Image credit: Serenity Media Group
Christie Hsiao decided she needed to take her fate into her own hands. The Taiwanese-born UCLA grad, Pepperdine MBA and movie producer had started a Hollywood production company, Serenity Media Group, in 2010, in order to pursue her dream of telling positive, life-affirming stories through film. But she had grown frustrated by the long and unpredictable life cycle of movies, and disappointed at seeing too many deals fall apart. So she decided to place her fate more directly in her own hands by writing a novel.
After years of investments in film projects with famous Hollywood producers, Christie felt dismayed that the people she was funding weren't fulfilling their obligations or doing what they said they would do. In early 2013 she set aside all the challenges of wrangling other people with their conflicting agendas, to instead pursue her own creative endeavor where she could escape all the Hollywood dysfunction and come back to her original plan of bringing positive storytelling and happiness to audiences.
With a fresh sense of clarity and determination, she set out to write an ambitious YA fantasy novel with the title Journey to Rainbow Island.
None of her schooling or business experience had prepared her for this new creative challenge, but she knew the task would take discipline, dedication and hard work. She set aside all her other commitments and her social life to write for 14 hours a day, seven days a week. Her ensuing eight-month journey of creativity, sweat and tears culminated in a 385-page adventure story that was published less than a year after she first put pen to paper.
Journey to Rainbow Island tells the story of a girl, Yu-ning, who comes from a world without jealousy, judgment, anger or conflict, but who is forced to venture out on a quest to find seven sacred crystals on her island. The book tells the story of how Yu-ning becomes empowered through her conquest and positive transformation of the dark souls she encounters.
Christie’s goal for the book was to inspire kids and adults of all ages with a positive story. This fit perfectly with her longer-term business aspiration to bridge east and west and promote mutual understanding across language and cultural barriers around the world.
Released in November 2013, the book became a New York Times bestseller just three weeks after its debut. Speaking invitations ensued and in early 2014 she began a series of book tours at schools and retail outlets around North America, Europe and Asia. Among the highlights were her numerous speeches to audiences ranging from 500 to 5,000 kids, in which she spoke about the book’s positive messages regarding following one's heart, believing in oneself, pursuing one's dreams.
As the book’s success grew, the project came full circle back to Christie’s original focus on entertainment. She forged a partnership with MBC, a top three Korean broadcaster, with plans to produce a stage musical and TV series in Korea, and also to extend the entire media franchise to mainland China. A film adaptation of the book is in the works, and Christie has commenced a book sequel that she expects to publish in 2017. Journey to Rainbow Island has steadily grown into a global, multi-platform franchise
Going forward, Christie will continue to create, to consult and assist writers to publish their books and adapt them into films, and to work with filmmakers by co-financing and co-producing movies and TV programs.
As she says of herself, “Working for children is very important to me. I’d like to continue to create positive, entertaining, joyful media that inspires love, hope and understanding.”