Thank you, Ambrose! by Sheila Roberts
The wonderful Sheila Roberts stops by Entice to tell us some inspiration behind The Nine Lives of Christmas, her forthcoming contemporary romance and movie on US television channel Hallmark! We knew we were cat people for a reason . . .
Who knew that a matchmaking cat would lead me to Hollywood?
But that’s exactly what happened when I created Ambrose the feline hero of my Christmas novel The Nine Lives of Christmas. I suppose in some ways Ambrose and I came full circle, because it was Hollywood that introduced him to me in the first place. I’d been thinking about a scene from my all-time favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, specifically the scene where George Bailey is on that snowy ridge, telling God, “Please, I want to live again.” I remember thinking, I’d love to put a cat in the same position. What if I wrote about a cat who was on his last life and desperate to hang onto it for as long as possible? What would he have to do to keep that life? What would he be willing to do? Something to help a human, of course.
But if a cat has gotten a raw deal from humans in previous lives this might prove to be no easy task. He’d have to encounter some pretty special humans. And I think Ambrose did when he met Zach the commitment phobic fireman and Merilee, Pet Palace employee and veterinarian wannabe. I had a wonderful time weaving all their stories together.
Lo, and behold, I wasn’t the only one who fell in love with these characters, and this holiday season Ambrose and his two-legged friends will come to life on the Hallmark channel. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Not only did my characters get to be in a movie, my husband and I did, too. We had a chance to visit the set during the filming of The Nine Lives of Christmas and take part in the fun. Being on the set of a movie is a fascinating experience. I was amazed at how many people it takes to bring a story to life. In addition to actors and extras (also referred to as “background”, which was what we were), you’ll find makeup artists, cameramen, people to run mikes, people to build the set and fix the lighting, the director, the producers, even a continuity expert whose job is to make sure that everything stays consistent from scene to scene. A movie in the making is like a circus on the move, with trailers parked everywhere to house various staff and actors and, of course, a big tent set up where all those workers can be fed. Days are long – these people put in twelve hour days – and while the work is fun, it’s still work. And tiring. Let me tell you, I have a new appreciation for all those people who expend so much energy just to entertain us. Filming one scene can take hours. Our simple part alone involved several retakes. But we wouldn’t have missed a minute of it!
Unless our debut scene ends up on the cutting room floor, you’ll see my husband and me getting escorted to a table in the restaurant scene. I now have mixed feelings about my screen debut. They say the camera adds ten pounds. I had already added thirty all on my own. Oh, dear!
But I probably don’t need to worry too much. I’m sure Ambrose the cat will steal the show.
The Nine Lives of Christmas is out in ebook on November 4th and paperback December 2nd 2014!