Jason Wright: So what am I working on?
There are three things I count on every single day. The sun will rise, I’ll eat a helpless family of gummy bears and someone will ask, “So, Jason, what are you working on?”
It’s inescapable. The question comes on Facebook, at the Woodstock Walmart, post office and at the dinner table from my own kids.
This week, while sorting through notes for about 15 weekly columns in the pipeline, I stumbled upon this idea: “Draft projects update. Use for ‘Wright Words.'”
With so much simmering on every possible burner, the timing couldn’t be better.
So, what am I working on?
You know that “Christmas Jars — The Movie” has been in development for a long time. And by a long time, I mean that when the rights were sold and the team came together, George W. Bush wasn’t even halfway through his second term and the hit movies were “Big Momma’s House 2” and “Mission Impossible 3.” Ouch.
Despite the complicated setbacks and false starts, there’s still plenty of interest in the film and the director and executive producer are working every day to get the film funded. To be blunt, there is so much I would do differently with “Christmas Jars” had I known in 2005 what I know in 2015. But isn’t that what learning is all about?
Speaking of doing things differently, the film adaptation of “The Wednesday Letters” has also taken an interesting journey. After being pursued then dropped by Sony, the novel and its sequel “The Wedding Letters” were optioned by my friend Glenn Beck and his team. Unfortunately, the project stalled and the option expired.
What does that mean? The rights are mine again, and over the last year I’ve taken a very active role in getting the film made. We’re attracting seed money from investors large and small and we have momentum on our side. The novel is being read and reviewed right now by several filmmakers and just last week I had meetings to move the ball forward.
There’s more on the film front. I’ve shipped copies of “The Cross Gardner,” “The 13th Day of Christmas” and “The Seventeen Second Miracle” to a few folks in hopes of landing them in the first stages of development. And, because I’ve always believed in the potential of these stories on screen, I’m giving up significant pieces of the pie to get this done.
One of the most intriguing models we’re pursuing is a film adaptation of “The Seventeen Second Miracle” that would be screened exclusively in schools. The message of this book, in particular, has resonated well in many student assemblies over the last few years.
People are also curious about “The 96th Annual Apple Valley Barn Dance” and with good reason. Shortly after releasing the first installment in the evolving e-book series, one of the largest New York publishers reached out to me about a partnership. In short, they wanted to take over the project and presented some very unique ideas. Unfortunately, the lengthy negotiations back and forth stalled over some fundamental disagreements over plot and timing and they could not be bridged. It happens, and we went our separate ways. The project is being rebooted and I’ll have news later this year.
Also by year’s end, I’m hoping to finally announce a top-secret project I spent six months writing with someone you’ll recognize. For unrelated reasons, the project was suspended during the editing process and we’re working hard to get it back in production. It’s a non-fiction manuscript I think you’ll love.
In the meantime, I’m working on a children’s manuscript called “The Lost Carnival.” A publisher sits waiting for a “first look” and I’m hoping to have release details in the next couple of months. I’m also continuing to develop “The Red Button Book,” a picture book I debuted in school assemblies this spring. “Don’t press the red button!” That’ll make sense later, I promise.
Don’t worry, moms and dads, I’m also working on some traditional adult contemporary fiction. I have a road-trip novel in the works that fans of “The Wednesday Letters” and “The Cross Gardener” should really enjoy.
Like Christmas stories? Don’t worry — I have one of those coming, too. I’m working with another author on a fresh concept that will change the way you look at jukeboxes forever.
Finally, because sleep is overrated, the weekly columns continue and I’m still working on a biography. I’m also engaged in some corporate storytelling and we’re scheduling as many school assemblies and speaking engagements as we can pack in a day. There’s nothing I enjoy more.
I hope that answers some of the healthy curiosity. But if you see me around town, don’t be afraid to pose the question anyway. If you don’t keep me on my toes, who will?
Certainly not the gummy bears.
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including “Christmas Jars,” “The Wednesday Letters” and “The 13th Day of Christmas.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.jasonfwright.com.