‘Grace Unplugged’ Author Melody Carlson:

People may say Melody Carlson writes Christian romance novels, but she’d disagree. ” I don’t write romance,” she told me when we talked by phone, “But I write love stories.”

She tries to capture what women really want, deep down, out of love: “I think they want a man to be a hero in their life. They want somebody who loves them through thick and thin and is there for the duration and not all the glamor and someone to be a friend and all that….That stand by your woman kind of guy.”

She’s written over 200 books, most of them overtly faith-based, including her most popular teen series: Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

So when the producers of Grace Unplugged asked her to write the companion novel to the movie, she was a natural fit.

“It’s a prodigal daughter sort of thing. [Grace is] 18 and out of school and immensely gifted vocally and musically.”

Given a chance to rerelease her father’s secular hit, Grace leaps at the opportunity, but finds the high life in Hollywood to be more than she bargained for.

Carlson said she thinks Hollywood can be hard to navigate, especially for young stars. The message is “We want you to do it our way. I think that’s probably realistic. They want her to change her appearance, she gets more pulled into alcohol and dressing in a way that she would not normally dress. She starts dating a guy she wouldn’t normally date.”

“Young people when they’re being offered this, it’s pretty hard for them to resist because they want to be a star.”

The question of Grace Unplugged is whether her faith will fall by the side or shepherd her through.

“I write about a lot of hard stuff a lot of the time. Addictions or sex or cutting or suicide or whatever, I’ve written about all of this stuff, God becomes the answer. I take these girls through this horrible journey and then I have to give them an answer.”

Carlson pauses:

“God wants to direct your life, look at him.”

Grace Unplugged opens in theaters October 4. 

About Rebecca Cusey

Rebecca is a lead critic and editor of entertainment at Patheos. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey


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