August 16, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Mark Spano, the Chapel Hill-based author of the critically acclaimed murder mystery, Midland Club, has been awarded a month-long residency at Escape to Create in Seaside, Florida, to turn his award-winning novel into a screenplay.
Escape to Create (E2C) is a nationally recognized, non-profit, multidisciplinary artist residency hosted by the Seaside community since 1993. Over 150 writers, musicians, visual artists, and scholars have been awarded month-long retreats as emerging and mid-career artists.
Mark Spano is an accomplished filmmaker as well as author. His works include “The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell” and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife.” As a result, he admits that he visualized Midland Club on the screen as he wrote it.
“First of all, I want to express my deep appreciation to the selection committee, board, staff, and volunteers at Escape to Create,” Spano said. “I am truly honored and overflowing with gratitude for this opportunity.
“Since I work as both a writer and a filmmaker,” he continued, “when I’m working on any project in one medium I’m always considering, consciously or not, the possibilities of the other media. With new technologies, it seems ideas can have many different lives. My colleagues and I have more than once discussed adapting Midland Club to film. This residency has set these wheels in motion.”
To some of his admiring critics, the adaptation of a screenplay is a natural progression.
“Midland Club is a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” wrote one reviewer for GayBookReviews.com, who also noted, “There’s a bit of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ amidst the melancholy…”
Two of the many positive Amazon Reader Comments call the book “an engaging work of noir fiction” and: “The writer of Midland Club is a filmmaker, a fact that comes through in the clarity and imagery of his writing. He captures, in a ‘noiresque’ manner, the atmosphere of the period and the location.”
A Page-Turning Tale
Published in May of 2016, Midland Club is a page-turning tale of corruption, love, lies, and murder set in a Midwestern city in 1958. Puce Bordeaux, the only “Negro” waiter at the exclusive Midland Club downtown, dies suddenly and the sheriff immediately declares it a suicide.
Yet one man refuses to believe the death was suicide. That man is the protagonist, Rich St. Pierre, a member of the city’s wealthy, white, First Family. Rich has known the now-elderly Puce since Rich was a child and dined at the club with his wealthy father. Rich and Puce also spent a night together in jail after a raid on a local dive bar where the town’s otherwise hidden gay community gathers for drinks and jazz. He’s certain that Puce was murdered to make sure a scandalous secret goes to the grave with him.
Ostracized by his family since the raid, Rich St. Pierre is just as certain that his own life will be in grave danger if he attempts to reveal the truth.
Spano will spend January 2018 at E2C in Seaside. Afterward, he’ll join an impressive alumni club that includes nominees and recipients of The Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes; National Book Awards; scholarships at the American Academy of Arts & Letters and The American Academy in Rome; ASCAP and Aaron Copeland Awards; Guggenheim Foundation scholarships; James Beard and Grammy Awards; and more.
E2C residencies are made possible through the generosity of Seaside homeowners, merchants, and donors. For more information on E2C visit www.escape2create.org.
Midland Club is available as a paperback book and in digital format on Amazon.