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Being Rebecca

Every Single Breath…

Reason to Breathe was always a movie, even while I was writing it. A film playing in my head that I translated into words. That’s how the story presented itself to me. And that’s how I want to share it with you now.

I was told over and over again that once a book is optioned I, the author, wouldn’t have a say in what the movie becomes. I was advised to hope for the best and walk away. To allow the production company to create the film they believe is best. That I needed to separate myself from the film.

I can’t. Not with Emma’s story.

I’ve also been warned that a film is not a direct translation of the book. One page of script equates one minute of film. Certain scenes need to be sacrificed. Compromises must be made.

But how can I possibly decide which scenes are relevant and which are not? Do we delete the dinner with Catherine or the make-over at Sara’s? Is it Evan and Emma’s talk by the brook that’s not worthy of film? Or the non-date at the batting cages? How can I delete a single one of them?

I can’t. Every moment is important to Emma’s journey.

So that we can bring every moment in the book to life, Reason to Breathe will be separated into three films. Breaking up a single book into more than one film is not a new concept. It was done for Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and The Hunger Games. But we’re taking it a step further and making this into a three-part movie series. We won’t have to compromise a single scene. This is a powerful story, and you should experience every minute of it. You should feel every second of it.

I am a Writer…

“How’s the Writing Going?”

If I say that I’m writing, will it make it true? If I tell you the words are finding me, will it convince them to flow? If I want it enough, will it happen? I’ve wanted to believe that by saying it, I was inviting creativity back into my life. But it was only a lie I wanted to be true.

I am a writer, searching for creativity.

“How’s the Writing Going?”

I’ve been writing the same four chapters for over a year. I’ve rewritten the same four chapters again and again, hoping to spark the story from which they were created. I listen… but the voices only speak to me in sporadic bursts – fading before I can capture them.

I stare at my screen, waiting for the words. I stare at the walls. I stare out the window. Hours go by. My house is clean. My laundry is folded. My screen remains blank. My head remains quiet.

I am a writer, without words.

“How’s the Writing Going?”

They become the words I dread most, instantly flooding me with shame. I cringe when my agent’s number appears on my phone, wishing I could tell her I have something… but I can’t. I watch my friends publish book after book. I praise their accomplishments – I am truly so proud of them. But I’m equally ashamed of my lack of contribution. Each time I attend a signing, I am humbled and grateful for every reader who waits in line to meet me. But then I want to apologize to each of them for only having the same four books without anything new released. The shame burrows deep, and I sink into its hole.

I am a writer, who is not writing.

“How’s the Writing Going?”

The question is now a blow to my gut, laden with guilt. Writing is my career. I chose to devote my life to it. I was so confident in my ability, I left everything else behind to pursue it. I once worked sixty to eighty hours a week, and now I can’t write a single page. I avoid my agent, my editor, my friends, my financial planner, not wanting to answer that ten-thousand-pound question. I am a fraud.

I am a writer, who cannot write.

“How’s the Writing Going?”

“It’s not!” I want to scream. “I’m not writing!”

Fear coils in my gut, cold and heavy. What if I can never write again? Have I written all that I’m meant to write? How will I pay my bills? Should I pursue another career? What’s wrong with me?

Wait. Say that again…

“What’s wrong with me?”

That’s when I know… Something is wrong. I can feel it in my vacant stare. Within the fog in my brain. I am lost. Disconnected. I am not myself.

With help from my doctor, I’ve spent the past year searching for me. The body is a delicate vessel, and if one thing is off-balance, it can affect everything. I have been off-balance, in need of fine tuning, like dialing in a radio station.

Static. Static. I can hear a voice. Lost it. Static. There! That’s it! Music!

I am a writer, who will write.

“How’s the writing going?”

It’s coming…

The voices speak louder each day. My confidence is re-emerging, comforting the fear with a hug, whispering “Everything’s going to be okay.” The shame and guilt have lessened, but insist on hovering. Soon, they too will be silenced because I don’t know how to give up. I am meant for this life, to share my words… to create.

I vow to never release a story just to ease the guilt. I will only share my words when they’re worthy of being read. I will live my truth and remain honest with who I am. And despite being lost in the haze of imbalance, I know exactly who that is.


I’ve Been Waiting for You!

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. They always seemed like work to me. And that’s not very much fun. Instead, I recognize something I learned from the previous year and allow it to influence the upcoming year. And in 2015… I learned a lot.

