Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From Dolphins and Chimps to Critter Crap: Projects in the New Year

by Georgeanne Irvine

Welcome, 2011! I always like to ring in the new year with gusto—lots of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement about what I hope will be a fulfilling and fun 365 days. However, I started out this year with laryngitis on New Year’s Eve and then spent the next two days in bed with a killer cold. While lying there, though, in between episodes of “Glee” and “The Closer,” I had time to think about three writing-related projects that are in the works and decided that if even one of them comes to fruition this year, I will be very, very happy! So, what are the three projects?

The first project—a biggie—is financing and beginning production on a feature film based on my book, The Katrina Dolphins: One-Way Ticket to Paradise. Screenscope, a production company, purchased the movie rights to the book in 2009 and is still seeking funding. The producers have an Academy Award-winning screenwriter on board for the script but haven’t secured the big bucks to make the movie because of the bad economy. I know my book will make a fabulous movie: disaster, drama, dolphins, and a happy ending! Right now, there’s not much I can do to help, but if anyone knows of somebody who wants in on a film that’s sure to be an Oscar contender, please drop me a line! (And following the movie, I can see a show on Broadway: Katrina Dolphins: The Musical! Yes, I do have a vivid imagination.)

Next is my yet-to-be-published children’s book, Hope for Amizero, a true story about an orphaned chimpanzee at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Burundi, Central Africa. I researched the book in the early 1990s when friends of mine managed the sanctuary. The chimp, Amizero, was initially captured by poachers and then rescued by my friends when she was near death. The book touches on the drama of Amizero’s will to live and focuses on the story about her recovery and fun-filled life with the other chimpanzees as well as a baby gorilla at the sanctuary. On my two trips to Burundi, I met and bonded with Amizero and still cry when I think of the day I had to say goodbye to her. My first draft of the manuscript is written; I am partnering with a well-known children’s book illustrator; and we have a publisher interested in the book. An editor at the publishing house read the manuscript, liked it, said they definitely want to publish the book, but thus far hasn’t sent me suggested edits or the contract. The project has been stalled for a year and a half now. It’s truly time to get the Amizero project moving, even if it has to go to another publisher.

Third is an adult humor book I wrote nearly 30 years ago, Critter Crap from A to Z. As you probably guessed, it’s about animal poop. I think it’s the most creative and unusual book I’ve written. It features two-liners about animal poop in alphabetical order of the critters, which are illustrated with cartoons. Example: “Diamonds and rubies are fit for the crown. But jaguar jewels make the Queen’s gown brown.” Or: “When NASA sends monkeys to the red planet Mars…their waste, monkey missiles, orbits the stars.” I have had dozens of rejection letters regarding this manuscript but I know in my heart that, someday, it will get published and it will probably be my best-selling book! Late last year, I contacted my incredibly talented cartoonist pal, and we agreed to give the book another go. He’s working on updated illustrations, and then we’ll figure out our publishing strategy from there.

As a freelance writer with a full-time communications job at the San Diego Zoo, it’s really easy to put my book projects on the back burner. I also need time for friends, family, photography, travel, and fun, plus I am an excellent procrastinator. If I set my mind to something, though, I can make it happen, so now that my “to do” list is published for the world to see, stay tuned for the next chapter!

GEORGEANNE "GEORGE" IRVINE is the author of more than 20 books on animals and wildlife, her most recent being the colorful and informative coffee table book, The Katrina Dolphins: One-Way Ticket to Paradise. Whether she’s trekking through rain forests in Borneo to photograph orangutans and illegal loggers, cavorting with dolphins in the Bahamas to research a new book, or wrestling with 50-pound panda cubs to help promote wildlife tours to China, George’s career is all about sharing animal stories to raise global awareness about conservation. By day, she is communications manager for the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, where she has worked for nearly 33 years.


Laurel Corona said...

George--best of luck for all three projects. Sounds as if Critter Crap might work as a not-for-kids children's book. I would buy it! However, since no one would know what shelf to put it on at Borders, that's probably not such a good idea after all ;-}

Kathleen B. Jones said...

I'm sending vibes out for funding for your movie. What a fabulous film that would make! good luck.

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