From the book...
...to the movie!
What changed, and what stayed the same?
In the book, the main characters are Ryan, an L.A. attorney, and Kristen, a part-time actress who renovates houses in her hometown.
In the movie, Kristen is Krista. She's still a part-time actress, but now she's a florist. The career change allowed the movie to depict the passage of time by showing a different bouquet for each season. Very clever!
As you can see, I loved "my" stars, Bradley Hamilton and Sarah Troyer.
In the movie, the character Wes, played by Kevin McGarry, is a widowed father who sings, plays guitar, and wins the heart of the heroine's sister.
In the book, Wes is...um, well...he doesn't exist. The screenwriter added him. I have no objection to additional handsome men in the story, as you can see in this photo of me cuddling up to Kevin McGarry.
Oh--is actor Samantha Gracie in the photo, too? I don't know if she's cuddly or not, but she was absolutely wonderful in the role of the sister. More on that in a moment.
In the book, I wrote a scene in which the heroine learns that her boyfriend, a pilot, has been seeing a woman in another city. She finds out when a text from the other woman lights up the pilot's phone screen while he is taking a shower. Without hesitation, our heroine kicks him out. I don't write wimpy women.
In the movie, she's also dating a pilot, and she finds out he's been cheating on her while he is...
In the shower! Yes, they kept that! She kicks him out immediately, tossing his clothes after him, as you can see.
(Cheating pilot played perfectly by Joseph Cannata.)
In the book, Kristen is an identical twin. Her sister is Kayla. They are very close and fiercely loyal to one another.
In the movie, Krista's sister is Ashley. They are not twins--but they are very close and fiercely loyal to one another, and I loved every scene they had together. You'd swear actors Sarah Troyer and Samantha Gracie were lifelong friends, but they met on the set. I'm in awe of professional actors. They make it look so effortless.
In the book, the hero's younger sister, Maggie, is married to a cowboy in Kristen's hometown.
In the movie, Maggie is the older and wiser sister. Actor Jennifer Mote ad-libbed one of the funniest lines in the movie. The moment the director ended the take, everyone burst into laughter. I hoped it would make it into the final version of the movie, and it did. (The line? "Ribs!" It may not make sense here, but now you'll catch it when you see the movie.)
Actor Stephen Huszar plays her husband. In the book, the character is a serious horse whisperer. In the movie, Stephen provided the comic relief, delivering all of his lines in the funniest ways possible.
In both the book and movie, Maggie has a newborn. The baby in the movie is very real, because a member of the Brain Power Studios team had a baby just days before the shoot. Perfect timing!
And lastly, we come to the moment where I cried.
"Author on the set!" My days on the set were a thrill. I was choked up many times, and I had to pinch myself to be sure this was real most of the time, but this barn was where I actually cried.
You see, my book opens with a summer wedding in a small town park. The heroine and her sister are sitting on a split-rail fence, waiting for the bride to arrive. Unbeknownst to the heroine, she is going to meet the love of her life at the reception.
I didn't know where we were going for a day of shooting on location. A studio van brought me and a few actors to this barn in the countryside outside of Toronto.
As I walked up this dirt path, it hit me: somebody had read my book, then scouted for an outdoor location to stage that opening wedding scene. But that's not when I cried.
I walked passed a row of vehicles--all pickup trucks, with just one sports car. I'd written that. The hero is an L.A. lawyer in a land of cowboys. He shows up to the wedding in a sports car, and he knows it's out of place in a town where everyone drives pickups.
I was struck by the effort it must have taken to have a half-dozen people go to the rental car company and drive here in these vehicles. I stopped and spoke to this woman, who was removing the vehicles' real license plates and replacing them with fake ones for the camera. So much effort was being put into a single page from my book. So much detail was going into a few seconds of background scenery. So many people cared about the movie they were making.
I went up to the barn's loft to watch the scene being set up. I knew it had to be that opening wedding scene, but I still wasn't prepared to see one perfect detail: the split-rail fence. They'd found a location with a split-rail fence! It had taken me five minutes to write those few sentences at my kitchen table, but to make it come to life required a huge team, including producers and directors, accountants and drivers, set designers and cameramen, actors and makeup artists and sound technicians and so many more--and they all cared.
This is where I cried over a split-rail fence.