Premiering on January 28, 2019, the television series I Am the Night, has recently finished its initial run on TNT in front of millions of people. The series was written by Sam Sheridan and stars Chris Pine (of the Star Trek reboot movie franchise), who also was one of the executive producers.
I Am the Night is based upon One Day She’ll Darken: The Mysterious Beginnings of Fauna Hodel, a memoir written by Fauna Hodel with J.R. Briamonte and it documents Hodel’s search for her grandfather, George Hodel, who was a prime suspect in the Black Dahlia murder in 1947.
Reprint Edition, 2019
One Day She’ll Darken was published traditionally as a reprint edition by Graymalkin Media on January 26, 2019 in conjunction with the television series. But a little-known fact is that Ms. Hodel initially self-published the book with Outskirts Press.
1st Edition, 2008
Thanks to rave reviews and lots of book sales Graymalkin Media picked up the rights to the book, which required Ms. Hodel to terminate her non-exclusive contract with Outskirts Press (self-publishers usually allow non-exclusive contracts; traditional publishers rarely do). The rare 1st Edition of One Day She’ll Darken was terminated from Outskirts Press in October of 2018, and the 2nd Reprint Edition was published by Graymalkin in January of 2019 as the TNT television series premiered. Talk about acting fast!
Was it the rave reviews of the 1st edition, or the brisk book sales (which continued to grow quarter after quarter in the decade it was with Outskirts Press)? Or was it the heart-wrenching story itself and the personal strength of the author who wrote it?
Perhaps all of the above. Which edition do you like better, based upon each synopsis?
After her father, Dr. George Hodel, a prominent Hollywood physician was acquitted in a sensational incest trial, 16-year-old Tamar gave birth to a blue-eyed, white skinned baby girl. She insisted that the father was “Negro”. Outraged by the audacity of their daughter and the stigma attached to a mixed-race child within their midst, her mother quickly arranged to have the baby permanently given away to Jimmie Lee, a black maid in a Nevada casino.
Overwhelmed by the problems of raising a white-skinned baby in her black community, Jimmie spent the next twenty years struggling to secretly raise Fauna. Together they endured extreme poverty, alcoholism, starvation, sexual abuse, pregnancy and death, hopelessly bound and knotted together by relentless bigotry.
Fauna survived this difficult world with a vow to find the one person who knew her beginnings, her biological mother, Tamar, the woman of her dreams. Fauna sets out to discover the truth, only to uncover her family’s notorious secret: her extraordinary grandfather and the murder of the Black Dahlia.
The inspiration for the TNT series I Am the Night.
The Black Dahlia Murder is near-legend in the annals of true crime. But behind the shocking case of a young actress’s gruesome slaying lies the story of another woman.
Was Fauna Hodel the child of incest, and the catalyst for a sensational trial that left her well-to-do family scarred by scandal, even as the accused sexual predator walked free?
Taken as an infant from her teenage mother, Fauna was placed in the care of a working-class black woman, who raised the white child as her own.
Together, as a close-knit mother and daughter, they weathered years of poverty and bigotry, alcoholism and sexual abuse, pregnancy and even death until the time came for Fauna to seek out her real mother, and uncover her lost past.
But as Fauna will learn, some truths don’t want to be told.
. . .
In either case, the reprint continues to sell well, and is currently ranked #10 on Amazon in Ethnic Studies (which seems to suggest the 1st Edition synopsis may have favored a gritter, racially-charged approach while the reprint favors a more sensationalistic one).
And here’s some good news for collectors: While the 1st Edition is no longer available from Outskirts Press, it looks as if you can still get it used from Amazon for prices ranging from $120 to $500.
Congratulations, Fauna! All of us at Outskirts Press are extremely proud of you and the success you have found. You are an inspiration to survivors (and self-publishing authors) everywhere!