Monday, September 28, 2009

A Dream Come True

I'm so excited!!! Last Thursday I was able to pick up my new book, An Angel on Main Street. This is truly a dream come true and let me explain why.

I first started writing on this book over fifteen years ago. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love everything about Christmas. I love making Christmas cookies, decorating the tree and watching Christmas movies. A couple of my favorites are: It's a Wonderful Life with James Stewart and Donna Reed, The Bishop's Wife with Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young, The Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood, White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I could go on and on. I grew up watching those movies and so have my children. Those movies seemed to suspend real life and gave me hope that no matter how bad things were it would all turn out. It has long been a dream of mine to write such a story.

I wanted my story set in the fifties in a small rural town. I spent my childhood in Rigby, Idaho during this time period so I had a pretty good grasp of how it was. My father owned a Firestone store (b&w picture of his store front at Christmas to the right) and our family lived in an apartment above it. I remember as a child standing at the living room window and gazing down on Main Street. In those days the freeway had not been built, so there was a constant stream of diesels, trucks and cars driving through our small town. Christmastime seemed magically, for the street below would be blanketed with snow and Christmas decorations would light up the night. In the middle of the main intersection a huge Christmas tree would be put up and stand guardian over us. Santa Claus would arrive in town on a fire engine and give everyone a small bag of treats: an orange, plenty of salt water taffy, and peanuts. At the side of grocery stores, freshly-cut pine trees were for sale. I remember walking past and breathing in their wonderful woodsy scent. A big deal in my family was putting up the tree. I was always in charge of decorating the bottom. I yearned to be given a bigger job. My mother had one huge red ball that she would save for last. She would find the most perfect spot to hang it from. And when all the ornaments were hung, she would spend days putting icicles on each and every evergreen bough. (Picture of me and my older sister.)
In my adult years I wanted to capture all those precious moments and put them in a story. So I started writing a Christmas book. I was able to weave many of those bygone scenes into this short novel. I was so hopeful my book would sell. I mean, doesn't everyone love a good Christmas story? Well, the rejections came. But it didn't stop me. I would read what they had to say, agree or disagree and then put the story away until the next Christmas when I'd drag it out again, revamp it and hope for a miracle. Fifteen years is a pretty long time. And there were some years I missed sending it out. One year I wrote it into a screenplay. I even took a class at the college about screenplay writing. I remember the class so well.

Most were young college students, but there were a few older women like myself. For the final we had to give a pitch to the class about our screenplay. We were divided into two groups. It would take two class periods to hear them all. I was to be in the second group. I remember sitting there listening to that first group. Every one seemed to be pitching adult screenplays with murder and mayhem in the balance. And here I had this very simple little Christmas story. I was so concerned, that I stayed after and asked my teacher if I should do a different one. He looked right at me and said, "Kathi, you took this class for this story so present it."
I was so nervous that I baked a batch of Christmas sugar cookies to take and give to my classmates. I figured if they didn't like the story, at least they would like the cookies. The next night came. My turn was up. I passed out the cookies and then started my pitch. The class was unusually quiet. I remember thinking, oh my stars this is so bad that they don't know what to say or think. As I came to the end of my pitch, I heard someone blow their nose. I looked up and one of my classmates was wiping a tear from her eye. When I finished my teacher slammed his hand on the desk and said, "That's the best pitch I've ever heard." I about fell to the floor.

This showed me that indeed I did have a good story. So the next Christmas I once again tried to sell the book. Still I received rejections. Finally I realized what the problem was. I rewrote the beginning and sent it to my publisher. They loved it!

And so this Christmas instead of reworking my little Christmas story, I can find it at a book store. A dream come true!!!

6 comments:

  1. OOOOOH! I LOVE Christmas books! It is the one thing I treat myself to every year, is a few nice Christmas books to put me in the spirit. And I will let you in on a little secret... I am working on finishing a Christmas CD in the next five weeks. It is my "top secret" project ;-)

    I will be looking for your book. Congratulations!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, how cool is that...a Christmas CD! Please let me know when it is available. By the way, I'm still spreading the word about your magic bread. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations!!!

    The story of your success brings a tear to my eye. You deserve this moment of happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Carolyn! I don't know if I deserve it or not, but it sure is nice.:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good for you for hanging in there. I never knew that story. It's nice to see a happy ending once in a while!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks! I'm so grateful for my publisher. Thanks for stopping by Nikki.

    ReplyDelete

Linkwithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails