Goin’ Back to Nashville

In what has to be another land speed record for the passage of time, it’s hard to believe that March is (gasp!) almost a wrap. It’s been a really good month, one that began with a return to a place I hadn’t visited in much too long — Nashville. For anyone reading who doesn’t know me well, Music City played a rather significant role in my life story. It’s where my professional writing career began, it’s where I made incredible friends who still stay in touch despite the fact I’m 664 miles away, it’s where I met Will, and it’s… Continue reading

Confessions of a Writing Conference Newbie

I’ve been writing professionally for nearly two decades, and there’s hardly anything about my career that would be described as “textbook.” So come to think of it, it’s probably not all that crazy that I finally made my way to my first writers conference a whopping 10 years (!!!) after my first novel was published, right? Just typing that last sentence feels a little weird, though. Having a 10-year-old debut novel sort of feels like finding out the kids you used to babysit are now in college—or even scarier, getting MARRIED. It doesn’t seem quite possible, and yet, here we… Continue reading

Six Years Ago @ Bocca della Verita

Facebook can be annoying for a million reasons, but  I do like when you’re reminded about fun little moments in life. Six years ago, Will and I were in Rome. It was my first time in Italy, and it was totally love at first sight. The food, the trees, the art, the architecture, the little cobblestone streets…yeah, you could say it was my jam. I felt right at home. One of my all-time favorite movies was completely shot on location there, too, so naturally when in Rome, we had to stop by Bocca della Verita (otherwise known as “the mouth… Continue reading

We Clapped ‘Til We Could Clap No More

Before attending a taping of “The Chew” last week in NYC with my brother Casey, I’d been on television exactly twice—once as a floating head for a story about Christian music that lasted all of 15 seconds and once on KARE-11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul when my second novel hit stores. The latter was a whole lot of fun until I caught a quick glimpse of myself in Camera Two’s viewfinder. It’s often been said that a TV camera adds 10-15 pounds (one explanation for why Hollywood types are so stinkin’ tiny, perhaps), but in my case, I’m pretty sure it… Continue reading

Escaping to Sonoma County

Probably one of my most frequent critiques of modern-day filmmaking is the sheer lack of character development involved. Yes, I know that movies are a visual medium and shouldn’t be compared with their literary counterparts as a result. I also realize that it’s difficult to make characters a priority when a story is told in two hours or less. But what can I say? I want it all. When you’ve seen character development done well on the big screen, no amount of special effects splendor can compete. So by now, you’re probably wondering, what does all this chatter about characters… Continue reading

Interviewing Nicholas Sparks

A couple of weeks ago I was in Santa Monica (I know, I know, tough job, but someone has to do it, right?) for a movie junket and had an opportunity to interview Nicholas Sparks, you know the guy who writes weepy love stories like The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe. This time around, he was talking about The Last Song, Miley Cyrus’ first big non-Hannah Montana role, not to mention a big first for him…his first screenplay. As a fellow author, I always love hearing how other writers make it all work, so I found what he had to… Continue reading