Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Q&A with Catherine Hand


Photo by Tony Powell


Catherine Hand is the author of the new memoir Becoming a Warrior: My Journey to Bring A Wrinkle in Time to the Screen. A communications consultant, she was a producer for the film adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's classic novel. She is based in the Washington, D.C., area.


Q: What inspired you to write this memoir about your experiences bringing A Wrinkle in Time to the screen?


A: I was curious about why I had never given up for 50 years to bring the book to screen. Why did I do it? I never knew how to chronicle something that took 50 years to do until I joined a small writers group. I decided to tell them my story and the result is a book that I'm very proud of and the answer to my question, why.


Q: What initially intrigued you about A Wrinkle in Time, and why do you think it's remained so popular after 60 years?


A: I loved it as a child. I thought it was a great adventure story and would be an exciting movie. It was a portal into a wondrous, mysterious universe that set my curiosity on fire. I never knew books could inspire in me the desire to find answers to so many questions. 


Reading Wrinkle made me feel smart. My view of the universe was pocket-size compared to how I experienced a wrinkle in time—traveling in the fifth dimension. I discovered that it is how we use our talents that counts, and that a girl—even a girl who was trying to get rid of her faults—could be a hero.


Most significantly, the book gave me hope when President Kennedy was assassinated.


Later on, when I met with Madeleine L'Engle I was introduced to the story through her eyes. As she said in one of our writers' meetings, “I wrote Wrinkle as my affirmation of a universe in which I could believe in the power of love. I wrote it as a way to say ‘yes’ to life.”


I think it has endured because readers see themselves in Madeleine's search for meaning. Each reader takes something different from the story -- whatever they need at that moment in their life. We all want to believe in the power of love.


Q: How would you compare the film version to the book?


A: They are two completely different representations of the story. The book was written in 1962 and the film was released in 2018 -- lots of societal changes in 56 years!


Also, A Wrinkle in Time had influenced many storytellers for five decades so some elements had been “borrowed” overtime and found their way into other movies. We had to look at every character, plot point, emotional beat and try to stay true to the essence of the book and, at the same time, push through to 2018.


It was a challenge to say the least. Ava DuVernay had a beautiful vision and we worked really hard to bring her vision to the screen. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from your story?


A: Exactly what Madeleine taught me: darkness exists and it can be overcome. There are many forms of darkness and the goal is to overcome our fear of the darkness so that we can see a path forward.


I had many forms of darkness I had to confront over the decades, most especially, the sudden and unexpected death of my husband. What I learned from Madeleine and I hope others will, too, after reading my book, is that love isn't what you feel, it's what you do.


I became a warrior when I internalized and really understand that love is action. It's not a new idea, but I wrote my story to share with others how I learned to do that -- or, at least try to do that as often as possible!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Promoting the book! I also have a film project I'm developing with a local writer that I'm very excited about and another book idea that is in the very early stages of development with my unconscious! 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: We live in an ever-increasing polarized world and I hope readers will see my memoir as an effective counterweight filled with positivity and gratitude to all the people I encountered along the way. We can all become warriors. The world needs our light to push back the darkness.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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