Premiere planned for late author’s book-turned-movie

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A late Fort Wayne author’s book has been turned into a made-for-TV movie. The author’s sisterhood of friends and fellow authors is throwing a premiere party for the film, honoring a pact and her dying wishes.

Kristin Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt are all authors of romance novels and friends. The women frequently joked that if one of their books was made into a movie, they would all go to the Hollywood premiere together.

That joke became a reality when the Hallmark Channel picked up Diann Hunt’s book For Better or for Worse in 2013. The news came at the same time Hunt was battling ovarian cancer.

“She was very much loved in the Christian writing community,” said Coble, her friend and fellow author. “Very much loved just because of that sweet spirit she had.”

Hunt lost that battle in November. But before she died, she had a request for her friends.

“She was thinking about her family all the way up to the very end and she had asked us if we would have a party the night that the movie aired,” said Hunter, another friend and fellow author. “She didn’t want her family to be watching it home alone. Of course we said we would be happy to do that.”

So on Saturday at Grace Point Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wayne, her friends are doing just that: hosting their own red carpet premiere because the Hallmark Channel doesn’t have one. It will include limos, photographers, and wedding decorations.

For Better or for Worse is about a wedding coordinator and divorce attorney who find their lives intertwined. The movie has reunited Lisa Whelchel and Kim Fields, or Blair and Tootie from the 1980s TV series “The Facts of Life.”

The premiere will also reunite loved ones with the cheerful and comedic spirit of the late author.

“She would have been thrilled. She loved each of us so much. We really truly were sisters,” Coble said. “That won’t end. She’s gone on to heaven but her presence is still very much felt by those of us who knew and loved her.”

Hunter echoed Coble’s thoughts on the premier. “It is a pleasure to give back to somebody who gave so much of herself,” she said. “We just want it to be a time of celebration for her family. And I know Diann will be looking down and she’ll be happy to see her family celebrating that night.”

“For Better or for Worse” airs on the Hallmark Channel Saturday at 9:00 p.m. EST. Almost 500 tickets have already been sold to the premiere at Grace Point Church. Hunter said few tickets are still available at Windows Doors and More. Pending availability, some should be available at Grace Point Church Saturday.

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