Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid Plans has gone from self-published novel to CBC mini-series.
“It had a strange and wonderful journey as a book,” said Fallis, who is co-founder of PR firm Thornley Fallis. “I have no idea how it all happened.”
Fallis couldn’t find an agent or a publisher for The Best Laid Plans, a satirical novel on Canadian politics he wrote in 2005. To build an audience, he podcasted the book chapter by chapter, and later self-published it.
In 2008, The Best Laid Plans won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, which led to a publishing deal with McClelland & Stewart. The novel won CBC’s 2011 Canada Reads competition, making it an instant bestseller. That led to inquiries about film and television rights and finally, The Best Laid Plans was made into a six-part mini-series for CBC. It debuted on Sunday, Jan. 5.
Fallis said CBC’s vision of the novel closely accorded with his own. He was allowed to review each script and make comments. “They’ve got two incredibly talented scriptwriters, Jason Sherman and Susan Coyne… so I was not surprised when I reviewed the scripts that there wasn’t a lot for me to comment on.”
Fallis has published two more books with McClelland & Stewart: The High Road and Up & Down. His fourth book, No Relation, comes out May 20, and he is currently writing novel number five.
Fallis said running a PR firm and writing novels (the latter of which he does on the weekends) is all about discipline and time management. His advice for would-be novelists? “Actually do it. There are so many people who say ‘I’ve got a novel in me, I just can’t get to it.’ Actually they can get to it if they really want to. I’m as busy as anybody, and if I can fit it in, I think almost anybody can.”
Look out for Fallis in episode six of The Best Laid Plans, where he makes a cameo appearance as a Member of Parliament.