Friday, August 7, 2009

Barbara Freethy on Movies

UPDATED TO ADD: Leave a comment to enter a chance to win a free copy of Barbara's new book, Suddenly One Summer! She'll draw one winner...

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SA Today Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, just released her 25th book, SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER, which is the beginning of her Angel's Bay Series for Pocket Books. She's written category romance, single title contemporary, romantic suspense and women's fiction, and her books have received numerous awards, including four RITA nominations and one RITA win for her novel DANIEL'S GIFT. Barbara is thrilled to be starting an ongoing series set in the fictional California coastal town of Angel's Bay, a community rich with interesting characters, historical legends, quilting, and a little bit of magic. You can read an excerpt from her new book at http://www.barbarafreethy.com/.

Hi everyone – thanks to the Pens Fatales for inviting me to guest blog. I’ve been reading through all the great movie lines and laughing out loud. I thought I’d talk about memorable movie themes.

Forbidden love is one of my favorites and I think The Thornbirds plays out this theme in a wonderful way. The love of Meggie Cleary for the handsome Ralph de Bricassart, the ambitious priest, is filled with rich conflict and tormented love. She loves him, but he loves God more. How can she compete? He tries to let her go, but he fails and in a moment of weakness makes love to her. In the end, he still goes back to the church. It’s the ultimate romantic conflict.

Another interesting theme is the “stranger in a strange land” as portrayed in the movie, Witness, with Harrison Ford. A young Amish boy witnesses a murder and the cop, John Book, goes into hiding with them in order to protect them. Their way of life is completely different from his, and through their eyes, he finds a new side in himself.

And then there are the community based movies, often about female friendships, The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Steel Magnolias, How to Make An American Quilt. All of these movies are about family, relationships, life, death, rebirth. They make you laugh and they make you cry, and I like to do both!

I also love romantic comedies and crime capers. I enjoyed How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days which explores the ways women destroy their relationships with men. I didn’t find He’s Not That Into You quite as good, but I did like the theme that sometimes you have to accept the fact that no matter what you do, it’s not always right.

As a writer, I love to have a theme in each of my books. Sometimes I don’t know what it is until I’m done. In SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER, the first of my Angel’s Bay books, the theme of identity, and hiding from who you are, plays out in almost every thread. The heroine, Jenna, is on the run with her daughter, Lexie. The hero is a burned out reporter who doesn’t think he’ll ever be impressed or awed by anyone in life again, until he meets Jenna, who jumps into the bay to rescue a stranger. Reid knows that Jenna is hiding something. So is he. And telling the truth might be the greatest risk of all.

In my second book, ON SHADOW BEACH, which comes out next April, the theme is about memories and reunions. The heroine, Lauren, goes home to take of her father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. She’s reluctant to make the trip because her sister was murdered there, and she’s never been back. Her father is clinging to each memory as his mind begins to fail. She’s choosing to forget the very things he wants to remember. And then there’s Shane, her first love. If she dares to go back there, she’s afraid she’ll lose her heart all over again.

In the book I’m current writing, IN SHELTER COVE, out next May, I’m playing around with the question of what’s real and what’s not, and how can you tell the difference?

So in books and in writing, I’m drawn to themes that challenge what we think about ourselves and each other. I love a good time of course – and pure entertainment is fine, too – Knocked Up for example! But I think the movies that stick with me the most resonate on some thematic level.

What are your favorite movie themes?

13 comments:

Crystal said...

I love romantic comedies (How to Lose A Guy in 10 days is one of my all-time-favorites). I also love the family/community type movies - Steel Magnolias, Gone With The Wind.

I'm like you, I really like almost anything where the characters learn something about themselves. I don't seem to go for the straight-comedy anymore and I think that's why.

Your new book series sounds wonderful, can't wait to read them.

Kara C said...

Hey Barbara,
I loved Suddenly One Summer and am anxiously waiting for the release of On Shadow Beach (not 'til April, huh?). Can't wait to read more about Shane!
I love movies like Sweet Magnolias, where there are multiple characters to carry the movie. Guess that's one of the reasons I'm liking the Angel Bay series! There is always at least one character to whom you can relate. Situations characters find themselves in, and the choices they make, create the drama - kind of like real life!

Annie said...

I think my favorite movie themes are those where I *know* the hero/heroine is going to triumph, but the movies manages to convince me that maybe this time I might be wrong. Movies/stories that retell a historical event (even from a new perspective) don't appeal to me. I also love movies where the entire focus isn't on a single conflict/single romantic couple.

Barbara Freethy said...

Hi Crystal - I like when the character learns something, too, even within a comedy. I enjoyed 27 Dresses as well where she learns about herself and not just about being bridesmaid, plus I thought the dresses were hilarious. I have a few in my closet.

Barbara Freethy said...

Hi Kara - I know April is a long time to wait, but it will be worth it - I promise. And the good news is that the third book comes out in May, so no time at all between those two books!

Hi Annie - So you like the nail biting movies -I like those as well, but sometimes they stress me out too much!

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

"What does it mean to be a moral person in an immoral universe" is my favorite theme, played out mostly in film noir or caper pictures.

I'm looking forward to exploring Angel Bay!!!

Sophie Littlefield said...

I love Steel Magnolias...I think it's an example of a movie that pushes me right to the edge emotionally, but never feels gratuitous. That's the big test, for me...

Lisa Hughey said...

So I had to think hard about this because I think I have fairly eclectic taste but the overriding theme is Good triumphs over Evil. The framework may be different Evil Stepmother (Ever After) to Evil Empire (Star Wars) even the surprising Evil (The Departed or Sideways) but there is justice in the end. :) It may not be realistic but it makes me happy.

Lisa Hughey said...

Oh...I got so caught up in the question I forgot to say thanks for guest blogging! :)

Camille@minichino.com said...

I wouldn't said this before today, but after seeing Julia and Julie today, my fave theme is food!

Barbara Freethy said...

I really want to see Julia and Julie - so glad to hear it was good! Thanks to the Pens Fatales for asking me to guest blog. Crystal is the winner of Suddenly One Summer! Crystal - if you email me at barbara@barbarafreethy.com with your address, I'll get it out to you!

Have a good weekend!

vtcozy said...

..I will not put this on my TBR List of books,because I want you to be the new Author for me to devour.I am a BNer Firstlook member and and hope one day you can visit and interact with us..I will buy Suddenly Last Summer,but would love to win it and share and review. Great reading all about you and good luck with the series.. Susan

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