“When Calls The Heart” showrunner, Lindsay Sturman, answered some fan questions for season 10 of the Hallmark series in an exclusive interview with Daily Planet.
Known for the series “Supergirl,” “Teen Wolf” and “NCIS:Los Angeles,” Lindsay just wrapped up her freshman season on “When Calls The Heart” and is currently working on season 11.
Daily Planet– What can we expect for “Nathan” moving forward as far as his Mountie work and being a dad to “Allie”?
Lindsay Sturman– “Allie” is growing up, she’s almost an adult in many ways but still she’s “Nathan’s” daughter and “Nathan” is navigating that – and we get to see it unfold in Season 11.
DP– The “Henry Gowan” redemption arc was so powerful. How did you feel getting to see that afterward and hearing about the impact it’s had for people?
LS– “Henry Gowen” is one of the greatest characters on television – with his epic arc starting in Season 1 from villain to hero, fighting for “Hope Valley”. The scene in Season 9 when “Henry” prays with “Joseph” in jail is one of the most moving moments in television – and was one of the many reasons I want to work on the show. It felt like there was more to the story. “Henry” has gone from villain, to realization, to remorse, to seeking redemption – and that journey has bumps.
We were so blown away by the scenes and Martin’s (Cummings) performance – and it’s been so incredible to hear the response. On the Heart to Hearties podcast, of the top 10 scenes from Season 10, the top 1,2 and 3 were scenes with “Henry Gowen”– singing to “Goldie”, sitting with “Elizabeth” under the stars, and the scenes with “Henry” and “Rosaleen”, and “Henry” joining her in the Church.
DP– Will we be seeing Lucas on screen much for season 11?
LS- Yes! And he’s amazing!
DP– Did you have a favorite episode this season?
LS– That’s so hard. I loved the choir so much. The black tie ball was also amazing – so maybe a tie between Episode 8 and Episode 10?
DP– Do you have a favorite character to write for?
LS– That’s impossible! There are about 20! I just love everything about “Elizabeth” – her teaching, her helping her community and her wisdom, the comedy – especially with “Rosemary”, and her heartfelt scenes, like the scene with “Rosemary” late at night – when she says “I really like knowing you can see my light on.”
DP– How do you determine what the main story arc for the season will be?
LS– We start with where the previous season ended – what are the cliffhangers, what was left as a hanging thread. It gives us jumping off points – like “Henry” blowing up the mine at the end of Season 9. And we also know there will be a villain, and something threatening “Elizabeth” or the town. We think about who the characters are and where their stories are leading us – the characters often lead the writers.
DP– Did you know from the start of season 10 that the engagement would be broken off, or did that kind of organically happen as the season went along?
LS– We assumed we would be planning a very different season. We sat down and started to work on the entire arc of the season, and we got deeper into the characters and who they are and where their journeys would go, it felt that the direction of the story changed. We thought long and hard about it and gave it a great deal of consideration and care – but felt this was a story that followed who these characters are. And once the story arc is laid out, then we sit down and write the scripts.
DP– Nathan fans have waited 5 years to see him in a relationship. Could that happen in season 11?
LS- I think lots could happen in Season 11.
DP– The episode title “What is and What Should Never Be”….what does that mean?
LS– It touches on “Bill”, as well as “Henry” and “Rosaleen”, and “Montague” and the mystery of what is happening on the land, and “Elizabeth’s” loss of “Jack”, along with finding your true path in life.
DP– Congrats on a wonderful S10- I am interested in knowing how do writers plan and write S11 without confirmation of a S12 – where do you leave the story at the end of a season creatively without knowing if it’ll continue?
LS– It’s so hard, so we just write hoping for the best. The fans have made WCTH the #1 scripted show on basic cable and the writers believe it is one of the best shows on TV – so we are just hoping it goes for 10 more seasons.
DP- We saw lots of special moments between “Nathan” and “Allie” in S10. Is there a chance we will get to see more of their father/daughter bond explored in S11? Especially, with the unresolved feelings “Nathan” and “Elizabeth” seemingly have for one another.
LS– Refer back to question number 1.
DP– Will we see more character development with “Fiona”, “Mei”, and “Molly”? Three fabulous characters, but without too much screen time or character growth this season. Would love to see more of them in S11.
LS– I totally agree. We get to see a lot more character exploration – but mostly we wish we had more time and more episodes – we could have twice as many and still not be able to tell all the stories we want to!
DP– First, please thank her for the amazing season s10! I haven’t watched all the interviews so this may have been asked already. I heard she took time to watch past seasons and read one of the books. 1. Is that accurate? 2. Did that have any impact on the writing decisions for s10 & s11?
LS– Yes, and thank you! I sat down to watch a few episodes before I met with the producers to interview for the job – and I ended up binging the entire 9th season. And after I got the job, I read the first book – and it is so heartfelt and kind, and I have been lucky enough to meet Janette Oke, and I think her goodness permeates everything we do, and inspires us to tell kind stories.
DP– Do you have a favorite place on the set?
LS– I love the Saloon.