I’m always excited when someone I know and admire gets one of their books picked up for a movie or TV show, so I was thrilled to see that Lisa Kleypas has a Christmas story on ABC. I contacted her to find out how this all came about.
BV: Lisa, I just saw on Facebook that your Christmas book, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, will be a Hallmark movie called Christmas with Holly. How did this come about?
LK: Barbara, I can’t tell you how exciting this has been! When I wrote the story a couple of years ago, I had a special feeling about it—my husband Greg actually said, “You know, this seems like it would be a great Hallmark movie.” I’m not precisely certain how the deal was actually made, only that my agent “put out feelers” and by some incredible stroke of luck it seemed that the story and the timing all worked for Hallmark.
BV: What’s the story about?
LK: It’s about a six year old girl, Holly, who hasn’t spoken since the death of her mother . . . her single uncle Mark has been named as her guardian, and he doesn’t know the first thing about raising a little girl. His two brothers reluctantly pitch in to help take care of her, and over the course of the holiday season, the broken family heals . . . and Mark falls in love with a local toy shop owner.
BV: Could this be made into a series?
LK: If Hallmark wanted to, I would be thrilled!
BV: Did you get to be part of the process (meet the actors, visit the set)?
LK: Unfortunately I couldn’t travel to Nova Scotia while it was being filmed this past summer—I live in Washington State, and I was too busy with family and work to take the time off. But I knew that Hallmark would do a great job with it–they have incredibly high production values, and they hired a great cast, and best of all Allan Arkush (executive producer of Heroes and Crossing Jordan) directed. So much talent.
BV: Were you happy with the outcome? Sometimes the screenplay doesn’t always match up with the books.
LK: I am absolutely thrilled with it! There are some changes of course, to emphasize the themes of family healing and overcoming fear, but as the author Michael Hague has observed, there wouldn’t be much point in making a movie if it were exactly the same as the book. It’s sort of like hearing a new singer interpret a song you’ve enjoyed in the past . . . you enjoy the way someone else can make it their own. I loved the way P’nenah Goldstein, the teleplay writer, kept the humor of the story and even added some cute quirks.
The feeling of the novel and the basic story are definitely in the movie, and it includes some of my favorite scenes as well. (The exploding Thanksgiving turkey scene was fabulous, and the lighted Christmas boat parade was breathtaking) The three brothers are all sexy, and Eloise Mumford, who plays Maggie, is radiant . . . I think you’ll love her in this part as much as I did! The very best part for me, however, is when Maggie is showing the fairy house in the toy store to Holly . . . it looks so much the way I imagined it and it even has the teacup bathtub!
BV: What’s been the feedback from your readers?
LK: They’ve been terrific, as usual . . . very positive and encouraging. And the concerns that have been expressed about not wanting the movie to stray too far from the book have warmed my heart because they seem like affirmations of the storytelling choices I made. I love my readers!
BV: When will it be on television?
LK: December 9 on ABC, and on the Hallmark Channel at various times the week after.
BV: I’m a big fan of your historicals. Any chance they’ll be picked up for a movie? I’d be all in.
LK: Oh, thank you so much Barbara—I would love to see the Wallflowers or the Hathaways in film—wouldn’t it be fun to watch Beatrix with all her pets, or Evie’s elopement to Gretna Green with St. Vincent?
Did you watch? What other Christmas books would you like to see made into movies?
Bottom Line: If you missed it, look for encore showings on the Hallmark Channel December 16, 20, 22 and 23rd.
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