Friday, June 15, 2012

Movie Influences on Elana

Dude! I'm so excited today to have Elana Johnson here. Elana's one of my favourite people in the bloggy-verse. Not only do I adore her books (see here and here to hear me gush!), but she's a total sweetie - honest, kind, open, generous - she's an awesome lady! So, here's Elana...

The Influence of Minority Report

A guest post by Elana Johnson

Okay, so I’m a lover of thrillers like The Bourne Identity and Mission Impossible. One of my favorite futuristic movies is Minority Report. I haven’t seen it for a few years, and I recently watched it. I felt like I’d taken a slice of SURRENDER and inserted it into the movie.

Or the other way around. Maybe I’ve taken a slice of Minority Report and inserted it into SURRENDER…

Here’s a couple pieces of the pie you’ll see in both places.

The spiders. In Minority Report, there’re these robotic spiders that can be programmed to find a specific person. They scan retinas to ID people.

Well, SURRENDER has spiders too. Some are used for menial labor, like cleaning smudges off floors and windows. Some are for protection, like guard dogs with eight legs. Some are used for enforcement purposes, like disabling a person until officers can arrive.

I strongly dislike spiders, so I thought they’d be a perfect addition to a futuristic society as a symbol of something for the citizens to dislike or be afraid of—just like we are.

The pre-cogs. In SURRENDER, some of the citizens have paranormal abilities. Some can manipulate tech, some can read minds, some can command the elements. And some can see the future.

True, in Minority Report, the pre-cogs wallow in this weird watery stuff and can’t seem to function in society. That’s not the case in SURRENDER, but as I was watching the movie, I thought “I have people who predict the future too!”

It’s a fascinating concept to me—all of Minority Report is—and I’ve recently written an entire novel about time and knowing too much about the future. I love thinking about things like this, which is why I enjoyed Minority Report and enjoyed writing about people who can see the future in SURRENDER.

That’s about the extent of the similarities between SURRENDER and Minority Report, but I thought it was fun to see them as I watched the movie.

Have you ever written something with slices from something else? Have you read something that reminds you of a particular movie/book?

This week, as part of the SURRENDER blog tour, you can win one of three $15 Barnes & Noble gift cards and become a winner winner, chicken dinner! All you have to do is fill out this rafflecopter widget with what you’ve done. NOTE: One of the options is to blog about a time you didn’t surrender. Go here for full details on this, including how to sign up for your free swag package!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, Elana! Those spiders are definitely creepy!!  If you'd like to catch up with Elana you can find her here: blog, twitter & Facebook.

Bio: Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

About SURRENDER: Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

Purchase your copy here: Simon & Schuster (this has links to all major retailers!)

So what slices of books or movies show up in your stories?


  1. Oh sure! There are slices of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and Star Trek in my books.
    Robotic spiders. Nice touch!

  2. Alex - I love all of those shows - but they don't fit quite as well in the romance I'm writing... :)

  3. I never saw that movie Elana. But awesome how it gave you ideas for your very awesome book. I used to love the Mission Impossible show. I think they're better than the movies.

  4. Hoooraah for Elana!! Oooh the funny metalic spiders in MR reminded me of the funny bugs in the Mummy!!! Yay! Take care

  5. I love when I see slices of movies and other bits of pop culture in novels, just to see how they've influenced the author. And spiders *shivers* not a huge fan of spiders--though I can see how they're useful and I liked how Elana used it in her world.

  6. Jemi, you're a great host.

    Elana, I am terrified of spiders like over the top and yet use them in stories. Our fears make good fodder.

    In the back of my memory box, I think the movie Lost in Space had robotic spider things that tried to kill the characters. Even they, FREAKED ME OUT.

  7. I remember seeing Minority Report and being freaked out by the spiders! A great look into what inspired Surrender.

  8. I loved it when Jag kissed Vi so that when they closed their eyes the robots couldn't scan their retinas. So resourceful ;)

  9. I did something with spiders in my book too, even though I'm scared of them. I think it is a pity that the scariest things authors can create are things they are scared of. It works well in the book and can scare the reader because it is so real, but the author while writing it wants to hide under the bed...or so it seems.

    I do that with books and movies too, but mine are more obvious and I have to edit it a lot so no one will notice.

