Hallmark Movies... In Real Life

The Mistletoe Inn… in Real Life

MistletoeIn honor of The Mistletoe Inn airing tomorrow, Tuesday, July 23, 2019, as part of the Hallmark Christmas in July schedule, this movie will be the first one that I live out in real life.

The Hallmark Movie Synopsis for The Mistletoe Inn is as follows: Our female lead, Kim Rossi, played by Alicia Witt, is an aspiring novelist who has recently been dumped. As a result, she signs up to attend a romance writers retreat before Christmas. Her favorite author, whose real identity is unknown, will be speaking at this conference and simultaneously making his great unveiling. Calamity and embarrassment of course ensue when the two leads, Kim and Zeke, played by David Alpay, have their first meet-cute. As fellow writers at the conference, they ultimately become each other’s writing partners. Kim’s ex also happens to be in attendance, which helps create some tension. Attraction builds between the writing partners, and I won’t give the rest away, but it’s a staple from the 2017 Countdown to Christmas collection, so you know there is a happy ending.

Full disclosure, I am limited in my Hallmark Movie choices to try to live out in real life, as there are a few ingredients that I do not have. I have never been married, so I cannot pretend to be divorced, and I have no children, although I am a devoted aunt and godmother. While these plot points are ones that limit my repertoire, attending a writer’s conference is something I can do and, in fact, have already done!

I did not attend a romance writers conference in Vermont during the Christmas season, like Kim in The Mistletoe Inn, but I did attend a writers conference in New England this spring. As a former journalism major in college, I have always enjoyed writing and have dreams of being published one day. What writer doesn’t? That said, attending the conference was my first serious step in putting myself out there for professional feedback on my writing.

Given my own limited experience, I could absolutely relate to Kim’s character, who was hesitant to put her work out there for feedback. Kim had been working on a project for a while, but had yet to share it.  In real life, I’ve been working on a project, too, and have been hesitant to share it. While hers was a romance novel, mine is a memoir about becoming an orphan during a two-year period in high school. My parents’ deaths are completely different case studies in grief and, I hope, an overall story of resilience. However, I’ve spent a lifetime protecting these details and keeping my orphan status hidden so that no one would ever feel sorry for me or treat me differently. To participate fully in the conference, I signed up to have meetings with book agents, submitted pages in advance, and had to openly answer questions about the book and, consequently, my life. My secret was exposed. I have never felt so vulnerable in my entire life.

In The Mistletoe Inn, Kim has a boyfriend who doesn’t support her, which is how he becomes her ex. I don’t have a boyfriend or a recent ex, but the morning of the writer’s conference, I did have breakfast with a former flame who broke my heart. For us, there was no Hallmark movie moment, where the old flame realized he had made a mistake in letting me go. Instead it was a wonderful realization for me that we were both living our lives, and those lives are and have always been taking us in different directions. I was open and willing, once, to change direction, but he has never felt the same. So I’m going to continue chasing my dreams and moving forward.

My real-life Hallmark moment was closure, not a kiss. But more importantly, as I slipped on my conference name badge, forced a smile to mask a stomach full of butterflies, and stepped forward on shaky legs into the crowded ballroom of authors, publicists and agents, I realized that my real-life Hallmark movie was only just beginning.

Stay tuned for the continuation of the “The Mistletoe Inn… in Real Life.” Or better yet, subscribe to receive a notification when the next post goes live next week!

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