1. The idea for the book came to Natalie when she was visiting Louisiana back in 2005 and stumbled onto a sugar cane farm. That is the premise for the book.
2. A man that Natalie met at that time spent 6 years teaching her about the sugar cane farming business, which she needed in order to make the book realistic.
3. The 1st season, which started last night, will run 13 episodes. And it's already been renewed for season 2!
4. Ava and all of the other directors are women. Ava is breaking down the barriers for female directors in Hollywood.
5. Although a number of changes were made from the book to the TV show, the core principles and values that Natalie wrote about were kept by Ava and crew.
6. The actor who plays Ralph Angel, who is a central figure, asked Natalie on set if there was anything she could tell him about the character to help him with his portrayal.
Natalie told one funny story. She had an opportunity to spend some time with Oprah at her estate in Montecito. After they took a walk, they came back and sat in the study. Oprah's assistant (butler?) asked Natalie what she would like to drink. Natalie, being like the rest of us, said "What do you have?" The assistant looked quizzically at Natalie, hesitated for a moment, and said: "Everything." Natalie's thought was "Of course you have everything."
Natalie was asked if she had advice for new writers. She said 2 things - write every day and follow your passion. That sure sounds like good advice to me.
Okay, here are a few pictures from the event.