This past year was one of the most challenging years I’ve personally experienced in a long time. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was an enlightening year, allowing me to see my life and the world around me in a way I never have before. I gained insight on who I am as a person and an artist. And it introduced new experiences and connected me with people who have changed me in so many ways. It also has provided me with that much more knowledge to bring with me into 2016.

And that is why I am calling this the year of Beginning Again. There are many years preceding it, but this one is brand new. And only I get to decide how it will begin. I am excited by all of the possibilities… because they all exist. Every single possibility. Now all I have to do is to decide upon which one to make happen first.

A maybe it will begin with…

More Than You Know…

You let me in. You chose to pick up my book from the shelf, or click on its cover on your screen. You opened it, and turned the pages. And in that moment, you let me in. You allowed me to be a part of your life. You read the words painted upon the pages, and entered the world I created. You gave me access to your heart. To your mind. To your judgment. You fell in love. You filled with rage. You cried. You forgave. And maybe, you didn’t understand, but accepted what I presented to you all the same.

And then… you gave back. You sent me messages. Mailed me letters. Created beautiful works of art. Shared your life… with me. I’ve read every single word you wrote. I kept the gifts you gave to me. You were brave enough to confide in me. Know that my heart will forever hold your journeys of survival sacred. I watched you wait in line for hours just to receive a signature and a picture, and I couldn’t have loved you more. I wish I could have given you more. I wish I could show you a glimpse of my soul so you can see how much you’ve changed me.

You don’t know me. Not really. Yet… you trusted me with your emotions. You may not have liked how I made you feel along the way. But in the end, you stood by me, holding onto hope that I would keep you safe. You refused to give up on me. And you still haven’t, even in this year of silence… you are still there, waiting for me…. for my words. Believing in me. Still allowing me to be a part of your lives.

I am writing…

What am I writing?

Jonathan Reese’s tragic story. Jonathan is the most complex and controversial character to emerge from The Breathing Series. He evoked such extreme emotion from every reader, I decided his story needed to be told. His life is just as heartbreaking as Emma’s and the violence even more severe. Just because the series will be written from Jonathan’s point of view does not mean I’m going to attempt to persuade you to like him. I promise to be true to his character, revealing all of what makes him who he is – the man readers love, hate, or hate to love.

There is so much more to Jonathan than his All-American stunning looks and confidence. He has suffered immeasurable pain throughout his life, leaving him a deep-rooted anger he cannot relinquish. The rage that possesses him has destroyed so many lives. In attempt to save himself, he is forced to relive his abuse and atone for the devastation he’s left in his wake. This includes confronting the girl who tore out his heart.

It’s not easy being inside Jonathan’s head. His life is more complicated than I anticipated. And he reveals some very disturbing moments in his life. His story will be powerful. I know I won’t be the same once I’m done capturing it. This story is intricate and it’s revealing itself to me slowly, so I will need time to assure I portray his life accurately. It is very important I get it right.

Is Jonathan maniacally twisted, or misunderstood? Does he deserve redemption, or is he beyond salvation? I don’t know. This time, I’m writing unaware of how The Burning Series will end.

Be patient. It’s coming.

YES, It’s True…

Reason to Breathe is being made into a movie! But not just one—THREE!

Before we all start screaming and jumping around like lunatics (I already have–so I’m not judging) let me tell you the story about how this all happened.

A little over a year ago I met with Ileen Maisel and Lawrence Elman of Amber Entertainment to discuss adapting The Breathing Series for film. They want to create an exciting and innovative experience for the viewers, meaning you! They recognize that in order for the films to be a success, they need to win you over, and the only way to do that is to give you exactly what you want—the entire story. All of it. Without making any major cuts.

Of course a few edits will be made—we want to make certain the pacing holds your attention. But ideally, what you read will be what you see!! Love that? Me too! So, I agreed to become a partner in this venture that will bring Emma’s heartbreakingly beautiful story to life.

Now that I’m allowed to officially announce the films, I plan to share the entire process with you. And there’s a lot that needs to happen before we begin filming!

Where to begin…

I guess what you should know is that everything takes time. Everything. It’s the part of pre-production that I’m still trying to get used to. I’m a results girl. If I want it, I get it done. But that’s not how the movie industry functions. If you want to do it, there’s an army to hire in order to get it done. But before any of that can happen…we need money. Not surprising, right?

