Shannon Hale enjoys visiting set of upcoming 'Austenland'

Published: Saturday, Sept. 24 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

Hale discussed that since movies are collaborative in nature, the interpretation of the book will be different for the entire crew, from set designer to make up artist to actor. The film stars Keri Russell as Jane Hayes and J.J. Field as Mr. Nobley.

"I sat in a chair ... put on headphones, and watched characters I invented speak lines I wrote," Hale recorded in her blog about her first day on set. She found it exciting to see how each person working on the film interpreted things.

“It was really cool to see some one else’s vision,” she said. “It was like watching your favorite movie all day long and seeing many different interpretations.”

So while many would expect an author to be frustrated over the changes made in their story, Hale’s biggest struggle was, as she said, being just an observer.

The hardworking mother of four now has 10 books under her belt and more on the way. She’s not used to just sitting and watching. She called her filming experience a vacation.

Another difficult part of the experience was being away from her family.

Hale, who’s added twins to the family since the Deseret News last profiled her, took the two babies and a trusted baby sitter with her, but she had to leave her husband and other two children behind.

“It was a really long time (to be away),” she said.

Because of that, unless circumstances are different and permit her to still have her family with her, Hale’s counting this filming experience as once-in-a-lifetime.

Hale blogged frequently about her seven-week "vacation," pining for her family, but maintaining a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming attitude the whole time. As the filming wrapped up, she wrote:

“The movie! There will be a movie! How cool to be with dozens of professionals in various fields, all working together to make something. And it’s something we can share with all of you.”

Hale hopes the movie will come out next year, but she’s not sure if they’re going to go a festival route, studio route or some other route. There are many options.

With filming done, next on the busy mother’s list is the release of a sequel to “Austenland” early next year.

Hale said that the book, “Midnight in Austenland,” will feature a new main character with a bit of a darker, albeit just as witty, story À la “Northanger Abbey.”

When asked about the possibility of her other books being made into movies, Hale admitted she couldn’t help imagining things for her other stories while she was on the set of “Austenland.”

She’s even had a few offers for her Newberry Honor-winning “Princess Academy," but Hale is cautious.

“As much fun as it is to have one of your books made into a movie, seeing one of your books made into a bad movie is not worth it,” she said.

While the success of the “Austenland” movie has yet to be determined, Hale’s blog posts are evidence of an incredible movie-making experience for the author.

“The whole project just felt so blessed,” she wrote.

For more information about Hale, visit http://www.squeetus.com.

For updates on the movie "Austenland" and the release of "Midnight in Austenland" visit Hale's blog at http://oinks.squeetus.com/.

Email: hbowler@desnews.com

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