by Terry Ambrose
In 2015, the Hallmark Mysteries and Movies channel was born and the former Hallmark Movie Channel expanded its strategy of creating movies based on books, having already seen success with Joanne Fluke’s Chocolate Chip Mysteries and Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. In 2015, the channel also brought out a Garage Sale mystery and a Plum Pudding mystery. The newest beneficiary of this trend is author Kate Collins, whose eighteen Flower Shop Mysteries are just waiting to be adapted to the screen.
Mum’s the Word stars Brooke Shields as Abby Knight and heartthrob Brennan Elliot as her sidekick. The movie premiered on January 17 on Hallmark Mysteries and Movies. In the story, Abby, a former New York City attorney, returns to her small home town to open a flower shop. On the day of her shop’s opening, her car is damaged by someone fleeing a murder scene. While at a local bar, she is attracted to the bartender. The next thing you know, they’re sleuthing together to find an escaped killer.
When asked about elements of the story that might differ between the book and the movie, Kate Collins said, “There are several elements that are similar in both the book and movie series. Abby’s character has gone through a bit of a transformation, but her desires, struggles and “inner warrior” is still there. She wants justice and will do just about anything, even put herself in harm’s way, to bring it about. They actually picked a wonderful location to film because even though we were in North Bay, Canada, it felt as thought we were in a small American town.”
As Collins noted, the main characters have changed a bit. “The relationship between Abby and Marco, in my opinion, keeps the series exciting for my fans and for me. Their relationship, although they are in different stages in life, will be very similar to the books, and help to keep people wanting more. Most importantly, though, out of all the changes made, the overall plot was almost exactly the same. For my first book in the series, it had a very complicated plot, and I was very pleased to see how much care they put into keeping it the same.”
Unfortunately, in a 90-minute movie, character development is limited. Collins said, “There isn’t a whole lot of time to explore side characters and subplots. Every character in my books has their own unique personality and add a bit of wisdom and humor. That is one of the biggest missing elements. Fortunately, as the series continues, new characters will be seen, and if the series really does well, maybe some of those missing elements will work their way back in.”
Collins is sure her fans will also be noticing the missing elements. “I have some wonderful die-hard fans out there. They love to keep me informed of all the differences. All I can say is, the books are my babies, they will always stay true to my vision, but the movies have grown up and left the house. What they do now is up to them!”The experience of seeing her words interpreted in a script was new for Collins She described it as “surreal” and said, “Upon entering the set and seeing Mum’s The Word typed out on official documents, with an official logo, you could have knocked me over with a flower. I think I have more pictures from that day than I do with the cast. Seeing the Bloomers sign over the flower shop and the Bloomers van and aprons, hearing the actors speaking the names that I came up with, and talking with producers and script writers, really put me over the top.”
The idea of seeing one of her books made into a movie has been one of Collins’s fantasies. She said she’s often thought about it, but never dreamt anyone else would do it. She said, “I think the hardest part for me would be to choose actors to play Abby and Marco. At first it was hard to see characters outside of my vision playing Abby and Marco, but seeing the whole thing come together is more than I could have hoped for. Brooke Shields captures Abby Knight in a very special way, and Brennan Elliott is the perfect Marco for her.”
The entire experience, as Collins describes it, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She said, “My reaction, after delight, is just gratitude. There are many exceptional writers out there working very hard on wonderful series, and I feel lucky that my book was in the right place at the right time.”
Find Kate Collins at katecollinsbooks.com or learn more about the Flower Shop Mysteries, and other fun mysteries, on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries at hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com. You can still see Mum’s the Word–check here for air dates: www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/flower-shop-mysteries-mums-the-word.
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