HILLEL ITALIE a Herald Daily News writer has written an interesting background on the indispensable literary spouse








Dan Brown‘s spouseBlythe Brown has entered a pantheon whose occupants include Vera Nabokov, Olivia Twain and Tabitha King: the indispensable literary spouse.

Few had heard of Blythe Brown before the trial, but as the author‘s witness statement and court testimony revealed, she was an essential contributor to his million-selling historical thriller. She led the massive research effort, supplied countless notes and suggestions and offered an invaluable “female perspective” for a book immersed in “the sacred feminine, goddess worship and the feminine aspect of spiritually.”

“She (Blythe Brown) dislikes the public attention and I (see) no reason why she should be put through the stress that the glare of publicity would cause,” Dan Brown said in his witness statement, explaining his wife‘s absence.

“She was also very important for the research of

Lolita,‘ because a lot of that book takes place on the road and he didn‘t drive,” says Stacy Schiff, author of “Vera,” a Pulitzer Prize winning biography. “In

Lolita,‘ a car needs to be serviced and Vera would make a list for him of the things that needed to be done so he could write with authority on the subject.”

Olivia Twain was never quite her husband‘s editor or researcher, but Mark Twain did read his manuscripts aloud to her and she did help him proofread his breakthrough book, “The Innocents Abroad.” Stephen King has often cited his wife, Tabitha, noting that she rescued the manuscript of “Carrie” from the trash and contributed essential, firsthand research on a world about which he knew very little: the girls‘ locker room.

“It was 1982 and I had basically quit writing,” Ford says. “And then, for a series of reasons, I decided to write a novel. And when I told Kristina, she said to me,

Well, look, why don‘t you write a novel about somebody who‘s happy,‘ because I had written novels about people who were angst-ridden. More than anything, what she said set me on my course.”

“If you had a husband who gave up his career to help with his wife‘s books, everyone would want to know why he was doing this,” says Meg Wolitzer, author of “The Wife,” a novel about a famous male writer whose spouse actually does the work. “The man would have to give up his own identity in society. What would people think of him? Would he be the poor, pathetic husband?”

Dick Francis was not kidding. Mary Francis died in 2000, and her husband, who for decades had turned out a book a year, hasn‘t published a novel since. 


Da Vinci Code Monk Lept to His Death

A monk may have leapt to his death from a monastery after reading The Da Vinci Code, it emerged yesterday. Abbot Alan Rees, 64, a revered figure in the Benedictine community, fell 30ft from a second-storey balcony at Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire last October. The Swansea-born monk had suffered from depression for the past 12 years. But at a recent inquest into his death, Fr Paul Stonham, the Abbey’s replacement abbot, linked his last bout of depression to a novel. There is speculation that he was referring to The Da Vinci Code. The book’s central theme, that Christianity is a sexist conspiracy, has been condemned by cardinals and church historians.





Judge’s decision Early April

The  case against Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown has ended in London and the presiding judge says he hopes to give a ruling by early April.

The three-week hearing instigated by two historians who claimed their work had been plagiarised featured debate about the Merovingian monarchy, the Knights Templar and Jesus’ bloodline, and revelations about the media-shy author and his wife Blythe.

The Da Vinci Code, which is one of the most successful novels of all time with sales of over 40 million copies, uses some of the same ideas as The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a 1982 work of historical conjecture by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh.

Jesus De-Coded Documentary to coincide with film release

Jesus De-Coded a documentary that brings authentic Catholic teachings of Jesus Christ will be available to NBC-TV stations for broadcast in the third week of May 2006, to coincide with the screening of the movie version of the bestseller Da Vinci Code.

The first time airing of the hour-long feature will highlight clear and accurate information about the person of Jesus, The Herald, a local Catholic weekly reported in its March 19, 2006, issue.

The release of the documentary is timed to counter and rebut the speculations and inaccuracies about Christ and the origin of Christianity as depicted in the upcoming movie.

Jesus De-Coded shot on location in Israel, Turkey and Italy for the US Bishop’s Catholic Communication Campaign by New Group Media is a strong response to the believers and proponents of the Da Vinci Code, a book by Dan Brown which combines fact and fiction and casts aspersions on the authentic nature and personhood of Jesus Christ.

