For my Summer Spotlight Series this week I have Author Jennifer Dornbush.
Jennifer is a writer, speaker and forensic specialist creating a 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
Jennifer’s first novel God Bless the Broken Road released on June 6, 2017.
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.
I was instantly fascinated by the process of writing both a novel and a movie based on the same story line, so I asked her some questions, which she was gracious enough to answer.
Most of us only dream about our books becoming a movie, but you say you wrote the movie first and then the book? Can you tell us a little bit about that process?
GBBR actually began as a 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 is also “in the can” as we say and will be releasing next year.
How exciting it must be to see your ‘babies’ in screen and book formats! What was your reaction when you got the good news?
I was in Michigan during the filming of the movie when we got the offers. I was giddy. I remember I was alone in the house where I was staying and I did a little dance. Then I called my husband, who was in Los Angeles. After that I immediately told the film producers. We were all pretty excited! After the excitement settled down, reality set in. I quickly phoned my good friend, Travis, who is a college friend and seasoned novelist and said, “Travis, help me. How do you write a novel?”
Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, what is it?
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 I have clung to this promise since high school. It’s such an encouragement when life sets you on detours.
Do you have special plans to celebrate the movie and/or book release?
I held a book release party on June 9th in Hollywood. Over 75 of my amazing friends and family attended. The film’s director and one of the producers were there. I was able to have four of the key film actors come and participate in the book reading. My dear friends did the catering, photography, and book selling. As a first time novelist, I felt so blessed to have so many people supporting me and the story!
There will be a big premiere and party when the movie releases next year. Those are always fun to attend because you get to see the audience reactions to your film.
Author Website: www.jenniferdornbush.com
Facebook: Jennifer Graeser Dornbush
Instagram: Jennifer Dornbush
GBBR Book link:
GBBR Audiobook link:
GBBR Movie Trailer link:
Thank you so much for taking time to appear on my blog, Jennifer! I pray you the best of luck. I hope you readers will check out her book on Amazon now and excitedly await the movie release. I know I will!
Next week I will have Author Michelle Griep on my blog. I hope you’ll return to learn more about her!