Australian novelist Graeme Simsion, at 50, transitioned from a successful scientific career in IT to that of a screenwriter and novelist about six years ago. His first publication is so compelling that it will be published around the world in about 40 languages within a year, with the author signed on as screenwriter as well.
“The Rosie Project” began as a screenplay, Simsion writes in his acknowledgments.
“It developed during screenwriting studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Anne (his psychiatrist/writer wife), my son Daniel, and I workshopped the original plot during a walk in New Zealand ….”
It changed from a drama to comedy over five years with input from others and emerged as a first novel with a most original voice:
Dr. Don Tillman is an academic geneticist who falls somewhere into the Asperger's spectrum. He is physically fit, highly intelligent, compulsively organized, lacking basic social skills and recognizing, triggered by advice from a dear elderly friend, that there is a partner somewhere out there for him.
Into his already-busy schedule of lectures and research, planned on a whiteboard minute by minute, he adds “The Wife Project.”
It is initiated with a 16-page questionnaire, geared to filter out women who are vegetarians, smokers, aren't prompt, etc., etc., etc. …
And then he meets red-haired, impulsive Rosie, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology who has her own project: She wants to identify her biological father.
Who is more equipped to research that question than an ingenious genetic researcher?
It's fun to read a wacky love story, especially as winter lurks around the corner — to read a novel that makes you laugh out loud — and to know that it's future as a film is already guaranteed.
The book gives one some sympathetic insight into the psychology of this type of personality — not uncommon in our society of scientifically adept friends and neighbors.
It's also entertaining to contemplate who might play the key roles.
Graeme Simsion will appear to speak and sign copies of “The Rosie Project” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St., Denver. It should be available at libraries and bookstores soon.