In order to get funded, we have to convince the financiers that this is a brilliant project that they want to be a part of, because my fans, YOU, want this to happen. You will watch it. You will love it. Honestly, we can’t do any of this without you. See how important you are to making this happen? VERY!

So a script was written to capture the characters we all love. I was given drafts. Did I mention there will be three movies? Getting ahead of myself, I know. But I’m just so excited about that part! Okay…I’ll come back to it!

I then took those three scripts and shaped them with my words, allowing the characters and scenes to become exactly as I envisioned them when I wrote the story nearly five years ago. And the imagery is just as clear to me now as it was when I was propped up in my bed during the snowstorm with my computer on my lap. Ileen and Lawrence know how important it is for me to be a contributing screenwriter on this film, and I know you will feel the difference when you see my words come to life on the screen!

Now we have a script. (Or three.) But we still need money…

To help convince financiers that this film will be epic, we need to give them a sense of what the film will be about by providing the feel and mood in ninety seconds. So I recruited the ever amazing and talented Mollie Harper of Tough Critic Book Reviews to create what the industry refers to as a “sizzle reel” (essentially…a book trailer). She shared her experience creating this captivating trailer on her blog. And look what she came up with!!

Amazing, right?! We’ve totally convinced them to invest. No problem!

Here’s the part I keep teasing you with…

In order to translate the story in its entirety, Reason to Breathe needed to be broken up into three movie-length (75 to 90 minutes) episodes. So you could potentially have two hundred and seventy minutes (of just Reason to Breathe) to absorb every emotional moment alongside Emma, Evan and Sara! That makes my heart so very happy!!

It was also decided that instead of releasing the episodes on the big screen, you will be able to access them on (hopefully) the digital platform of your choosing (those details are still being worked out). That way each film will be released to you without the super long wait between the sequels that most big-screen films torture you with. So, no…you won’t be forced to wait a year between each release like some of you had to do with the novels. (Don’t tell anyone, but you’re my favorite fans!) Consider this my gift to you for your patience and support! But seriously, I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Not only am I a screenwriter for the project, I’m also a producer. Which means I am a part of the entire creative process. Honestly, I’m still wrapping my head around what this means exactly. But essentially, I get a say in every step. And I will help the production team take the imagery inside my head and make it happen in real life! Well…on a set. But you know what I mean.

So, YES!! Reason to Breathe is becoming three movies. No…I do not know when they will be released. But I will involve you in what’s happening every step of the way. Which means I might get to sneak you behind the scenes…especially when we start casting. So fun, right?! I told you, you are important!!

Next on our list is finding the right director for the project. We’ve begun speaking to a few, and I’m looking forward to hearing their visions. As my readers, you know, there’s so much to this story. It’s a story of love, loss, friendship…and hope. It’s a story about choosing to live. And if we can sign a director with the talent to capture the underlying essence of Emma’s story, the film will truly be unforgettable!


We have to decide where to film it. Choosing a location is not as simple as finding the state that best represents the book. There’s other way more complicated things to consider, that I won’t concern you with. Just know that we do have locations in mind (Massachusetts being one of them – woo hoo!).

And we have a list of potential casting directors to find us unique and talented actors. Don’t worry—I will absolutely be a part of this process. I’m beyond excited for the auditions!! (I just hope I don’t embarrass myself the moment I see Evan and Emma in front of me and start screaming. Ha! I will try not to scream…or cry.) And before you start throwing names my way, I honestly would love a mostly unknown cast. So that they become the roles, and you only see Emma, Evan and Sara before you.

Yes, I know… We need to cast the perfect Evan. Don’t worry. I will make it happen!

I’ve also been listening to lots of music (torture for me, as you know – ha!) to create the ideal soundtrack. Music can affect the entire mood of a scene. We know how important that can be. (Or at least Evan does.)

And so…

That’s it. It’s happening! Because of you!! Did you hear me screaming “Thank you!” from my rooftop?! (My neighbors did.)

I’ll post soon with updates… I promise!!

Now you may commence screaming and jumping around like lunatics!! I’m right there beside you…

It Happens When It Happens…

By nature, I’m a control freak. An impulsive control freak at that. I get an idea, and I want it done. Right at that very moment. If I can see it in my head, then I want to figure out a way to make it happen.

