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:
GBBR Audiobook link:
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
When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?
After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.
Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.
As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.
Have you ever read a book and you could feel the tension? THE THINGS WE KNEW felt like an approaching thunderstorm as Lynette tries to keep things together for her ailing dad but secrets, hardship, illness, and her boyhood crush and neighbor, Nick, come crashing in and around her and her childhood home.
What I love, just like watching a storm, is THE THINGS WE KNEW doesn’t disappoint. The crescendo comes where all the truth about Lynette’s mother and her mysterious death come out. Nick’s secrets. Lynette’s siblings. They are left with hiding the aftermath or pulling together and heal as a cohesive unit.
I thought this was a strong story with equally strong secondary stories, especially with Lynette’s brother, Gray. This reminded me of a more stressful Baxter Series book by Karen Kingsbury, maybe more realistic is a better word. Whatever comparison I’m trying to make, THE THINGS WE KNEW is definitely worth reading.
To purchase THE THINGS WE KNEW, click here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
from this author. It will not be my last… it is very well written and at
times, you won’t want to put it down. Looking forward to reading more of
this talented author!
About the Book:
struggle to develop the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft amid ever
intensifying global terrorism and muddled personal lives. Trisha Callahan
has an abiding faith in God, and “those roots of middy blouses and pleated
skirts, prayer books and incense-filled churches went deep.” This faith is
tested when she finds herself in love with a married man. Audra Shields
sees herself as a modern Lady Chatterley, “liberated but not forsaking
breeding, intellect, or femininity.” When she becomes involved with a
dangerous stranger, she begins to question her lifestyle.
to finish a project fraught with sabotage and murder. And who’s behind it
all? When the Department of Homeland Security and the Mossad finally figure
it out, the answer surprises everyone.
one so pertinent to today’s landscape of life. The author has written an
excellent novel that could have been pulled from tomorrow’s headlines –
from both political and scientific advancement points of view. . . . I
highly recommend this book for those who love intrigue, suspense, fiction,
and a little bit of romance. The book is well paced, has plenty of action,
and good character development.” Rachel Helms
about the way that things could be in the U.S. in the near future. We need
to humble ourselves before the Lord and pray for America in these perilous
times. The characters were well developed and the story shows God’s love
and redemption.” Linda Rainey
Rebekah’s Treasure (2015 CSPA Book of the Year/Christian Historical
Fiction) and The Salt Covenants (2015 Reader’s Favorite
Throughout this year I’m featuring posts from guest writers on surrender. It can be on basically anything, and you do NOT need to be an author. To sign up, click here (to post between now and March 31) and/or here (to post between April and June 30.)
Today, Tanya Eavenson interviews her characters for her novel, RESTORED. Thank you, Tanya!
What’s the most romantic thing Elizabeth has ever done for you, Steven?
Steven raised a brow, meeting Elizabeth’s gaze.
“You can tell her.” Elizabeth smiled. “I had a feeling Julie was going to ask.”
“My sweet wife planned a surprise trip to St. Michaels, Maryland, for us to stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin, but we never made it. Anna Mae came down with a fever. She had also planned a trip for us on a yacht, something I had wanted to do since our college days. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone had ever done for me.”
What’s the most romantic thing Steven’s ever done for you, Elizabeth?
“I couldn’t believe it, but a month later he surprised me by booking flights to Maryland. The view from the Inn at Perry Cabin was stunning, but what stole my breath was the candlelight dinner we shared on the yacht I previously rented.”
Do you both have a favorite song?
“Yes,” they said in unison. Steven grinned. “Elizabeth got me hooked on Oceans by Hillsong United. It resonated with me, dealing with my cancer. God allowed me to go through the unknown. I felt like I was sinking and my faith was shaken. I couldn’t see a future, but even in my doubt, the Lord remained by my side. He made Himself visible by sending Elizabeth back into my life.”
What simple gesture does Steven do that melts you every time?
Elizabeth looked down at their joint hands. “It’s this, entwining our fingers. His touch.”
How soon after meeting Elizabeth did you know she was the one?
“We were in college.” Steven glanced at Elizabeth and chuckled. “Do you remember when we played Zechariah and Elizabeth, how awkward we looked?”
Elizabeth smiled. “Oh yes, I was a sight with that pillow stuffed under my dress. I can’t even recall how many times it slid out of place. I delivered the pillow several times and even fell once. I don’t think I did John the Baptist’s mother justice.”
“You captivated me. I had been working up the nerve to speak with you when we were casted together. Later that year when Mike set us up on that double date with John and Nicole, I knew you were the one. I had fallen in love with you.”
Who said, “I love you” first, you, Elizabeth or Steven?
“Steven first told me he loved me when we were in college. Then many years later when God brought him back into my life, I was the first to say that I loved him.”
What is the most caring thing Elizabeth has ever done for you, Steven?
“Being there for me through my cancer.” Steven kissed Elizabeth’s hand. “It was her strength, her support, the love she showed me, even seeing her in prayer. She spent hours in the waiting room at the cancer center. Love is more than words, it’s shown in action.”
Dr. Steven Moore is known nationally for saving lives. If only he could save his own. Unable to deal with his cancer prognosis, he retreats to a happier time in his past—to the woman who once stole his heart.
Four years after the death of her beloved husband, bookstore owner Elizabeth Roberts still struggles to sustain her faith and joy in the Lord as she raises her two sons. She strives to find a way through her family’s grief, never suspecting a man from her past might offer hope for her future.
But how can there be a future when he’s only come to kiss her and says good-bye?
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/YhpB1
~ Tanya Eavenson enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Word Weavers International, and writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at her website http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/ on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google, or on Amazon.
Like free? Earlier this week I reviewed Portals by Michael Kimball. He left a kind comment that benefits YOU.
Check it out:
What an encouragement it is for me, Julie, to gain such a positive review of Portals. I’m now working on the next novel and hope to finish before summer’s end.
As an expression of thanks, I’ve set up a special discount code at the Longings End Book Store so your readers can enjoy getting their own copy of Portals in the eBook format of their choice absolutely free through the month of February. All they need to do is use the discount code JULIE during checkout and the price will be reduced to $0.
You can take advantage by clicking here.
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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