WOODSTOCK — Local author Jason Wright has had a busy year with the release of his 16th book, “The Christmas Doll,” and the film adaptation of his novel “Christmas Jars.”
“The Christmas Doll,” which was released in October, is based on a true story about Gail Saxton Miller, a billionaire businesswoman and owner of the Utah Jazz NBA team. The book follows a young Miller growing up during the Great Depression and receiving a gift of a doll one Christmas morning.
Wright said that he came up with the idea for the book while working on Miller’s memoir – “Courage to Be You: Inspiring Lessons From an Unexpected Journey.”
“She told me about this story about a doll at Christmas time,” he said. “I was so excited when she told me this story because I could see the book in my head already. I said ‘Could we not put that story in the book because I have an idea.’ She was really gracious to let me pull that story out of that original book we did.”
Wright said faith and the idea of second chances were the big hooks for the book.
“The message of the book isn’t just about treating your worldly possessions well, it’s about relationships and friendships and family,” he said. “We’re too quick to give up on people and to not give them an opportunity to change. I hope people take that message away, as well. If you turn your life over to whatever brand of religion you choose, then you can learn the same lesson.”
Wright said he thinks that people will appreciate the idea of “The Christmas Doll” being a very personal story.
“[Miller] was very gracious to let me tell it,” he said. “She liked the book a lot. She’s been very supportive. I think she understands that it’s a good message to get out there.”
Wright’s “Christmas Jars” book saw its theatrical release in early November. The film follows Hope – played by actress Jeni Ross – an eager and talented young reporter who finds a jar full of money at her door and is determined to find out who is behind the act.
Wright said the screenings were phenomenal. They were held locally at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kernstown, which he said was the number two market showing the film.
“That was the highlight of the journey, so far,” he said. “That was, by far, the most surreal, humbling experience I’ve had in my career, so far. It’s what every writer dreams of – when you’re a kid to buy a ticket to your own movie. After the movie was over, I just sat there and it didn’t seem real. It was pretty cool.”
Wright said the home video release of “Christmas Jars” is scheduled for Friday and will broadcast on BYU TV at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Wright said that due to the success of the “Christmas Jars” film, a film adaptation of another of his books – “The Wednesday Letters” – is closer to becoming a reality.
“We’re closing out the fundraising for that right now,” he said. “We have a script, a producer, and a director. We hope to start shooting next summer.”
Wright said that he is also planning on writing his next novel.
“I have six manuscripts started,” he said. “I had to pause all of them with this ‘Christmas Jars’ mania. Now that the chaos has settled, it’s time to pick one and finish it.”