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Christmas on Her Mind: third book-to-movie for Fort Wayne author

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - “When I first started writing, it was, ‘I wonder if I can write a novel,’” Denise Hunter explained, “That was it. Pretty much, it would be really nice if I could get a novel published.

“I never dreamed I would have an entire career, much less a few movies.”

And for Hunter, this holiday season brings more joyous news.

Her book, “The Goodbye Bride,” has been adapted into a movie set to air on the Hallmark Channel.

Renamed “Christmas on my Mind”, and refreshed with a holiday setting and themes, the third book-to-movie by Hunter will premiere December 21 at 9 p.m.

The Fort Wayne resident says a lot went on behind-the-scenes with her publisher, who manages the rights to her stories.

“This particular producer took a liking to my books, so she worked it out with my publisher,” Hunter told ABC21, “my publisher came to me. Needless to say, I was thrilled. It was a dream come true.”

And just like that, “Christmas on my Mind” started to come to life.

The movie follows Lucy Lovett (played by Ashley Green), who can’t remember the last seven months of her life. 

She doesn’t recall leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan (Andrew Walker) weeks before their wedding, moving to another city or getting engaged to another man.

Hunter was invited on the production set in Canada and saw her characters come to life.

“That is the coolest thing about going on set,” Hunter said. “To meet the characters that I dreamed up in my head. And it makes me feel a little bit giddy when I watch them.”

Viewers will have to watch out for Hunter and her husband, who made an appearance in one of the last scenes of the movie.

“My husband and I have a cameo, and it’s near the tree lighting scene,” Hunter fondly recalls. “I’m standing right between two stars in the movie. My husband, they had to move him to the back because he’s 6’4” and was towering over everybody on set!”

Photo: Jackee Harry Credit: ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Ratings spike for the Hallmark Channel this time of year, when Christmas movies fill the small screen.

Their marathons of original content has garnered a fan base, and even a line of products in their retail stores.

“I think it’s because people need hope and inspiration, this time of year more than any other,” Hunter tells us, “Even though the season is festive and happy, full of joy and merriment, there can also be the opposite. People are having problems, family problems and they’re stressed. December’s a very stressful time and its just nice to sit down and watch a movie that you know is going to be wholesome and happy.”

Wholesome and clean is why Hunter believes there’s been such a great relationship between her work and the channel.

“I think that’s part of what the producer saw in my work. It’s wholesome, inspiring, hopeful. Very much like the Hallmark channel movies.”

We’re told this will likely be far from the last book-to-TV movie for the author.

Though in the very early stages, there are conversations to adapt another of Hunter’s books -- this time for an online streaming service.

For more information on Hunter and her work, visit her website here.

Watch our extended interview with Hunter below:

Daniel Beals

Daniel Beals is an award-winning journalist and photographer who started his career at ABC21. He is a Michigan native and graduate of Grand Valley State University. Daniel welcomes any story idea. Feel free to reach out: dbeals@wpta21.com.

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