My mind never shuts off. It keeps me up at night, plaguing me with vision after vision. Insomnia and I are well acquainted. I have six stories in my head, waiting for their turn to talk to me. There’s places I want to visit, causes I’d like to support, concerts to experience, while guiding my son to be the best human possible. I have no idea how to sit quietly and relax… it seems impossible.

Knowing this about myself, the hardest lesson I have had to learn is that I am not in control of my creativity. I am at its mercy. And that does not bide well with a control freak. I have a concept for a story. I know what I want it to be about, who will be in it, and how it will end. But it doesn’t mean I can write it.

Writing WHAT IF made me question everything. Even my approach to writing. I started this story more than five times. I thought I could write it in three months. It took seven. I tried to plot my points and write from beginning to end like I’ve always done. I ended up writing out of order, within the past and the present, in three different points of view. I thought it was going to be a fun, light love story. It is NOT.

WHAT IF was supposed to be my reprieve from the emotional gutting I’d just been through with The Breathing Series.  A cleansing, if you will. That’s not what ended up happening.

This story messed with my head. It challenged me since conception. Writing was counterintuitive since the story is told by a twenty-year-old college guy – which I am not. I had to lose myself to his voice, suppressing my own. There was a point that I considered quitting, and trying another project. However, this story was determined to be told, but in its own way. (Besides… I don’t know how to give up.) In the end, I experienced a creative process I could never have predicted.

There are so many layers to this story. Everything is connected – moments, words, even colors. It’s easy to just enjoy it for what it is when you read it. But if you look closely, you’ll see the interwoven lines of the web that you’re caught within. Everything is on purpose.

So what’s WHAT IF about? It’s not a love story. It’s a life story. It’s about friendship. It’s about love. It’s about second chances. It’s about living the life you want, not the one you’re given.

And I’m so very proud of this story. It’s taught me so much about myself as a writer. Patience being the hardest lesson (that I am still trying to learn). It is unlike anything I’ll ever write. But that’s what I hope to say about each story I create. And after everything I went through, I wouldn’t change a thing.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce that I’ve signed with Grand Central Publishing and they plan to release the eBook of WHAT IF in September 2014 and the paperback in January 2015.

I will keep you apprised of the details as I continue to work with them. I have some amazing things planned for promoting WHAT IF as well that I want you to be a part of!


Since I’m making announcements, I’d also like to share that I’m currently speaking with a production company about making The Breathing Series into a movie series. Nothing is “official” yet, which basically means I haven’t signed anything. But I just submitted the screenplay to the team as we continue to move forward. You will hear my scream of excitement echo around the world when I can officially announce it. This will be a cinematic experience unlike any other!  I cannot wait!!


One more thing… (This is what happens when I wait until I have news to share before writing a blog post, everything happens at once!) Due to the amount of travel I’m doing this summer, I will begin writing Jonathan’s story this fall! The Burning Series will also be a trilogy: IGNITING LIES, BURNING TRUTH, and ASHES OF REDEMPTION. I have no idea when you can expect them. But I promise to keep you updated as I create his story, which is going to be dark and violent.


I told you I have a whirlwind going on inside my head… and those are just the projects I can announce!!




This is the time of year when people reflect upon what has happened and what will be.

But I’d rather reflect upon the now. The moment I’m living in this very second. And this second, for me, is all about honesty.

As real and pure as honesty is, it’s also hard. It’s not always easy to give. And it can be difficult to hear. But acknowledgment of the truth can change the very seconds we’re living in. Continue reading…


I talk out loud – creating conversation.

I visualize facial expressions – squinting, mouth tightening, furrowing brows.

I observe me – my breathing, my heartbeat, my hands clenching.

Then I listen.

Where is this taking me? What should happen next? How will this all come together?

And then there is silence. I wait. But the voices are mute.

I try to force them, but it’s no use. They will not be persuaded by desperation. Continue reading…

Voices In My Head

In twenty minutes, everyone will remember you when you’re gone.
And your heart is a stone buried underneath your pretty clothes.

Don’t you know people write songs about girls like you?

What will you do when something stops you?
What will you say to the world?
What will you be when it all comes crashing down on you, little girl?
What would you do if you lost your beauty?
How would you deal with the light?
How would you feel if nobody chased you?
What if it happened tonight?

—The Naked and Famous


There is music that makes you feel. There is music that makes you move.

This music… made me THINK ~ “I want to write about that girl.” Continue reading…


Copyright 2017 Rebecca Donovan