Earlier this month Jennifer Dornbush shared the surrender story behind her screenplay and novel, God Bless the Broken Road. Her story was so interesting I decided to take a little more time to get to know her and the behind the scenes history with God Bless the Broken Road (GBBR.)
Jennifer was gracious enough to share more below.
What inspired you to write this series, or this novel in particular?
God Bless the Broken Road (GBBR) actually began as a feature film script three years ago. My friend and director, Harold Cronk, who is best known for the God’s Not Dead movies, called me one fine summer evening. He pitched me the seed of the idea and asked what I thought? I said I thought it sounded like a solid story. And then he asked if I wanted to write it with him. Of course, I said yes.
We finished the first draft of the script on Christmas Eve, 2014. Over the course of the next year we refined it while the producers rallied the funds. In the spring of 2016 Harold shot God Bless the Broken Road.
A few months earlier, as we finished the script version, I talked with the producers about penning a novel version. They thought it would be a great idea. So my agent, Julie Gwinn, put a pitch together and while we were filming I quickly wrote the first three chapters. Within two weeks Julie had procured a couple contracts. We happily chose Simon & Schuster. I spent last summer scribing the novel and here it is a year later. The film version is also “in the can” as we say and will be releasing in 2018.
GBBR Novel Synopsis:
God Bless the Broken Road is a heartwarming story about a grieving army widow who finds her way back to her daughter, her faith, and a new love. Amber Hill never imagined she would find herself a war widow and single mom. She feels robbed and is angry at God, and she doesn’t know how to help her nine-year-old daughter Bree through her grief. Where, Amber wonders, are the Sunday dinners, the picnics, the bike rides, the time together they should be enjoying as a family? Instead, Amber is left with a folded flag and an empty heart.
Cody Jackson has a death wish. Or at least that is what his manager thinks, as Cody pushes his race car and his luck in every race. Is he hiding something, or just daring God and other racers to end the path of destruction he finds himself on as he rounds the last turn? When Cody encourages Bree to join in a Derby car race for local youth, she finds a way to channel her grief into something good—and she likes that her mom and Cody are starting to become friends—or maybe something more.
Cody invites Amber and Bree to see him race, but as they watch Cody narrowly escape a devastating crash, she realizes she can’t lose another person in her life. It’s better to be alone than feel that type of grief again. But when Amber hits rock-bottom, she cries out to God and asks for help. With her faith, her life, her family, and her heart hanging in the balance, Amber is forced to decide between the broken road she knows so well and trusting that God will provide a new path. Based on the Rascal Flatts song, God Bless the Broken Road is a moving, heart-stirring story about the power of faith to change a life. The movie version is coming 2018.
PURCHASE GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD HERE
God Is Waiting To Bless Your Broken Road: Just Surrender!
My new novel (soon to be a major motion picture) God Bless the Broken Road, is a textbook on surrender. After two years, the protagonist, Amber Hill, has still not been able to completely surrender the loss of her military husband to God and it’s starting to create great havoc in her life. No spoilers, but in her efforts to try to control her life, emotions, and circumstances, she almost loses the most important thing her husband ever gave her.
When writing the script (which I actually wrote before writing the novel), I always kept in mind this concept of surrendering our will to God’s will. The question of surrender drives Amber’s every decision in every scene and chapter.
It’s easy to relate to Amber. I know I do! When we’re in those “bad places” of life, we don’t always see God with us. We don’t feel like He is and it can be really hard to seek Him. But He is always there and He is always providing us with amazing blessings, even if we don’t acknowledge them. One of the keys to surrender on our broken roads is to turn our gaze to Him so that we can start healing. As we begin to recognize Him along the path, we can become filled with His hope and renewed purpose. When we turn to Him and humble ourselves, He can start to guide us and shape our brokenness into blessing. Grab a copy of GBTBR to see how this pans out for Amber.
But wait! Surrendering to God is only the start. God’s healing work is complete when we surrender in the context of our community. This is great news! It means we don’t have to travel our broken roads alone. God has given us friends and family to lean for support and encouragement. This can make a huge difference when we are going through trying times.
Now, I get it. It can be difficult to let down your guard and let people into your pain (the people who love you don’t always “get it”). This takes a great deal of vulnerability and courage. Mother Theresa said the greatest poverty we have today is the feeling of loneliness because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. We see this in GBTBR with Amber, who consistently refuses the well-meaning help of her family and friends. She has forgotten that she belongs to God and God’s people here on hearth. Instead, she chooses time after time to exclude those around her in her pain. And she becomes really, really lonely.
Of course, Amber’s despair eventually leads her to hit rock bottom and she is finally ready to surrender… with the help of an unlikely character. In that moment of letting go, Amber’s life turns and she finds a renewed purpose, joy, love, and a community very eager to have her back in the fold.
Maybe you are the one being called to can help someone on their broken road? It’s so simple to be there for someone. You don’t have to be a professional counselor or therapist to help someone heal from a wounding. Most time the very best thing is to just to take a moment from your day to pause, listen, and lend a hug or word of encouragement. How exciting to think that God may be using you to bless someone’s broken road! How will show someone today that they are deeply, deeply loved?
Author Website: www.jenniferdornbush.com
Facebook: Jennifer Graeser Dornbush
Instagram: Jennifer Dornbush
GBBR Book link:
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GBBR Movie Trailer link:
Jennifer Dornbush Bio
Jennifer is a writer, speaker and forensic specialist creating diverse range of stories that shed light on the dark places of the human experience.
Her story creation is bred from a very unsheltered childhood as the daughter of a medical examiner whose office was in her home. She investigated her first fatality, an airplane crash, when she was 8 years-old and from there gathered a decade of on-sight experience in death investigation and 360 hours of forensic training through the Forensic Science Academy.
The stories she creates stem from the unique range of human experiences. Because of her background, she does not shy away from telling stories about tough circumstances and how characters choose to deal with them. Jennifer’s characters encounter light in their darkness… redemption where none seems possible… and bits of levity to sweeten the journey.
Her feature film, God Bless the Broken Road is slated for release in 2017 in conjunction with the novel released on June 6th by the same title published by Simon & Schuster.
Jennifer has several crime drama series being developed for television and a bi-lingual kid’s show, Team Abuelita, in production with Baby First TV.
Wanting to share her love of forensics with other storytellers, she scribed non-fiction work, Forensic Speak: How To Write Realistic Crime Dramas, published by Michael Wiese Productions, hailed as a north star to creating authentic crime dramas.
As a forensic specialist she has consulted with TV writers on network and cable TV shows. She regularly leads seminars and webinars on forensics and crime fiction and has taught screenwriting on the high school and university level and mentored new writers.
Sign up for her newsletter and YouTube channel at: www.jenniferdornbush.com
Tags: author, fiction, God is Waiting to Bless Your Broken Road by Jennifer Dornbush, grief, guest blogger, Julie Arduini, military widow, motion picture, novel, redemption, screenplay, surrender, transformation
Wife. Mom. Author. Reader. Blogger. Amateur nature photographer. Chocolate eater. Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and---maybe one day---the chocolate.
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