Best-Selling Author Shares the True Meaning of Christmas
Donna VanLiere was born and raised in Northeastern Ohio. She says, “I remember writing my first story in those early years; I was in the second-grade, I believe. It was about a bear and his family but I abandoned it soon after the first page when a kid named Mike looked over my shoulder and asked why in the world I was writing a stupid story about a bear. I wish I had kept it, better yet, I wish I had finished it; after all, I had gotten through the hardest part of writing... beginning something.”
Donna grew up and married Troy. They moved to Nashville where she says, “I was constantly writing on the side but wasn't aware that I could make my living at it. Theater, commercial, voiceover, and radio work helped pay the bills but wasn't fulfilling work. Since I earned degrees in those areas, I thought I should be faithful to the years I logged studying them and follow through with as much work as possible.” But odd writing jobs continued to come her way. “One day I sat down to write a book and was stunned to hear that a publisher had picked it up. That book turned into another and then I went to see my friends NewSong in concert one hot July day. Eddie Carswell told me the premise of a Christmas song he was writing. He asked if I thought it would make a good Christmas song and I told him I thought it would make a great book.”
Donna began to work on an outline so she could flesh out the story and characters. In the meantime, NewSong released The Christmas Shoes single to radio in the winter of 2000. In three weeks, it shot to the top of the Billboard radio charts, tying the record for the fastest charting number one song. The Christmas Shoes novel released it at the end of October of 2001 and CBS brought it to the small screen on December 1, 2002. CBS aired The Christmas Blessing (Neil Patrick Harris) in December 05 and it became one of the most watched programs the week it aired. Lifetime aired The Christmas Hope in winter 2009 where it garnered big ratings for the network.
Donna loves writing but believes that it pales in comparison to her role as a mother. After struggling through years of trying to conceive a child, God answered Donna’s prayers in March of 2002 when they adopted their first child from China. Then in July of 2004 they adopted their second child. In July of 2007 they brought home a boy from Guatemala. Donna’s children are by far the most exciting part of her life. She writes when they’re in school and spends the rest of her time taxiing them around and watching them grow.
BOOK - THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT
Donna has written several novels revolving around Christmas. She believes that the meaning of Christmas is that hope, Jesus Christ, came down for the world. She believes that Christmas is a greater miracle than Easter because others have been raised from the dead but no one else has left heaven to walk among us. Her new novel is about five different people who discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache. Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles and finding their way through the dark. Through an unconventional church Nativity they are brought together and learn that there is always hope in any circumstance. Donna wrote this novel because the holiday season is very difficult for some people and she wanted to show the good things that can come out of Christmas. She hopes that people will see that sometimes you have to strain a little more before hope is fulfilled.
MOVIE - THE CHRISTMAS SECRET
Donna’s older novel “The Christmas Secret” has been adapted into a movie that is premiering this December. The story is about Christine Eisley and how her life is coming undone. She’s been fired, evicted, and her ex-husband is fighting for custody of their children. On top of all that she has lost a very special family heirloom, a star-shaped locket handed down from her father. Things start to look up when Christine lands a new job at a bakery and a holiday romance begins to blossom with a handsome man named Jason. She starts uncovering a long-standing family secret that may bring her good fortune and true love just in time for Christmas. Donna hopes that this story will convey how each life touches others. She says that we are the “secret” in helping change someone else’s life.
The world premiere of “The Christmas Secret,” a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Original premieres Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT, 8C.