EXCLUSIVE: With heavy heart, author Don Winslow has cancelled plans for a 20-city book tour to promote his new book, Broken. It is no time to be traveling anywhere, much less to bookstores empty because of the Coronavirus scare, so instead he will launch with a “virtual tour” strategy. This is a dilemma that will face any author launching a book in this perilous corridor. Winslow is feeling down over the whole thing because the stops included the independent bookstores that helped turn him from a journeyman into a number one international bestselling author.
Broken is a collection of six short novels connected by themes of crime, corruption, vengeance, justice, loss, betrayal, guilt and redemption. The tour was set to begin April 6 and included stops in major cities across the country from Los Angeles to New York City. Major authors like Lee Child were set to introduce Winslow at sold out events.
Three of the short novels in Broken — the title story, Crime 101 (which is dedicated to Steve McQueen) and The Last Ride — are particularly ripe for film adaptation. Winslow and his reps have made the decision to delay shopping the short novels to studios, networks and streamers, and will revisit when the COVID-19 crisis calms down.
“After conversations with Harper Collins and my business and creative partner Shane Salerno, we have made the decision to cancel my tour,” Winslow told Deadline. “I remember when my career started and no one showed up to see me on tour. One bookseller, Barbara Peters of Poisoned Pen, actually bought a copy of my book from her own store because she felt so bad for me. Independent bookstores stayed with me until my ‘overnight success’ in my mid-50s. I will always be grateful to independent bookstores and I don’t make this decision lightly because I know they will be deeply impacted. Ultimately there is nothing more important than the safety of everyone during this difficult time and that is why I made this decision. However, I truly feel like several of the short novels in Broken represent my best work as a writer and I hope people will seek out and order the book.”
Winslow and Harper Collins are now moving forward with a “virtual tour,” with online events at the same bookstores.
The postponement of film/TV sales of the stories in Winslow’s new book puts off a bit the timing of him becoming an “overnight success” as authors whose works are on the screen. Every Winslow book has been sold to a major studio or network, some books two and three times, and several are on a fast track.
Winslow’s The Winter of Frankie Machine was included in an oft-told tale this past Oscar season. A green light from the late Brad Grey at Paramount, with Martin Scorsese directing and Robert De Niro starring, went by the wayside when De Niro read the Frank Sheeran memoir I Hear You Paint Houses for research, after which he and Scorsese decided to drop everything and instead spend a decade making the Best Picture nominated The Irishman. Film rights to Frankie Machine, a thriller about a retired assassin forced to confront his past to protect his family from an assassin, have reverted back to Winslow.
Winslow’s The Cartel sold to Twentieth Century Fox and Ridley Scott in 2015 in a $6 million dollar package with Leonard DiCaprio attached to star. All three books in the trilogy — The Cartel, The Power of the Dog and The Border — moved to FX, where it is being redesigned as a weekly drama series. Disney/Fox also has The Force, which Scott Frank adapted with James Mangold attached to direct and re-team with his Ford V Ferrari star Matt Damon attached to play the lead role. After Disney made a seven figure payment made last November that turned an option into a purchase, Mangold is reportedly considering Indiana Jones 5. If that happens, source said Disney will find a new director to replace him.
Winslow is repped by The Story Factory.