Thursday, December 16, 2010


As a little departure from our usual interview, I'm hosting my friend Robin Shope. She's living the dream of almost every author I know. A movie was made of her book. In this picture, Robin is in the middle. Welcome, Robin. Tell us about your journey.

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.

Yet, there was still one way back home, and that was through my memories. So, I revisited the lake, frozen in silence as the deep snow drifts filled the streets. I walked up to my childhood house and entered, welcomed by the sight of the Douglas fir standing tall, filled from top to bottom with glittering ornaments. There was Dad, struggling to untangle the lights as mother poured hot chocolate for us all.

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.

There actually was a red carpet, and I walked it!

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.

The lights went dark and the black screen soon filled with falling snow. The title of the movie appeared, “Journey to Paradise,” followed by “Based on the book The Christmas Edition by Robin Shope.”

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.

 In transformation from book to screen, there were expected changes. When I signed the contract I knew of that inevitability. There were many reasons to make perfectly good book characters, scenes and actions more screen friendly. I made a special promise to myself to be accepting of changes to my book. Steve did a wonderful job painlessly (for me) shepherding my story to the screen.

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 --

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.


Molly said...

I would love to have either of these!

Molly from NC

Coolestmommy said...

Ohhhh---I would love either one. Please enter me to win!!

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com
I live in the midwest

apple blossom said...

Oh, I'd love to win the movie, I've read the book. thanks

Apple blossom lives in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Unknown said...

Sounds wonderful! I would love to win either one.

Merry Christmas!
Debra from Alabama.

Sylvia said...

Oh, these sound good! It's not often that a book and film are so closely tied together. Most of the time a film is so drastically different then the book that it's annoying. I'm glad to hear that it isn't the case for this one.


Robin Jansen said...

Ladies, Thank you for your heart felt comments. I write for you.

Kim Zweygardt said...

I can so identify with Robin's writing about a small town Christmas. My home is no longer there due to the tearing of a family second to divorce. My folks divorced when I was grown and often I have longed to return to my home and the memories of Christmas there....the hot chocolate in the Santa mugs with a candy cane to stir it, the tangled old fashioned lights and the struggle to get the tree to stand up straight in the holder when we'd chosen a tree with a crooked trunk! Thanks for sharing Robin. I'd love to win and visit your town through your writing and the movie.

Debbie Howell said...

I can not wait to read the book and watch the movie, BOTH are on my Christmas list! I've read other books of Robin's and have fallen in love with each one! I am SO proud of her. I've known her for years and just re connected with her this past year. What a blessing she is! Congrats on your books and movie! Looking forward to more!

grannyvon said...

What a great and exciting interview. I would love to win this super giveaway from someone who has just made it big time. What a great way God is giving favor among His people. Thanks for sharing. ybutler@oppcatv,con

Anonymous said...

Robin is a joy and her talent is remarkable. it's hard to find such a special package in one person. Her talent knows no bounds. Thank you for always making us smile and want more..

Robin Jansen said...

A small town Christmas is a special holiday, but so is the city Christmas, although in a different way. I grew up in Chicago, and didn't move to the country, which I LOVED, until I was 13. In the city, my dad owned a nightclub and on Christmas Eve, we got dressed up and went to The Ivanhoe for dinner. All I could think about was going home to see what Santa left beneath the tree. But between dinner and present opening, we walked to the church to look at the manger scene. All happy memories. I would love to hear about some of your Christmas memories. Please share. And thank you all for such wonderful compliments. I love you. XO

Anonymous said...

I would love to receive either one if I win. Miriam from Ohio

Mark said...

I'd love to win the movie.
Northeastern Ohio here

Pat Iacuzzi said...

Hi Robin--

Your fame is spreading...I turned over info about your book/movie/ACFW to my church (quite lg.) as they're thinking of doing a movie too, to get His Word out there.
Also would love to win either one; and blessings on your writing efforts this coming year!

Kristi said...

I really enjoyed reading The Christmas Edition and would love to win the movie. I so wanted to attend the festivities in Wisconsin, but couldn't come up with an overnight sitter!

Kristi in Illinois

Robin Jansen said...

