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December 26, 2010

Books and the Holidays: Linda Francis Lee on the Day After Christmas

Posted by Anonymous
LindaFrancisLee.jpgLinda Francis Lee --- the Texas debutante turned bestselling author of 19 internationally published novels, including THE EX-DEBUTANTETHE DEVIL IN THE JUNIOR LEAGUE and the forthcoming EMILY AND EINSTEIN --- reveals what books and the holidays really mean to her…and shares the touching story of why she’ll always remember the day after Christmas.
When people talk about books and the holidays, they talk about sugar plum fairies and Tiny Tim, not to mention a story about a pair of tortoiseshell combs and an infamous haircut that made the combs unusable. By the time I was 20, I had read them all, had even spent a lifetime making up stories in my head. But I had given no thought to writing a book of my own. In college, I wrote an article for a class, entitled “There Is No Finish Line” and inspired by a Nike poster of the same title, about the joys and dedication of running. I was thrilled when the article was published, but at the time, I was more interested in (Read: relieved by) the A I received than in the thought that this could lead to anything more. 
After I graduated and got married, I moved back to west Texas with my husband and started seeing the land I had grown up in through the eyes of history books. Newly married, we didn't have a lot of extra spending money. As a result, I went to the library to read everything I could get my hands on that brought to life the men and women who came to the area, first in hopes of finding the Fountain of Youth, and then to carve out a hardscrabble existence in the river valley that had cut through the rugged, southernmost tip of the Rocky Mountains. Let me just say that west Texas in the early 1600s wasn't a land for lightweights. Reading the accounts of these people, I admired the men and women who risked so much to leave everything they knew behind and start a new life. I loved the idea of being fearless. And when a story of my own started brewing, it was my husband who told me to go for it. It was my husband who told me to be fearless --- whether it was about running my first marathon or writing a novel. And it was my husband who, for Christmas, gave me the very expensive gift of Paul Horgan's two-volume hardcover edition of GREAT RIVER: The Rio Grande in North American History.
So when I am asked about books and the holidays, I think of my husband, who I married the day after Christmas, a man who, a year later on Christmas Day, gave me books that helped me launch my own writing career --- books that, in their own way, gave me a foundation when we picked up a lifetime of roots in Texas and moved to the northeast and New York City. When I think of books and the holidays, I don't think of A CHRISTMAS CAROL or “The Gift of the Magi.” I think of Texas and perseverance and someone believing in me. Most of all, I think of the man I married, who all these years later has given me a gift that helps me to be fearless.
Because we know that you still haven’t had enough of it, the Holiday Author Blogs are offering readers another extra helping of holiday cheer again tomorrow, as Carolyn Hart and Robert Barclay each reflect on Christmas presents past --- and the places where these gifts have led them.