Tomorrow is the last screening of Home for Christmas, the film of my second romantic comedy novel and what an experience it's been!
The world premiere was in Brighton on 5th December and I attended with my parents, my sister and her partner and my brother and a friend. It was magical. The 'red carpet' was about a foot long, there were no flashing press cameras and I didn't get asked for my autograph once but none of that mattered.
What mattered was the utterly extraordinary sensation of sitting in the cinema where I'd set my book and watching my imagination come to life on screen. My sister's partner and our friend cried at the end of the film. So did I, but not for the same reason. I cried because I felt so overwhelmed by what was happening to me, I couldn't take it in, it didn't feel real.
And then I went to the toilet and when I got back everyone was frantically gesturing that I should have been on stage answering questions with the cast, so, um...that was real (and scary. And my microphone didn't work but Karl Davies very kindly gave me his).
After the screening I was given a poster, signed by the cast and crew. Some of the things that were written were so touching I'm glad I didn't read them until I was back in the hotel (and then I welled up a bit, again).
"Things like getting a film made of your book aren't supposed to happen this early in your career," my brother said. "I'd have imagined this happening in another twenty years or so."
I looked at him. "You don't think it's all down from here do you?"
The film was screened three times in Brighton, twice in London, in Swansea and in Bristol (which I attended and had to introduce - aaargh!) and tomorrow the final showing will be in Liverpool (which I'm also attending, with several writer friends, hooray!). Several of the screenings were cancelled because we didn't get enough pre-bookings which was a shame for the friends that had booked tickets but it was out of my hands sadly, and it just goes to show how hard it is for independent films to reach an audience. I'm just pleased the film was seen by as many people as it was.
The film is available to watch online on vimeo (you can rent it or buy it, ignore the fact it's in dollars it'll convert to pounds) and there's a limited number of signed DVDs available to buy on ebay (signed by April Pearson, Lucy Griffiths, Karl Davies and Jamie Peterson the director).
If you do watch it I'd love to hear how you think it compares to the book.
JumpStart, the production company who made the film are currently in discussions about getting the film shown in the States, and a possible TV airing but we'll wait and see what happens with that.
It's weird to think that, in a few days, this experience will be over. It really has been the strangest, most surreal thing. Wonderful and magical too of course. I honestly never believed it would happen in my lifetime and I feel very, very lucky.
I can see why people become screenwriters because the itch to write something else for the screen is strong - I want to do this again. I want to see my characters come to life in front of my eyes again! But I've got a novel to write, and another one to promote (THE LIE is out on 23rd April, you can pre-order it for £1.99) and it's nearly Christmas and I'm looking forward to just RELAXING for a while.
I hope you get to relax over Christmas too. Here are some photos of my Home for Christmas experience...