by Lorie Lewis Ham
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel has been taking a lot of cozy mystery book series and turning them into movies and we at KRL have reviewed most of them. We were excited to hear that Kate Carlisle’s Fixer-Upper Mysteries was the next series to be turned into movies, with the first on airing this month. We took some time to chat with Kate about this exciting news.
KRL: When were you first approached about your books being made into movies on Hallmark? How did that all come about?
Kate: About two years ago, my agent contacted me to tell me that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries was interested in bringing the Fixer-Upper Mysteries to the small screen, as a vehicle for singer-songwriter-actress-all-around-amazing-talent Jewel. Right from the start, Jewel was attached, and I couldn’t have been more excited. She’s the perfect combination of beautiful and feisty and delicate-looking to capture the character of Shannon. I was already a great fan of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, especially the Murder, She Baked series, based on Joanne Fluke’s Bake Shop Mysteries, and the Flower Shop Mysteries, based on Kate Collins’ series of the same name.
Some readers might be surprised that Hallmark chose the Fixer-Upper Mysteries over the Bibliophile Mysteries, for which I’m better known. But if you think about it, it makes sense. The Fixer-Upper Mysteries are much more visual, with Shannon renovating beautiful, old Victorian homes, and they feed the seemingly insatiable hunger for home renovation stories that has made the HGTV and DIY networks so popular.
Anyway, the details were being worked out all through 2015 and into 2016, and I had a lovely long talk with the producer early in 2016. Then filming started on October 3, 2016,—both Jewel and Colin Ferguson posted about it on their Instagram accounts—and I couldn’t share the news with my readers until December 2016! Ahhhhhh! It was really difficult, but I’m so proud of myself that I managed to be discreet.
KRL: How close are they going to be to the books?
Kate: I won’t know for sure the extent of the changes until the first movie airs, but I’m certain there will be changes. Television is a different medium than books. When I’m writing, I am not limited by physical or financial realities; I’m limited only by my imagination. If I want to write a scene that takes place on the precipice of a wind-ravaged cliff, I don’t have to think about where the cameras would go, or how the sound guy will keep his balance in difficult conditions.
Whatever the changes the producers make, I plan to enjoy the films for what they are. I hope my readers will be able to do the same, enjoy both the books and the movies, even though we know going in that the movies will be different. Shannon can live in parallel universes, on the page and on the screen, and we can get pleasure from both incarnations. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel does a great job, and I’m thrilled to be a part of their family. (“Thrilled” doesn’t begin to capture my level of excitement.)
KRL: It is all very exciting! Is the entire series optioned or just the first 4 books?
Kate: The entire series consists of four books at this time—A High-End Finish, This Old Homicide, Crowned and Moldering, and Deck the Hallways. The movie series will start with This Old Homicide, which Hallmark has renamed Framed for Murder for the screen. It’s my hope and the producers’ that viewers will love the Fixer-Upper Mysteries on screen, as well, and that they will be able to film an ongoing series of movies.
KRL: Yay! We will be keeping our fingers crossed. Is the book series continuing?
Kate: Yes, the Fixer-Upper Mysteries will continue! (Happy dance) I recently signed a two-book deal with my publisher for more Fixer-Upper Mysteries in 2017 and 2018, and I hope the series will continue beyond that. I’ve just started to work on book 5, Eaves of Destruction. I love writing two ongoing mystery series—the Fixer-Upper Mysteries and the Bibliophile Mysteries—with one book from each series every year. Although both series are set in California, the settings are very different—small town Lighthouse Cove versus San Francisco. And the premises are quite different, too, which gives me a great deal of creative satisfaction.
KRL: How do you like Jewel as the star & executive producer?
Kate: She is both talented and beautiful, and I’m excited to watch her bring Shannon to life. I followed her on Instagram during the filming, and every time she posted a new video, I was filled with pride and pleasure. Based on that, and on the trailers that are already showing on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, I think she’s going to do an outstanding job. Watch a preview here: www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/videos/preview-framed-for-murder-a-fixer-upper-mystery.
KRL: Did you get to go behind the scenes of the filming of the first movie? If so, what was that like?
Kate: I was invited to the set on the coast of Canada, but unfortunately, circumstances conspired to keep me home—deadlines and family commitments. I hope to visit the set while they’re filming the next movie. If I do, I’ll post lots of pictures in the Secret Room at KateCarlisle.com.
KRL: How does it feel to have your stories coming to life on the screen?
Kate: It’s a dream come true! I worked for many years in television production in Hollywood, so of course, when I reinvented myself as a writer, seeing my stories onscreen was always on my wish list.
KRL: When does the first one air?
Kate: Framed for Murder will air January 15 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
KRL: For anyone not familiar with the Fixer-Upper Mysteries can you share with us the basic premise and main characters?
Kate: Shannon Hammer is Lighthouse Cove, California’s premier home contractor specializing in restoring Victorian Grande Dames to their former glory. Behind the idyllic façade of this coastal town lie secrets and treachery… and murder. With her core group of close friends—including the handsome new sheriff and the world-famous thriller writer who recently purchased the Lighthouse Mansion—Shannon dismantles each nefarious plot clue by clue and builds a case against the killers.
KRL: Well, KRL sends its congratulations on this exciting project. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Kate: Many readers know me best by my Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. If you love the Bibliophile Mysteries, I think you’ll enjoy the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, too. I’ve provided Chapter One of all of my books for free at www.KateCarlisle.com.
Thanks so much for joining us, can’t wait to see the first movie! You can learn more about Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel on their website.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews (including reviews of Kate’s books), book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.