Author Sarah Dessen On Turning Her Books Into Movies And Why She Thanks Mandy Moore Every Day

Although it seems like every hot YA property nowadays gets its screen rights snatched up before the book even comes out, that’s not always the case. For authors like Sarah Dessen, who have been publishing YA fiction for years now, the book-to-screen process hasn’t happened that easily.

Sarah did the whole film adaptation thing in 2003 when the Mandy Moore movie “How to Deal” combined her first two top-selling novels, “That Summer” and “Someone Like You.” Despite loving every second of the process, she has no more screen projects in the works.

When Sarah called Hollywood Crush two weeks ago to discuss her new book, “What Happened to Goodbye,” she told us she’d love for Hollywood to take a look at some of her other novels. “I’m always hopeful,” she said. “I feel like I’m at the prom sitting against the wall waiting for someone to ask me to dance.”

In particular, Sarah said she sees her 2004 book “The Truth About Forever” in a very cinematic way. “It has sort of the heavier story of the girl losing her dad, but there’s also all of the catering scenes and the family. There’s just a lot of material. I know my agent has been really trying to pitch it as a possible TV series. You know how much I love television, I would love that!”

Just like any book-to-film project, transforming written material into a visual medium is difficult. “I think part of the problem sometimes is that there’s so much happening in my books, to whittle it down into a single script is hard,” Sarah said. “I’ve never envied the person who had to put my books together in one script. They’d say, ’What do you think about this?’ And I was like, ’I’m just glad I don’t have to do it,’ because it would be impossible for me. I’m not known for my brevity.”

As for her first foray into Hollywood, Sarah told us she had a wonderful time. “I had so much fun with that experience. It was hilarious on so many levels. I got to go watch them film in Toronto, and I got to go to the premiere. I’m such a celebrity/People magazine kind of person, so I just loved every minute of that.”

Sarah even thanks Mandy Moore every day for the fun she had. “I will be forever grateful to Mandy Moore for reading that script and deciding to do it,” she said. “We always joke that we have so many things around this house because of Mandy Moore. We’ll say, ’Thank you Mandy Moore for our brick wall that we have here at the garden.'”

Sarah laughs, but it’s true. Mandy appears on the cover of the combined “That Summer” and “Someone Like You” books, which people still pick up at bookstores. “The movie came out in 2003 and the book still sells because she’s on it. It’s fantastic. You can’t ask for better than that. I love her!”

Which Sarah Dessen books could you see as movies?