Steve Zambo is looking for churches to show the movie to continue God's work about clean family entertainment, or to speak about the movie process to clubs. If any place is interested, please contact him on FB.
Thank you all for your kind words.

Margo Carmichael said...

As the saying goes, I loved the book, can't wait to see the movie! LOL Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

Unknown said...

I would love to be entered:) Thanks so much!!


fredamans said...

I would like to enter for both, but prefer the book. Thank you from Ontario, Canada.

Unknown said...

Another good post.
Wendy in Mpls

Charlotte Kay said...

What a great giveaway!
Thanks for blessing us with it!
chakasa58 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

What an amazing interview, wow! I've had the pleasure of following the progress of Journey to Paradise on FB and what a joy it has been. The characters in the book and movie are so realistic and the story holds your attention from beginning to end! I would love to have the DVD to watch with friends as well as the book! Please enter my name into the drawing. Robin, you're a blessing to all of us!! Sue from Illinois
also on FB

Robin Jansen said...

Thank you so much ladies. I wish you all could have been there with me so I could have shared this marvelous night with you.Your hearts are loving and giving; you bless me!

Cindy W. said...

I would love to be entered to win a copy of the book. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.


awillems9 said...

Having recently bought the movie as a Christmas gift for my wife, I can tell you it is a definite MUST see!

scottsgal said...

really enjoyed this post - I'd love either one
msboatgal at

Jo said...

This sounds great!

I'm from Southern Arizona


Linda Kish said...

This would be great! I live in California.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Henderson said...

I would love to win either one. Thank you for the greatgiveaway. Happy Holidays to all.

seriousreader at live dot com

Patsy said...

This sounds great! Either would be really good. From Southern US

Anne Payne said...

How exciting! Congratulations, Robin! I look forward to reading AND watching your book/movie :)If I don't win here, I will highly encourage our library system to purchase both!

Merry Christmas,
Anne in NC

Anonymous said...

I would love to win either one of these.

Angela from Kentucky

holdenj said...

How exciting to see your book as a movie! Would love to win either here in snowy MN! Thanks!

Ann Lee Miller said...

I loved reading Robin's dream come true.
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert, Arizona

cheryl c said...

This sounds like a truly lovely story...just perfect for Christmas. I would be happy to win either the book or the movie.

Merry Christmas!
Cheryl in GA
castings at mindspring dot com

A J Hawke said...

Thanks, Robin, for a view into the process of book to movie. I look forward to both.

Thanks for the opportunity to receive one.

A J Hawke from Texas

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Please enter me in the giveaway! I'd love either one! Thanks!

Anna W. from GA

Anonymous said...

No need to enter me in the contest, I already have a copy of the movie. Robin, I was one of the fortunate ones to meet you at the premier and consider it an honor to call you and both Beth and Steve Zambo friends. It is obvious how Hollywood makes movies purely for the bottom line and how this production was God driven and from the heart. I for one am so thankfull there are those who put a true passion into their work solely to provide decent entertainment for others. May God bless you and the Zambo's for continued success.

Bill Beglinger Waukesha WI

Jan Marie said...

To have a book published is a great honor - to have that book made into a movie must be an awesome experience. Congratulations, Robin!

I would love to win either the book or the movie - LOL - or both for comparison! I will probably have to buy them to satisfy my own curiosity.


Anonymous said...

please enter me for either one...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com said...

I would love either of those!
Thank you for the opportunity! Please enter me.

dancealert at aol dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Congratulations Robin. I know you feel honored to have your book made into a movie.
I love this story line and would love to win either. I love Christmas stories and try to add 2-3 new each yr.
Thanks for this opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Tammy G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammy G. said...

I'd love to see the movie!
Merry CHRISTmas!
from Deep East Texas

MaureenT said...

How absolutely wonderful that your book was made into a movie! Congratulations!

Katie Marie said...

Ohh, looks like a great giveaway - I'd love to win either of them! Please count me in.

~ Katy from Florida

Regina said...

I would like either of these!

Regina from Ohio

Cathy W said...

I would love either of those!
Thanks so much.
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

Merry said...

I love Robin's books, please include me in the drawing. Thanks!
Merry in TX