Introducing my friend and fellow writer, Rene Gutteridge


I always love sharing books that I love written by friends that I love. Rene Gutteridge has been a special friend for years. After being roomies one year at a writers retreat, my love for her personally grew. But with each book she comes out with my love for her talent grows. She is witty, kind and a person you would want as your friend. And I wanted to share a recent project she worked on that I thought our friends on the porch might enjoy.

 Renee, can you tell us how this opportunity came about to write the book adaptation of the movie “Heart of the Country?”

Tyndale acquired the rights for the novelization and asked me to read the script to see if I was interested.  I loved it.  I identified with a lot of the characters and I felt the story was well-written.  I knew I’d have a lot of fun adapting it.  The movie had not gone into production yet so I worked solely from the script.  Now the movie and the book are both available and it’s really exciting to see this entire project come together.  I’m blessed to be a part of it.

How does the process of writing a book based off of a screenplay differ from your normal fiction writing?

Well, obviously you have parameters, but they’re more helpful than anything, I think.  The basics of storytelling are the same, but you have to really implement all those fiction tools you have in your basket.  Scripts are very technical and mostly bare-bones.  They’re designed to let each artist involved (director, actor, costumers, etc.) interpret, so in that way, they’re extremely fun.  They’re like a guideline. I think screenwriters are some of the most generous writers around.  Their work is the basis for the entire movie, and they have to let each artist do what they think is best in the telling of a story they created.  Novelists, I can assure you, don’t play that nice!’

Can you share just a snippet of how you got started writing.

I was that kid that was always writing. It’s just been in me for a very long time. I got interested in screenwriting as a teenager and studied that in college, but it was a novel that gave me my first break so that’s where I’ve been now for almost fifteen years.

What are you working on next? 

I’ve got a lot of fun projects coming up. I’m promoting my new thriller Misery Loves Company.  We’re in post-production for my movie SKID, based on my comedic novel of the same name.  That was a great experience and I’m looking forward to getting the film finished and to audiences.  I’ve also got a new comedy that released in October with screenwriter Cheryl McKay.  If you liked Never the Bride you will love this one too!  It’s called Greetings from the Flipside.  And I’m currently finishing another family drama called Just 18 Summers which is another novelization!  I’m always so thankful to be working.  It’s not always the case as a freelance writer.  Each project is a blessing.

Rene, we know that Moore, Oklahoma suffered tremendously in the spring tornado of 2013 that destroyed the Plaza Towers elementary school. What was that day like for your family? And how is your community coming back from the rubble? 

 I’ve actually written the account of what happened to my family on May 20th on my blog.  It was a day of truly testing my faith in God.  It was by far the scariest day of my life.  My entire family was in danger and we were all separated.  I’ve written down my thoughts on what God taught me that day.

Moore is a really great town.  I love it and I love the people.  They have a lot of fortitude and spirit and heart.  They’ll make it through this.  But the devastation is incomprehensible.  It’s just baffling to see an entire stretch of a city simply gone.

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A southern girl who loves her family, friends and SEC football. I'm crazy about Jesus, Coca-Cola, Mr. Jones, and my bonus-kids. And I write a few books.

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  1. Lisa Wingate says

    Welcome, Rene! Loved this chat with you. We’ve just sold our first film option to one of the books, so I felt like I was learning a bit about the movie biz from you. So interesting!

    Blessings on all of your projects. When do you sleep???


  2. says

    Welcome to our porch, Rene’! It’s a pleasure having you here. (Thx for this treat, Denise!) I watched the devastation of your beautiful town with such sadness, will be leaving here to read your account of it.

    Blessings on all of those irons in the fire. Looking forward to checking out your work!

  3. Rachel Hauck says

    Hi Renee, so good to see you on the porch. Giving you a big cyber hug! Love all the blessings God is doing in your life!!


  4. says

    Welcome, Renee! I’ve been such a fan of your books over the years…..and on the day of the Moore tornado, I was praying like crazy when I saw on Facebook that you lived there and were in the path of danger. So fun to have you on the porch today….I hope you’ll come back and visit often!

  5. Jackie Smith says

    Hi Renee,
    Enjoyed hearing more about you/your books! I’ve read many of them and thoroughly enjoyed them! I just downloaded Just 18 Summers and can’t wait to read it.!!

  6. says

    Hey everyone! Thanks so much for the warm welcome, though why should I be surprised by such wonderful and beautiful southern friends! Denise, thanks again for the chance to talk about my projects. I hope I can stay in touch with you all through our various social media! Have a fantastic Fourth of July!

  7. Maxie Anderson says

    This was very interesting. So, sometimes the book is written off the movie instead of the opposite way. I thought they wrote the books, then movies. Maxie
    > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    • Maxie Anderson says

      I didn’t know you lived in Moore. So glad you were safe. I have grandchildren living in OKC. A granddaughter went several times to help with the clean-up. Sh also took her teen-age nephew(my GGrandson) to help and see and understand how horrible things are. This way they understand and don’t forget. Was such a sad thing. Maxie

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