  10. Elana is a rock star! And her book? Totally cool. Creepy spiders are an awesome touch.

    I wonder if Apple studies Minority Report for ideas about how to update their products :)

  11. I was completely fascinated with Minority Report when I first saw it. Such a great dystopian movie. Before the big rush of dystopian everywhere. Spiders scare the living daylights out of me.

  12. Got a problem here, gang. What do you do when everyone loves adding those eight-legged things to their stories and you're so arachnophobic that just the word [spiders]creeps you out?

    Jemi, while I'm working on this problem, please stop by my blog and pick up the award/meme I have for you.


  14. Natalie - Loved the music from that show too! :)

    Old Kitty - I've only seen trailers for the Mummy - but I think you're right! :)

    Mary - strangely, spiders don't bother me - and I love the way Elana uses them. they're so cool! :)

    Teresa - thanks! :) I loved Lost in Space - such a great show!

    Julie - isn't it fun to see how bits and pieces of our memories get re-used as something new!

    Veray - yes! An awesome use of tactics ... and more! :)

    Jack - thankfully we all have that editing option! :) I've often thought I should write horror because my nightmares are so vivid - but I don't want to live in that world!!

    Julie - it really is such an awesome book! Loved it :)

    Vivien - I love those kinds of 'what if' movies - so many great ones!

    Linda - thank you! You're a sweetie - I'll be over :) I know what you mean, even though my fear isn't spiders. I can't read books about.... those slithery things :)

    Max - it IS!!! Totally awesome :)

  15. I loved Minority Report and enjoyed reading the similarities between it and Surrender. There are so many things that inspire me, and movies is one of them.

  16. Medeia - movies inspire me a lot too. Sci-fi especially for me - love the new techy things :)

  17. I like SURRENDER so much better than Minority Report. Just sayin'. I am eyeing the spider webs in my house with more caution.

  18. Awesome post! I haven't seen Minority Report but it sounds fascinating. :)

    Elana rox!

  19. Leslie - me too! Elana's created such a fabulous world with amazing tech!

    Precy - she most certainly does! It's been a while since I've seen the movie, but I do remember those spiders!

  20. I like the idea of robotic spiders for menial tasks. Isn't it convenient for them to do a lot with all those legs?

  21. Theresa - good idea! I have lots and lots of menial tasks they could do! :)

  22. Spiders. *shivers*

    I get influenced by movies and TV all the time. I recently discovered a derivative of something I'd seen in Supernatural in my YA novel.

  23. Kari - that's cool! We see/read so many great things, it's not surprising those inspire new parts in our stories! :)

  24. Most of my books have contained slices of life, often my own.

  25. Diane - I haven't added much of my own life into any books yet - probably will one day :)

  26. I included elements of Indiana Jones and James Bond into my MC. There is nothing new under the sun, but we can tweek this way and that to put a new spin on old things.

  27. Stephen - we sure can! I don't have any obvious (to me) spin offs in my story at this point, but I'm sure there are a blend of characteristics from a variety of places! :)

  28. Fortunately I have a copy of Minority Report in my DVD library. I need to watch it again because I don't really remember it.
    Yes, I'm forever seeing movies and reading books that have similarities. Just so it's not a total rip-off.

    Wrote By Rote

  29. Lee - exactly. Even if we don't remember the source, there are probably a lot of our own ideas that are actually not new at all :)

  30. Those sound like creepy spiders, in both the movie and the book. It's interesting what elements will repeat themselves--small details like that can influence the overall shape of a story.

    Great post!

  31. Golden Eagle - I agree - I love when those small elements pull together to create the world!

  32. Congratulations Elana! Surrender sounds interesting!

    Thanks Jemi!

  33. Nas - Surrender is a fabulous story! :)

  34. These books sound so good, Jemi. Thanks for introducing Elana to us.

  35. Pat - you're welcome. I LOVE Elana's writing. Great characters and a unique world!

  36. I've seen the Bourne Identity movies with my husband. I don't think there are bits of movies in any of my stories.

  37. Susanne - I don't know if there are any in mine either - but if I dug deep, I think there might be :)

  38. Ooh, there are some interesting details here that I didn't know about SURRENDER (since I haven't read it yet). POSSESSION was fantastic though, so I definitely plan to read SURRENDER :-)

  39. Rachel - you're going to love it! I love the way the whole world deepens and expands. So well done! :)