It’s difficult to describe to you where Winter came from. All I know is that I had several story ideas that sort of merged into one. I can tell that certainly God had a hand in it, because the separate ideas were incompatible at first.
Writing Winter changed my life. It’s this book that made me get serious about writing, and the story I wanted to invest learning to get my writing craft perfect with. And it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten emotionally attached to a character. To me, she’s more than just a character… she’s almost like this ink and paper daughter. And I’m so blessed that my lovely wife understands this strange relationship with a fictitious character and has accepted her as part of the family. Winter has been with us for over three years now.
Several months ago I decided to film a book trailer, even though there were no publishing prospects. I thought that maybe if I pulled it off, it could help generate interest. I started asking around, trying to get a feel of how difficult it would be to cast. A classmate of mine suggested her sister might do well for the main role. So we began to discuss the possibilities. We made it official and I moved on to other production needs.
January 3rd we started filming. I had not met Mary in person before. I had seen some photos of her, but they were photos of Mary. The person who walked out the door to meet me… was Winter.
I was stunned at first, but was quickly able to put that aside. This was Mary. She talked like Mary and acted like Mary. It didn’t matter how much she looked like Winter… she wasn’t. Right?
We spent two days together filming, and Mary became progressively more convincing. She perfected the brooding face and the dagger eyes. More than one cast member got creeped out by her stares and sharp looks. It was surreal to see it from behind the camera, but even more so to walk with her down the sidewalk. But it was Mary… not Winter… I think.
By the end of the second day, they were almost one person. I tried real hard not to call her Winter, though I almost did several times.
The third day we did voice over audio recording. My wife and I hosted Mary and her sisters for breakfast. And this was truly Mary. Gone were the black clothes and makeup. Gone was the straight black hair. Winter had left, and Mary jokingly reintroduced herself.
And you know what I realized? I never took my picture with Winter. Oh we got plenty of pictures and video, just no picture with me and her. Now Winter was gone. That’s ok. I’m not too upset about that. I just spent two days with her, and how many authors get to do that?
Now, it’s the day after wrapping, Mary has gone home. I’m trying to make some sense emotionally of what just happened. It’s somewhat overwhelming. I encountered a talented young actress that was able to bring Winter to life for two days. Though I said goodbye to Mary, I didn’t get to say goodbye to Winter. And I certainly don’t feel like I thanked Mary enough for what she did.
Words cannot fully express how overwhelmed I am that you brought Winter to life. I am forever grateful that you gave me the gift to walk with and talk with someone I though may only exist in my head and on paper. Now Winter has a face. Winter is real. Thank you so very much. I promise to never call you Winter and I promise always to think of you as Mary… an actress with brown hair and brown eyes who doesn’t really like to wear black. But as I remember those first two days of filming, it will be in my memory that I spent two days with Winter. And to meet in person a beloved character from their book, is something most writers can only dream of. You gave that to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.