Rikk Dunlap, who works at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, chose writing to help heal his soul. His novel is now a Hallmark Christmas movie starring Jesse Metcalf.

One of the most popular tips given to writers is to write what you know. For 57-year-old Rikk Dunlap, alcoholism, recovery and job loss were the negative forces driving life. Those weren't the things that Rikk wanted to write about. He wanted to write about things that made him feel good. He found that in writing a story centered around one of his favorite childhood Christmas-time memories, the Christmas tree popup shop on Sauk Trail in Richton Park. It's in the main character's struggles that we see more of the darkness that Rikk shattered in order to start letting the light in.

Rikk Dunlaps story is inspiring and serves as a great reminder that we all have something we can offer another person. Read more at ChicagoTribune.com.

Rikk's The Christmas Tree Lot, was recently made into a movie, renamed Christmas Under the Stars, by the Hallmark Channel. The movie stars Jesse Metcalfe and Autumn Reeser. Catch the premiere at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 as part of the Hallmark Channel’s 10th Anniversary Countdown to Christmas series.