The movie focuses on the first three centuries of the development of the church and carries interviews with international scholars well-versed in Scripture, art and history to separate Catholic truth from popular fiction.

The documentary will also be available for purchase on DVD and further details are available at www.jesusdecoded.com

The Catholic Communications Campaign is an activity of the United States Catholic Bishop’s Conference that develops media programming, public service announcements and resources to promote Gospel values.

Jim Bauer’s 5 Things!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About

The Movie The Da Vinci Code

By Jim Bauer

Entertainment Correspondent – ASKMEN.com

1. The real Mona Lisa does not appear in the film

Gaining access to the Louvre Museum — a key setting in the book — was hard enough, but thanks to French President Jacques Chirac, the production was able to film in the coveted location. However, the critical feature of the Louvre, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, was off limits no matter what. Since film lights would ruin the painting, a replica was fabricated, and the room that houses the painting was used for storage.

2. The producers originally wanted to adapt the book for a season of 24

Ron Howard’s and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment originally tried to bid on the rights to the book — but they weren’t after the film rights. Imagine, which produces the hit TV series 24, had plans to develop a season of the show around the book. The idea was quickly nixed by Dan Brown and his people, but when Sony bought the film rights to the book for US $6 million, they wanted to put it in sure hands. Accordingly, they hired Imagine, which has produced such acclaimed movies as A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13.

3. Opus Dei tried to keep its name out of the movie

The secretive Catholic group Opus Dei, which is featured in the book and which Dan Brown claims to be more than fiction, tried to get Sony to leave it out of the movie. Efforts at persuasion failed, but Opus Dei is trying to put its best face forward, which is something of a departure for a group that shunned attention so much that members were discouraged from publicly announcing their affiliation. The group is launching its own media campaign of sorts; it is changing its website, encouraging some members to speak out and promoting a blog by one of its priests in Rome.

4. Albinos are upset with the film trailer

Opus Dei isn’t the only group to be upset about the book and the movie. In the book, the assassin is an albino monk. Much to the chagrin of the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH), the filmmakers have decided to keep the albino character. According to NOAH, this depiction is part of a long line of Hollywood albino bad guys (ranging from such films as Lethal Weapon to The Matrix) that promote negative stereotypes of albinos.

5. The French President offered casting advice

Shooting abroad can be challenging, but with the aid of French President Jacques Chirac, many challenges were overcome. However, that help came with a price. Chirac is rumored to have urged Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to up the paycheck for Jean Reno, the French actor who plays detective Fache. That request, which was rejected, wasn’t quite as brazen as the casting advice the President gave Howard and Grazer when he suggested his daughter’s best friend for the role of Sophie Neveu, which eventually went to Audrey Tautou.

Link http://www.askmen.com/toys/special_feature_100/115_special_feature.html

Dan Brown Acknowledges Reworking

Brown said ”The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” was ”one of the books in the mix” when he and his wife, Blythe Brown, were researching the novel.

He acknowledged ”reworking” passages from the earlier book.

”That’s how you incorporate research into a novel,” Brown said.

Both books explore theories — dismissed by theologians — that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, the couple had a child, and the bloodline survives. The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Jonathan Rayner James, spent the morning citing passages from ”The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” that he said had near equivalents in ”The Da Vinci Code.”

”I’m sorry, again, I have to disagree,” said Brown, who appeared frustrated at the lawyer’s painstaking and sometimes repetitive questioning. ”These are points of history that were available in a lot of other books we were using.”

If Baigent and Leigh secure an injunction to bar the use of their material, they could hold up the scheduled May 19 film release of ”The Da Vinci Code,” starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.

Patrick Janson-Smith, who was involved with both books as former publisher of Transworld, a division of Random House, took the stand briefly to support his former employer.

In a witness statement, Janson-Smith said he saw similarities between the two books, but no evidence of copying.

” ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ purports to be nonfiction; ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is a thriller,” he said. ”I thought the latter was a romping piece of good fiction. Like any thriller, no doubt it took ideas from any number of sources.”