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Forgotten Impulses (1980)

"Piercingly real eroticism … told in an ear-perfect rendering." —The New York Times

Forgotten Impulses by Todd Walton So … after Inside Moves was a big success and brought Doubleday lots of money, they didn't want to publish my next novel unless it was either a sequel to Inside Moves or another "sports" novel. I had already written my next novel, originally entitled "Mackie," and I didn't know if I would ever write another sports novel. My intrepid agent Dorothy Pittman (one of the last literary agents who represented artists not projects) gave this news to Doubleday and they offered us a two-book deal on the condition that my third novel be a "sports" novel. I declined. Dorothy then sold the book to the brilliant Jonathon Coleman (where are you now?) at Simon & Schuster, and the book was set to be published in 1980.

A few weeks before publication, Jonathon called to say that not only had Elaine Koster snatched up the paperback rights, but Time magazine (something of a literary force in those days) was going to run a rave. Combined with the rave that was about to run in The New York Times, my publishers were jubilant and ordered a big first printing of the book. A photographer came and took my picture for Time, Anne Rice threw me a sumptuous publication party, and then three days before Time was due on the stands, the review of Forgotten Impulses was retracted. No explanation given. The New York Times ran their rave (by Alan Cheuse who now reviews books for NPR) but Simon & Schuster quickly cooled on the book, never advertised it, barely distributed it, and the hardback vanished at birth. The paperback came out a year later.

But even more bizarre and fantastic than Forgotten Impulse's tragic publishing history, is this book's Hollywood history. The book was immediately optioned for the movies in 1980 by Laura Ziskin (Spider-Man, etc.) and Ian Sanders, and I was hired by Warner Brothers to write the screenplay. That was in 1980. Since then, no less than five more screenplays have been written based on this little-known novel, and the likes of Jay Roach, Sydney Pollack, Luis Mandoki, Tony Bill, and many others have been involved in trying to bring this book to the big screen — without success. Yet.

As recently as today — and this after I fell into a literary obscurity as deep as the Grand Canyon and have lived here for twenty years — I had news of a Canadian film deal for the book falling through.

Forgotten Impulses has been out of print for twenty-five years, but is easily gotten on the internet. {Amazon paperback links: 1980 and 1981}

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