The Backstory

The Backstory of this book to movie journey:

In The Beginning:

It was in September of 2011 about a month after our mother’s memorial service in Oakville, Ontario. Mary Margaret Herstad, known as “Margie”, passed at the early age of 73. I awoke in the middle of the night, got up, put on my housecoat and slippers, made my way down stairs to the dining room table. I opened my lap top to look at my mother’s Facebook page. I perused the pictures and comments and then did something that started me on a fascinating journey that has blown my mind. I typed and posted these words on Mom’s page “ A book will be published one day and a movie will be made of this special lady”. I am not sure why I typed that statement. I never thought of myself as a writer. Sure, I have done some poetry at times but never thought I was capable of writing a book. I went back to bed and forgot about it.

As I wrote the above paragraph I became aware of something I should share with you. I am someone who loves sleep. I love my rest. I am a proud mid-day napper and will debate its positive affect on my life with anyone. So when I say that I awoke and got out of bed half way into the night, that, is a big deal.

Read the full story here: Tom Herstad Backstory

Why I knew I had to write 2nd Line West

Many people have already read 2nd Line West and the reviews have been incredibly gratifying. I realize how important it was to write this inspiring book and how it has already helped and offered a new perspective and meaning to so many people.

The Reviews and the personal messages I have received for this inspiring book have made every moment of the journey worthwhile. Even those times when my memories were hard to recall and write about. But most of this writing adventure has been just that; a glorious, engaging and joyful experience which has helped me grow and become even more grateful for all aspects of my life. Here is the introduction:


The first time I saw the house on the country road 2nd Line West, it was the summer of 1971. I was seven years old. This was the place where many lives were changed forever, including my own.

Our father, a busy real estate broker, simply fell in love when he first saw this particular country home during a showing to his clients. Oh no, he could not sell this special place to anyone else. Mom and Dad bought this house as an investment property. They knew our family would call this beautiful place home one day. It was a ranch bungalow, sprawling from left to right, with light-coloured brick and a black roof, sitting in the middle of two acres of land. There was a separate black wood tool shed on the right side of the property, an in-ground pool with diving board at the back left corner, and a pool house with change rooms. An eighty-foot driveway with lush hedges running down each side brought you into the property. The front yard had two large cedar trees, a white birch tree, and a decorative wood structure that covered the well water shaft; it looked like a tiny white house. read more…

The Turtle Path – Dreams Come Alive

What is “The Turtle Path”?

I was in a meeting last month with movie executives. The meeting was to discuss the finalized movie screenplay of my book 2nd Line West which is being made into a motion picture.

I continue feeling humbled to be in the company of such quality professionals. We have Paul Saltzman – director/producer, Tom Schlesinger – screenplay writer, Bob Wertheimer – line producer (takes screenplay and establishes a line by line production budget), our financier Michael, and his wife Laura, my youngest sister Julianne; who wrote the original screenplay for the movie being coached by Tom Schlesinger. My sister has Story Credit for the film. We discussed many topics and one of them was our decision to either take this movie the major motion picture route or to the in-home Netflix, Amazon Prime market.

This is an important decision as it affects many other variables such as:

  • final budget total,
  • the type of actors and actresses we will be able to entice to this project,
  • distribution differences, as well as
  • the competitive landscape

During the discussion I heard the term “The Turtle Path” for the first time. Bob used it while we were discussing the major motion picture market.

When asked what is the “The Turtle Path” Bob said this: “Somewhere in the Caribbean Sea a female adult sea turtle leaves the ocean and crawls up onto the sandy knolls of a beach on a full moon. She digs down with her big flippers as far as she can, lays 100-110 eggs and leaves.

On the next full moon the tiny turtle has to crack the shell and claw its way to the surface, then crawl past the feeding birds of all types towards the light of the full moon which gets the young turtle to the water. (Isn’t nature miraculous!)

If they get to the water, they have to swim as fast and hard and deep as possible past feeding fish of all types. If they do get to the depths of the ocean and become an adult, there is only one sea turtle that gets its picture on the cover of National Geographic.

We are that turtle!

The Major Motion picture industry is full of big money, big names and big relationships”.

As I heard this definition I sat looking out of the backyard window of Paul Saltzman’s home. The view is of Lake Ontario as he backs onto the water. I reflected on how far my sister and I have come on this path; This journey to share our mother’s message with the world.

In our lives there are few times when we have to make a big decision that can involve fear or love, as I believe that is what all decisions boil down to.

The decisions we make in these moments are life affirming.

For me, this is one of those moments, and I will choose love over fear. Especially now, when I know how many times I have already chosen love over fear to get here. I think about how many choices I have already made from that lonely night in September 2011 at 1:30 am when I wrote on my mother’s Facebook page, “There will be a book written about your life that will become a movie one day”, to today, as we move closer to starting shooting our movie.

Imagine a son at 49 years old who wants to write and publish a book about his mother that will become a movie with no knowledge or contacts in either industry. All I can say is that this dream is coming to fruition and I choose the major motion picture route. I look at this journey as though I got onto a steam locomotive train eight years ago that has travelled over many terrains and landscapes and now as we head into the final strides of this project I will be yelling for “More Coal!” all the way in.

John F Kennedy once said this when asked about running for President of the USA, “If not us, Who? And if not now, When?”

This movie market decision for our team is our ‘Who’ and our ‘When’!


The Eagle Within

In a barn somewhere there was a birth.

This baby bird cracked the shell and started life.

He was born into a chicken farm.
He walked with the chickens.
He ate with the chickens.
And he slept with the chickens.
But he never believed he belonged.
He always thought there was something more.

One day he saw a bird flying high above the farm.
It was the most beautiful bird he had ever seen.
He could not take his eyes off this bird.
It soared off across the field.
He continued to walk with the chickens.
Eat with the chickens.
And sleep with the chickens.
But he never forgot the sight he saw that day.

One day he found himself on the top of the barn.
He had made his journey all the way to the top.
From here he could see all the chickens down below.
He looked out over the field and he knew that this day may never come again.
He stared out over the landscape and made his decision.
He realized that this was the moment he was waiting for his whole life.
He closed his eyes and he jumped.
He launched himself out as far as he could.
As he fell towards the ground his wings automatically opened and he took flight!
All the chickens below caused quite a stir watching him.

He swooped down over the crowd and soared back up high above the barn.
There was much commotion as the chickens watched from the ground.
He made one last lap above the chicken farm.
All settled down and the chickens went back too walking together.
To eating together
And to sleeping together.
The Eagle continued his journey across the sky and flew off into the sunset.
There is an Eagle in each and every one of us.

Know this:
The Eagle is our soul and the chickens are the parts of our own personality.

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