The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.
But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.
Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.
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My Thoughts on the book:
Annie’s Stories is well crafted. Cindy Thompson has done a great job with the details of setting and characters. You will walk away feeling as though you have experienced a bit of the times and have come to know the people in Annie’s life.
Set during the time when Ellis Island welcomed many from distant places, when the Wonderful Wizard of Oz first became popular, Annie’s search for belonging mirrors Dorothy’s own struggle to find a place called home.
You will cheer her own as she uncovers secrets, confronts her past and bravely faces her future.
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An Interview with the Author
Have you always been a writer? If not, what was your previous occupation? No, not professionally anyway. I’ve also loved making up stories. I’ve been writing for publication for about 15 years. I was a teacher–kindergarten and preschool–and gave that up in 2003. I still teach in one way, however. I mentor students in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? I just heard this question asked on the radio to an ex baseball player who was doing play by play. I liked his answer so I’ll borrow it in part. He said in the future he knew he would get to meet Jesus, so that wasn’t his answer although it’s who he’d most like to meet. Then he said General Custer, who would not be my pick. I think I’d like to meet Abraham Lincoln. I’d love to know if he really said those things people said he did. He must have been a brilliant man.
Do you have a separate space set up in your home or a favorite place to write/be creative? Yes, I have a fantastic office. It’s the only second floor room in my house reached by a spiral staircase. It looks out over the trees in my yard so it’s like being in a tree house. I have all my books and resources there and it’s my personal space where most of my work gets done.
What advice do you have for others aspiring to publish a book of their own? Don’t get in a hurry to publish. It’s so easy to do now that so many people are rushing to print before their books are ready. It takes time to learn the craft, something people don’t usually like to hear. But if you work hard and allow yourself time to learn the most you can you will end up with a book people want to read. You want only your best out there. It’s a flooded market. Readers aren’t patient with subpar work.
What is your book about? Annie’s Stories is about finding home. Home is where the people you love are, so we are only at home in the hearts of those who love us. Annie believes she’s lost all that and she relates to Dorothy Gale in the “new” book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But while Dorothy wants to go home, Annie knows there is no going back there for her.
Did you plan out the entirety of this story or did some of it evolve as you wrote it? A big part of it did evolve as I wrote, or re-wrote as I should say. I had a major re-write to do on this book basically because I did not plot it out well enough. That is a lesson learned for me. But the basic theme I did know ahead of time. When I proposed it my agent told me it was the best thing I’d written thus far. I do love this story. It was so much fun to write because of its bookish theme. The male protagonist is a voracious reader and I enjoyed exploring what people in 1901 would have been reading.
Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story? Annie’s Stories is book two in the Ellis Island series. Book one, Grace’s Pictures, was published last year. While some of the characters appear in both books, they can be read alone. I do have a start on book three but no publication date.
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Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series.
Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Larry Ritter Book Award.
In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society.
Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com.
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