This one’s easy–the idea didn’t germinate. Not in the usual sense, anyway.
A year ago, screenwriter Mike Rich noticed that both Time and Newsweek had feature cover stories on the nativity of Christ. He wrote a screenplay, it was snapped up, and plans were made to produce a movie . . . in just under a year.
In late May 2006, an editor at Tyndale House called to see if I’d be interested in writing a novel based on Rich’s screenplay. The catch? It’d be a fast job with a July 31 deadline, because the book would need to release at about the same time the movie opened.
I jumped at the opportunity for several reasons. First, I’m a speedy writer and the story was already plotted. I knew I’d have a screenplay to work from as well as Scripture. Second, I’d just finished Magdalene a few months before, so my first century research was still fresh in my mind. Third, who wouldn’t want to explore one of the greatest miracles of all?
I had a few hesitations: if the screenplay followed the pattern of some Hollywood films, it might not be true to scripture. Second, I’d have to please New Line Cinema as well as my editors. Third, it would be a tight deadline, and I’d have to fit this into my calendar.
After praying about it, I felt led to go forward, so I told my editor I’d be willing to start in June–right after I got back from my Alaskan cruise. 🙂 I hadn’t had a bona fide vacation in years, so I was determined to take one.
Before I left for Alaska, however, I went through the first version of the script to see if there were any “red flag” issues. I saw a couple of minor things that didn’t seem historically believable, but felt I could work around them . By the time I saw a second version of the script, however, those things had disappeared. The filmmakers were definitely on the right track, so I signed on for the project.
Tomorrow: the research