International bestselling author Francine Rivers revealed in an interview the "miraculous" events that turned her highly acclaimed novel, "Redeeming Love," into an actual movie that will be shown on January 21, 2022.
Faithwire said Rivers' novel was released thirty years ago and was inspired by the Old Testament book of Hosea. "Redeeming Love," considered a classic Christian fiction, is said to be a "harrowing tale of life, love, and Gospel redemption" that took place in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush.
Holly Kuespert, wife of renowned film director D.J. Caruso, got a hold of Rivers' novel and was deeply moved by it. Kuespert then introduced the book to Caruso who read it and eventually decided to turn it into a movie. The miracle unfolded during the film's production, which was faced by the "mammoth problem" of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When they filmed in South Africa, they actually finished the entire film 24 hours ahead of the COVID shut down, so they were able to complete the whole picture during shut down in private studies to put the whole thing together," the 74-year-old Rivers revealed.
"The movie's been ready for a year," she added.
Rivers, a 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Lifetime Achievement Awardee, emphasized that the release date of the movie "is always perfect" according to God's timing "because people need hope right now."
The movie, which goes by the same title, will be released by Universal Pictures and stars emerging actor Tom Lewis, Abigail Cowen of "The Winx Saga," and Canadian actress Nina Dobrev. The film also features Eric Dane and Logan Marshall-Green with the special appearance of Dutch actress turned former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity Famke Jansen.
During her interview, Rivers also shared the story of her own conversion. Rivers said she didn't really "know the Lord" even though she grew up in church. She only came to known him when she was already an adult in her late 30s. She shared that she underwent a home Bible study that involved the minor prophets. It was during that study that she came to encounter the story of Hosea and was really overwhelmed by it, particularly God's love for mankind.
"It just broke me open--that that's how much God loves us. So I basically took that biblical story and put it into the Gold Rush period," Reveals disclosed.
Rivers' conversion didn't end in a change in how she perceived God's love but also directed her to change the manner and intent of her writing. She said that she previously wrote "steamy, historical romances" and changed to refocusing her novels for "readers who didn't know Jesus." "Redeeming Love" then is Rivers' way of letting readers know God's love for them.
"(God's love) is even more passionate than we can imagine, and here's what it looks like," Rivers said pertaining to her novel.
Rivers published several Christian-themed novels thereafter such as "Bridge to Haven," "The Masterpiece," and "A Voice In the Wind." All of these novels have received various awards and nominations and continues to be highly in demand.
In addition, Rivers raised that the movie also intends to give hope to victims of sex trafficking who will be its beneficiaries. Rivers divulged that she has setup the Redeeming Love Sanctuary Foundation and partnered it with organizations helping sex trafficking survivors.
"We want it to be more than just a movie--we want it to have a purpose," Rivers shared.
"It's more widespread now than it's ever been. It's something we need to fight. We need to work together to fight it," she stressed in reference to sex trafficking.