Title: Mail-Order Groom
Author: Cindy Flores Martinez
Release date: February, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour: Irresistible Reads Book Tours
Mail-Order Groom, a debut romantic comedy novel by Cindy Flores Martinez, was inspired by the author’s own Polish ancestry and is based on her screenplay and movie project of the same title, which she shopped around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world.
A story about an American woman who marries a stranger from Poland after her fiancé leaves her right before the wedding.
At 25, Lisa is about to marry her first real love and have the wedding of her dreams, but her world is shattered when she finds her fiancé, Jeff, in the arms of another woman. When he calls the wedding off, Lisa is heartbroken, but her heartache turns to anger when she sees him in town the next day with the other woman.
In a momentary lapse of reason, Lisa decides to marry another man at the wedding. She finds Krzysztof Zielinski from Poland on Mail-Order-Grooms.Com. He needs to marry an American woman so that he can stay in America, and he’s willing to pay money for it, but his reason for needing to stay is what tugs at Lisa’s heart and convinces her to say “I do” to him. Besides, green card marriages are easy, right? They’re short-lived and not real. She won’t even have to live with him. And marrying another man would be the perfect revenge on Jeff.
Lisa races to the altar with her stand-in groom, but she struggles with the guilt of deceiving her parents and facing her confused wedding guests. And then she learns that she does have to live with Krzysztof. She wakes up the next morning hoping it was all just a bad dream.
How will she handle the dilemma she has gotten herself into?
How Mail-Order Groom Became a Novel
By Cindy Flores Martinez
Before my debut novel Mail-Order Groom was ever a book, it was a screenplay and movie project. My journey to bring this story to life was a long and difficult one, full of twists and turns, which eventually led me to a new career altogether.
The idea for Mail-Order Groom came to me in 2006 when I was looking through a website about Poland, and I came across an interesting discussion about Polish men who marry for green cards. I had been an aspiring screenwriter for some time, and I was always searching for movie ideas. That day, my imagination ran wild. I thought of a story about Lisa, an American woman, who marries Krzysztof, a stranger from Poland for money. Two weeks later, I had written a screenplay.
A friend told me that he could film a movie for me in the small town where he lived with the new camera equipment he had just bought. All I needed was to raise some funds. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity, so I reworked the story to reflect his location, and I sought a Polish actor, Jakub Haczkiewicz from Chicago’s famous Second City, to portray the lead character. But after I showed the screenplay to friends in the movie business, they urged me to aim for a higher budget and set my sights on Hollywood. They said Mail-Order Groom could be a blockbuster hit. Despite my lack of experience, I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose?
Over the next two years, I lived the life of a part-time aspiring independent movie producer. I wrote business plans, created budgets, reached out to co-producers, directors, and sought funding from all over the world, including Poland. It was all so exciting. Jakub was there through the whole experience. I eventually hired a casting director who found two actors to portray Lisa’s parents. He was nominated for an Academy Award, and she had a major role in a popular Steven Spielberg film.
A second casting director arranged for me to show the screenplay to a famous director. It was a hot summer day in 2008 when I made my way through the dense traffic on a busy street in Los Angeles toward the major talent agency where her business partner worked. I was a nervous wreck as I rode the elevator to the seventh floor and handed my prized possession to the guy at the front desk. The director was going to read my screenplay and decide if she wanted to direct it. Well, time went by, and my casting director and I never heard from them. We finally received an email that said the director had “enjoyed” the script, but there was no definite decision to direct the movie. The whole thing was left sort of hanging.
Despite my continued hard work and tireless efforts, my plans went nowhere. I had learned that you can’t get funding, even the smallest amount, if you’re unknown in the business. I didn’t know what to do, but I still had a story to tell. I didn’t want to let it just fade to black. That’s when I decided to turn Mail-Order Groom into a novel. I soon discovered that screenwriting and fiction writing are two entirely different beasts.
Personally, I find writing novels far more difficult than writing screenplays because there is so much more involved, but it’s also far more liberating. Screenwriting has rules and limits, but your creativity can run wild and free on the blank pages of a book. I fell in love with writing fiction, and I have many more stories brewing in my mind that I want to bring to life.
I learned through my experience that you can never give up on your dreams. Sometimes you think they have died and that nothing can ever repair them, but it might actually be the beginning of something better.
About the Author:
My name is Cindy Flores Martinez. I was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. I have an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. I have been a screenwriting instructor, screenplay consultant, script reader, and screenplay collaborator. My debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, which was inspired by my own Polish ancestry, started out as a screenplay and movie project. I spent years shopping it around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world and had two well-known actors, one of them Academy Award nominated, interested in portraying the lead character’s parents. After not finding the success I wanted, I officially canceled my film production company in November of 2009 and embarked on the journey of turning my screenplay into a novel.