ECPA's Rush To Press

Zondervan signs “Chewbacca Mom” Candace Payne
for multi-book deal

Viral star opens up about journey through poverty, shame and depression; shares her secrets to maintaining joy and embracing freedom in the midst of life’s challenges

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., January 17, 2017 Zondervan announced today the signing of a multi-book deal with Candace Payne, who is frequently referred to as “Chewbacca Mom.” The first book will release November 7, 2017 with a national media and multi-city book signing tour.  Payne shared the news with her fans first in an emotional Facebook Live video from HarperCollins Christian Publishing’s Grand Rapids office.

“I couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Zondervan team,” said Payne. “My hope is that these books will feel like a heartfelt conversation between friends over a good cup of coffee. There’s more to every story than meets the eye. I know what it’s like to feel like a victim of my own life script; to wake up doomed to the day’s challenges and universal dread. The good news is that we can flip this impulse. I can’t wait to share how I’ve learned to embrace freedom, and experience defiant joy regardless of the circumstances surrounding me.”

A stay-at-home mom and church worship leader from Dallas, Payne became a household name when a Facebook Live video of her trying on a Chewbacca mask in her car went viral (165+ million views) and became the most-viewed Facebook Live video in history. Fans were drawn to Payne’s infectious joy and ability to laugh at herself during a silly moment; media and fans alike noted Payne was a bright spot during an otherwise dreary year for news.

After the video went viral, Payne made multiple appearances on a coast-to-coast major media tour. Some of the highlights included participating in a sketch with J.J. Abrams for “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” a personal tour of Lucasfilm headquarters, a visit to Facebook headquarters (photos of which were shared by Mark Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook page) and a trip to Hasbro, where she was presented with a “Chewbacca Mom” action figure.

Payne has more than 800,000 dedicated Facebook followers and recently launched a video series with TLCme, the digital platform for women’s lifestyle cable network TLC.

“Candace Payne captured the world’s attention with her infectious laughter, and we are excited to go behind the mask to share her message of defiant joy,” said David Morris, Vice President & Publisher of Zondervan. “Watching Candace, you would never know her joy has been hard-earned. She is ready to go deeper, to share her heart and soul, the secrets behind her joy and how everyday women can find the same spark in their own lives.”

Zondervan will also release a gift book in Fall 2018, illustrated by Payne, which will take readers on a whimsical journey through the many types of joy, and offer practical tips for improving joy in their own lives.

Stephanie Smith, Acquisitions Editor at Zondervan, acquired the books. Candace Payne is represented by Icon Management Group and Jana Burson of The Christopher Ferebee Agency.

About the Author

Candace Payne is a viral sensation whose Facebook Live video of trying on a Chewbacca Mask became the most-viewed Facebook Live video to date (165+ million views). She has been featured in more than 3,000 media outlets and has interviewed with major media such as “Good Morning America,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” The New York Times, PEOPLE and Cosmopolitan. Candace recently launched a video series with TLCme and her first book will release in the fall of 2017. Candace lives in Texas with her husband, two children, and ornery pug. Connect with Candace online at

Zondervan is a world-leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications.  Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, Mich.  For additional information, please visit


Media Contacts:
Shanon Stowe
Icon Media Group

Paige Collins
Icon Media Group

Robin Barnett