Homeless for the HolidaysBy Kayleen Reusser fs82 Published: Oct 30, 2018
Editor’s Note: The novel Homeless for the Holidays is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats.
Marsha (Ringenberg g65) Wright and PeggySue (fs05) Wells have released their first co-authored novel, Homeless for the Holidays. The book is based on a 2010 movie of the same name written and produced by George Johnson. The plot features the struggles of a corporate professional who loses his lucrative career and his home during the Christmas season. He and his family struggle to survive until they realize what is truly important in life: family, friends, and faith.
George had already written the script based on experiences in his life when he met Marsha and her husband, Steve (fs68), in 2008 at Grabill Missionary Church. Upon visiting the Wrights, George was delighted with their home in the Leo-Grabill area.
When George asked the Wrights for permission to use their home as the set for his new script, they agreed. “Steve and I decided that we wanted God to use our new home,” Marsha said. “We felt so blessed to have it.”
For several months, the Wrights moved out of their home on the weekends as the film crew worked. “It was somewhat inconvenient,” Marsha said, “but we don’t want to offer to the Lord that which costs us nothing.”
Marsha said that the enjoyment of the filmmaking process made up for any added stress. She even appeared as an extra in one scene where the main character, Jack Baker, opens his front door to find his cul-de-sac filled with television and radio crews.
The Wrights were so thrilled with the resulting film that when Johnson offered the film’s novelization rights to Marsha, she accepted. Her previous writing credits included short stories, articles, musicals, and the biography of her mother, Margaret Ray Ringenberg, entitled Maggie Ray, World War II Air Force Pilot.
Because this was Marsha’s first novel based on a screenplay, she sought the help of PeggySue Wells, whom she had met while completing a writing class at Taylor University Fort Wayne and kept in touch with through a local writers’ group. PeggySue, who earned a professional writing certificate from Taylor University Fort Wayne, has authored several novels, including The Slave Across the Street with Theresa Flores (Ampelon Publishing), Chasing Sunrise (Elk Lake Publishing), and Slavery in the Land of the Free (Ampelon). She previously served as an on-air radio host at WBCL.
“Writing a novel from a screenplay is akin to receiving a newly constructed home on a bare lot and having the freedom of an unlimited budget to decorate and landscape,” PeggySue said. “Whereas a screenplay tells a story in 120 minutes, a book allows the author to relay a longer, embellished tale.”
As she wrote, PeggySue added details of what life could look like for a family facing periods of unemployment, based on her own experiences and those of others who had been unemployed and homeless.
The co-authors were delighted when Homeless for the Holidays was accepted by Elk Lake Publishing. It is the first project the women have completed together. “The world needs hope more than advice,” PeggySue said. “As Christians, Marsha and I pray that throughout Homeless for the Holidays, hope shines bright.”