The Chancer by Fiona Graham was published 4th May 2023 and is described by Fiona Graham as ‘an Irish tale of making it or breaking it in Hollywood, told with heart and humour.’ The Chancer recently won the Bronze Medal for Comedy Fiction at the Readers Favorite International Book Awards 2023.
I am delighted to welcome Fiona today with a brief introduction and an extract from The Chancer, so I hope you enjoy!
“Thank you very much to Mairéad for hosting a blog about my debut novel, The Chancer. My writing to date has mostly been screenplays, and I wrote and produced the award-winning Irish feature film Songs for Amy, but I have always been keen to write a novel. William Goldman, who wrote ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, once said that if you only write screenplays, it will tear your soul apart… so I didn’t fancy that happening and decided to write a book. I enjoy the genre of dramedy, where I can contrast emotional moments with humour, and I always aim to entertain and provide an uplifting story. Although I loved writing The Chancer, publishing induces toe-curling trepidation about how the book might perform. Questions run through your head like, ‘Am I the only one that might find these characters funny? Does my book suck? Have I written a book or 300 pages of drivel?’ I’m delighted to say that I have been overwhelmed by the reception the book has received. I have also written a screenplay of The Chancer, so we’ll see where that ends up.”
[ About The Chancer ]
The Chancer is an Irish story about making it or breaking it in Hollywood. Set in 1989 in the west of Ireland and LA, Donnie McNamara, tired of being the family disappointment, buys a one-way ticket to Tinseltown to pursue his ridiculed dreams of acting.
Abe Nelson, a fallen Hollywood legend, now wallows in LA dive bars. Their worlds collide, and Abe becomes an unlikely mentor and is catapulted into Donnie’s fantastical endeavour.
But will the journey to stardom end in red carpets or red faces?
[ Extract ]
Docu-style crime drama? That had a much better ring to it, thought Donnie. He could imagine himself shoving it in Francis’s face—
‘Hey, Francis, I landed myself the lead role in a docu-style crime drama. So away to fuck now, please.’
‘Okay, Donnie … so, from your accent, you don’t sound like you’re from LA. Have you been in LA long?’
‘I’m from Ireland, but I always dreamt of coming to LA, and now I’m finally here, living that dream.’ Donnie thought Levi would appreciate the point about living dreams as he still had him pegged as a positivity guru. ‘You’ve got to give everything your best shot, be ready to strike when the iron is hot,’ he continued, ‘and I’ve been here a while now. I mostly hang out with Abe Nelson in Santa Monica, and I love going to Bar Boulevard. There’s a girl I like there—’
Feeling this could go on for some time, Levi interrupted him,
‘Yes, that’s a neat place, all right. Okay, Donnie, give it all you’ve got!’ Levi punched the air with enthusiasm.
Donnie wasn’t quite sure what he was meant to be doing. Nobody had given him anything to read.
‘Yes, well, I can play any of the victims,’ he offered, immediately realising how pathetic that sounded, so he added, ‘In fairness, I can play any of the murderers too.’
Misty studied him, unsure what to make of this babbling mess in front of her. Was he simple or in character? There was an uncanny familiarity about him, however. A likeness she couldn’t place. Then it struck her. She looked from Donnie to the pile of photographs on the desk and started sifting through them frantically. Eventually, she found what she was looking for, and with a disturbed expression, she said,
‘You do look strangely like one of the murderers.’
Misty then handed a photo to Levi, who raised his eyebrows. Donnie looked from one to the other before she held it up for him to see, with an accusing look in her eye.
‘Great!’ exclaimed Donnie. ‘I’ll play him then.’ Finally, thought Donnie, I’m getting a break.
Misty seemed baffled. She leaned forward across the desk and spoke more sternly,
‘Do you have your copy of the script for the audition? It would have been sent to your agent.’
‘Ah …’ said Donnie, realising where things may have gone wrong, ‘I don’t have it, I’m afraid. They mustn’t have posted it to me in time.’
‘No problem, no problem,’ said Levi, handing Donnie the script.
Misty looked back at her notes.
‘Wait a minute. Donnie McNamara … It says here that you are represented by De Niro, Williams and Hanks. I’ve not heard of them.’
‘Everyone … I mean, literally, everyone has heard of them.’
Misty’s brow furrowed, creating two pointed peaks of skin at the top of her nose.
‘They are your agents?’
Donnie shrugged. Was there any need to get into this? Why couldn’t they get on with the audition? He was clearly a dead ringer for the murderer.
‘Agents, mentors, whatever,’ he shrugged.
Misty leaned back in her chair, like a psychiatric therapist and clasped her hands together. Donnie wasn’t sure if she was downing tools, relaxing or about to pray.
Purchase Link – The Chancer
[ Bio ]
Fiona Graham is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter, living in county Galway, in the west of Ireland, with her husband and daughter and two dogs, Skye and Guinness. Originally from Glasgow, Fiona moved to a place where it rains just as much as her hometown. She has now lived in Ireland for most of her adult life and draws inspiration from the people, culture and wild landscapes of the West, and is lucky enough to have grown up with the humour of the Scots and the Irish.
Fiona wrote and produced the Irish feature film Songs for Amy, which won the Jury Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking’ at Newport Beach Film Festival, California. Songs for Amy, starring Sean Maguire, was released cinematically in 2014 and is available on multiple global platforms. Fiona is the founder of the production & publishing company Sonny & Skye Productions Ltd.
X – @fgrahamwriter
Website – https://www.fionagrahamwriter.com/