Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas Shorts with... Phillipa Ashley

My Christmas Shorts feature post today has been written by Phillipa Ashley, whose recent book Miranda's Mount won the Best ebook award at the recent Festival of Romance awards, about her experience of having one of her books made into a Christmas film.

So I'll hand you over to Phillipa to tell you all about it.

Christmas in July

A few years ago I was lucky enough to have one of my books – ‘Decent Exposure’ - made into a US TV Christmas movie.

Set in the English Lake District, the book is about a mountain rescue team who pose nude for a charity calendar which is the brainchild of Emma, heroine. The hero, Will, ends up reluctantly posing as Mr July.

In May 2009, I found out that the movie of my novel was going to be the flagship Christmas holiday movie on the Lifetime network and that the hero was now Mr December! That’s how the book ended up being retitled as ‘Dating Mr December’ in the USA.

Like novels, films are made a long time before they are shown to the public and I discovered my movie was going to be made in July; about as far away from Christmas as you can get. The action was moved from England to the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains.

My daughter had just finished university and husband was keen to go - and let’s face it, having a movie made of your novel is a once in a lifetime experience - so we headed off to the Canadian Rockies to see it being filmed.

In the movie, the action takes place over a year starting and ending at Christmas – my book also ends in a snowy December, however in the Rockies, it was actually warm and sunny every day we were there!

Apart from the day we visited the set, that is...

That day, it bucketed down and we had to ditch all our summer clothes and wrap up in wet weather gear. Even so I was drenched by the time I got to meet the stars and my photos of the day are fun but very very soggy.

We watched a number of scenes being filmed in a bar and a mountain rescue hut. The whole shoot took just four weeks and for some scenes, the set was bedecked in Christmas decorations, complete tree, tinsel and eggnog – all while it was hot and sunny outside.

That day with the stars was probably the highlight of my writing career followed by the wonderful moment when I saw my name on the credits when the film finally aired:

Based on the novel Decent Exposure by Phillipa Ashley

When my family watched it with me, they all cheered.

Christmas really had come in July.

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