Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Christmas Edition, Journey to Paradise, romance novel, inspired the movie Journey to Paradise!
It was Christmastime three years ago when nostalgic thoughts of returning to my hometown of Delavan, Wisconsin overwhelmed me. If only I could sleep in my childhood bed one more time, or sit at the breakfast table and tease my little brother while Mom made pancakes and Dad sang songs. Of course, that was impossible. My parents were gone. My brother lived on the other side of the country.
It was those recollections of my childhood, rekindled decades later, that moved me to start writing about Christmastime in a small Wisconsin town. It became a passion. My imagination connected directly to my fingertips on the computer keyboard and a months later The Christmas Edition was completed, and I had a book contract with White Rose Publishing. By the following Christmas, startled and awed, I had signed a movie contract with producer/director Steve Zambo of Salty Earth Pictures. He felt the book was a perfect fit for his studio.
Today, it’s Christmas again. My book has been transformed into a movie, Journey to Paradise, and has been given The Dove Foundation’s Seal of Approval for family entertainment.
The process between contract and the premier has been exhausting and fabulous. The filming took place in idyllic Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, while I remained at my job in Texas. Over the past year, along with thousands of others, I followed the movie making steps reported on FaceBook (be sure to visit my Facebook wall for a glimpse of the stills and the two movie trailers.)
On the weekend of November 12th, my two grown children and I flew to Wisconsin for the movie premier. Unbelievably, my college roommate, blessed friends from my former church, a Facebook/eBay friend, and dear middle school and high school friends also attended.
Salty Earth’s studio was beautifully decorated for the gala with the wholly appropriate Christmas theme. Hundreds of strangers shook my hand and offered compliments on my writing; they became new friends. After finishing off a couple of plates of food from the huge buffet, it was time! The lights flashed and the crowd entered the theater where a row of seats, bearing my name, had been reserved. After a few introductions, Steve and Beth Zambo presented me with a plaque with my name and picture on it, as well as a star for their Walk of Fame. Two others received the same honor.
Frozen in my seat with my mouth open and eyes opened wide, I watched my book characters come to life on screen; walking, talking, and breathing. Tears welled in my eyes. I couldn’t help it. The characters were almost just as I had imagined them. Steve had shared my vision.
The hero’s (Joe) editorial piece was moving. He sounded lyrical in a way, with a depth of feeling and expression which was more than I imagined. I penned him to write with heart…because that was what the heroine (Lucy) was yearning for. Anything less and he wouldn’t deserve the job. That meant Joe had to identify with a human need and make it both emotional and compassionate. I searched newspapers for human interest stories and found one about a landmark store that was closing its doors after fifty years in business. Bingo. I had my story. I approached it as a man on the street type editorial and it worked.
Joe’s relationship with God was an amazing feature of the book and in the movie. As we get to know Joe, we learn how tormented he is, and we make many assumptions as to why he is haunted. I think the movie flashbacks were able to more powerfully present the reasons for his angst than I could muster in the book. It was an important part of the book that the movie executed well.
The story began as everyone else’s Christmas spirit reopened the wounds of Lucy’s lost love. Then enters Joe, a man who she has no reason to trust. What about this character would make her fall in love when so many other men had failed to win her heart? I had to make Joe more than a nice guy. I decided to make Joe a man of several mysteries! I wanted him to be a good guy with a haunting past and present actions that were subject to various interpretations. I had to walk a fine line because this is a Christmas book filled with romance and hope …so I couldn't go too dark. It wouldn’t work if I did. Yep, Joe was fun to write. He was who he was meant to be when he was with Lucy…but when he was left alone with his thoughts the inner terror began. The movie conveyed this powerfully.
I am honored beyond my dreams that with all the fabulous, anointed, and inspired books in the marketplace that it was my Inspirational Christmas romance novel that Steve chose to produce. This Christmas, as I look out my window and watch the sparrows, I remember the Bible verse where Jesus speaks about the extreme value of a sparrow. It reminds me that all we do in the Lord’s name has value.
I hope that you read The Christmas Edition and that you will discover a new favorite author in me as a result. Please email your thoughts to me. I do care and they means a lot to me. I will respond. Promise!
And, I hope that you order the movie from Salty Earth pictures. Perhaps watching it will become a Christmas family tradition.
To find my blog, The Serial Writings of Robin Shope --
And to read more about Salty Earth Pictures -- http://www.saltyearthpictures.org/
Thank you, Robin, for sharing your joy with us.
Readers, eave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book or the movie. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.