flew me across Canada to Toronto, Ontario to meet with her to discuss the possibility of optioning rights to my books. She happened to see an interview that I did on MTV, where I discussed the Imago fantasy series. I was also doing a martial arts demo with my husband, as the host of the show wanted a taste of the main character’s fighting style. I suppose using my book as a weapon stuck in her mind! She bought the books, read them, and fell in love with the stories and the characters, beginning a three-year odyssey to locate me, and then negotiate an option agreement for a major motion picture trilogy. I’m very pleased with the production team, which includes the executive producer Michy Gustavia and producer Ari Lantos of Serendipity Point Films (best known for the Oscar-nominated Eastern Promises, starring Viggo Mortensen, and Golden Globe winners Barney’s Version and Being Julia).
Will there be a separate movie for each book, or will the stories from several books be told in one movie?
The Imago Chronicles series consists of seven novels, plus two other stories, Imago Prophecy and Legacy, that form the prequels leading up to Book One (A Warrior’s Tale). It is only the first three novels of this series that have been optioned for a major motion picture trilogy. Right now, the plan is to get the first one done and released. Depending on how well it does at the box office – if it’s well received – then the next two movies will be filmed back to back.
When will the first movie come out?
The release date of the first movie depends on many things. We are currently in the middle of casting, but this can take months to get the right chemistry of A-List stars and lesser-known actors. It’s proven to be very challenging; just because you have an actor in mind and he or she would love the role, it really comes down to availability, the film schedule, whether they can commit to a trilogy (or more) if it becomes a franchise movie, and whether or not they have prior commitments that overlap. Of course, once you have your actors lined up, there are sets, costumes, weapons, armor, and so on! If we can get casting completed in a timely manner, then full production is slated to begin late this year. After filming is completed, there’s the process of post-production: editing, sound, adding CGI, movie trailers, etc. So, if all goes well, we’re probably looking at release late next year or early 2014.
What additional work have you had to do that is related to having a motion picture deal?
I’ve been hired as the creative consultant, as Ms. Gustavia believes that’s the best way to make sure the movie adaptations stay as true to the novels as possible. I’ve been involved in a number of steps in the process so far. Initially, I was given the names of five A-List Hollywood screenwriters to choose from. All had won or were nominated for an Academy Award, but the executive producer actually considered my recommendation of an award-winning, but lesser-known Canadian screenwriter by the name of Michael Bruce Adams. I was familiar with Mike’s writing style and his ability to capture the heart of the story. I also knew he had read my novels and loved the Imago stories and characters. He did an awesome job writing the first draft of the screenplay. Not only did I get to review the screenplay, but I was also asked to create a list of actors that I envision in the various principle and supporting roles. Hopefully we can secure some of these actors for the movie, but it was done so the casting director will have a clear picture of the age, physical appearance, etc. of each character. If all goes as planned, I hope to teach some martial arts skills to some of the actors, so they’ll have a small taste of what Nayla’s fighting style is all about.
Follow Lorna Suzuki on Twitter: @LornaSuzuki.
About the Author (Author Profile)
With over twenty-five years experience in various forms of martial arts, Suzuki is a 5th-dan practitioner and instructor of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, a martial arts system incorporating six traditional samurai schools and three schools of ninjutsu under Japanese Soke, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. Although Budo Taijutsu has a very long and rich history in Japan and is steeped in tradition, it is only now growing in popularity. www.shinkentaijutsu.com
When Suzuki is not writing the next instalment of the Imago series or her new Young Adult Fantasy Series, The Dream Merchant Saga, she is a scriptwriter specializing in biographic documentaries for TV. Suzuki is also currently a consultant/scriptwriter on the PBS TV series ‘West Coast Adventures’.
In early 2011, the first three novels of the Imago Chronicles series were optioned for a major motion picture trilogy. Book One A Warrior’s Tale is now in development and full production is slated for 2012.
She resides in the suburbs outside of Vancouver, BC with her husband Scott White, a talented videographer and Bujinkan Shidoshi, and her charming, young daughter Nia.