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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment May 29, 2016

10/1/2013 2:11:00 PM
Local author forays into tinsel town
Melody Carlson is pursuing book-to-film efforts. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Melody Carlson is pursuing book-to-film efforts. photo provided

By Kit Tosello

Local novelist Melody Carlson has a new accomplishment to add to her vast list of writing credits: Carlson penned the companion novel to "Grace Unplugged," a faith-based feature film that releases nationwide this week.

And this may mark the beginning of a new career direction, the gateway to Carlson's "big dream."

"Grace Unplugged" is the prodigal-daughter story of a talented 18-year-old singer-songwriter whose convictions are tested as she grapples with Hollywood stardom. The movie stars AJ Michalka-one-half of the musical duo "73violet" (formerly Aly and AJ)-as well as Kevin Pollak. While in Los Angeles several weeks ago doing press junkets, Carlson says she heard praise for the film among those who had screened it.

She has amassed a body of work that includes over 200 published books, all generated from her detached writing cottage in the pines just outside the city of Sisters. When asked how she accomplished this, Carlson said, "One book at a time. One step at a


Those steps have led her to write for audiences young and old. The popularity of her women's fiction earned her the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, while she has simultaneously enjoyed success with her books for teens, including the bestselling Diary of a Teenage Girl series. In those, she doesn't shy away from the sensitive issues that confront young


Her stories have taken characters through the dark worlds of sex trafficking, self-harm (cutting), and suicide.

"I take these girls through a horrible journey, and then I have to give them an answer," said Carlson. "God is the answer."

Now her career path seems to be winding its way into glitzy new territory.

"I have a number of movie producers considering various books. My best chances seems to be my Christmas novellas for a TV movie. I plan to spend some time in L.A. at the end of October, discussing these projects with my producer


That's unusual company to keep for a small-town girl who normally hangs out with Audrey and Harry - her yellow Labrador and Maine Coon cat - on the forested acre she and her husband, Chris, call home. Melody and Chris also have two grown sons and a


"It's a big dream," she admits. "Although it was fun to create a novel based on a script, my ultimate goal would be to have some of my own novels produced for TV or film."

Lisa Clausen, the owner of Sisters Movie House, says she is working hard to bring "Grace Unplugged" to town as soon as possible. A Lionsgate film, it opens in wide-release this weekend, including at Regal Old Mill in Bend.

Carlson's novelization of "Grace Unplugged" is available in bookstores, both in print and eBook versions. For more information about Melody Carlson and her books, visit

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