Local Christina Holbrook plans to sign copies of debut novel ‘All the Flowers of the Mountain’ at Next Page Books & Nosh Sunday
Longtime readers of the Summit Daily News may recognize Christina Holbrook’s name. The Summit County resident penned the “Lark Ascending” column for five years from 2016 to 2020. A native of New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the nonfiction column detailed what it was like to transition to life out West.
Holbrook moved to Summit County in 2014 to be with her now-husband Alan Dulit, who she married in 2018. Holbrook said Dulit was a good friend from high school, but they went their separate ways after graduating. Yet, 35 years later, they started dating long distance.
Now the 61-year-old is drawing on her personal experiences again for her debut fiction novel, “All the Flowers of the Mountain.” The book released Monday, July 4. It tells the story of how Dr. Michael Pearce sees a sculpture by the artist Katherine Morgan, and the pair tries to rekindle a relationship that started when they were teenagers by a lake in New Hampshire.
The book starts in present, moves back in time and then returns to present as it shows how the rural summer was pivotal for both of them. Categorized as women’s fiction, the tale is billed to be enjoyable for fans of Delia Owens and Nicholas Sparks with its family secrets and painful choices.
Holbrook said she’s discovered that both the fictional experience of reuniting and hers happens more frequently than people realize.
“It’s kind of amazing to me how many people in my age group do actually reconnect with someone who they knew when they were younger,” Holbrook said.
“All the Flowers of the Mountain” by Christina Holbrook
Sunroom Studios, May 2022
388 pages, $9.99 for e-book, $21.95 for paperback and $31.95 for hardcover
Available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other retailers
Yet while she is know for her nonfiction — along with dabbling in poetry and short stories — she wanted to write a fictional love story because of its flexibility. Holbrook said the freedom is satisfying as she can address various topics without having the need to be 100% factual.
“You’re creating a world that is your own and characters who come from your imagination and a story that unfolds based on how you imagine it,” Holbrook said.
Writing is a relatively recent pastime for Holbrook. She studied French and political theory at Wellesley College in Massachusetts before working in the publishing industry in New York. Her focus was primarily art books for museums and the like. Then she reached a point where she wanted to pick up the pen herself and be more introspective.
Holbrook’s desire for world-building helped keep her on track during the coronavirus pandemic as she dealt with deadlines more nebulous than her regular newspaper columns.
“Once I had that first draft, I couldn’t let go of this,” Holbrook said “… The more the world became fleshed out, the more it feels like a world you want be in.”
That first draft came in 2018 after about six months of writing. But it took until 2019 for her to get an agent and then she spent the subsequent years in a cycle of revisions and rejections. Shortly after her agent felt like the work was in a good spot to sell to a publisher, Holbrook was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the end of March 2022.
Holbrook is trying to be hopeful but also realistic since it could take two to three years to get on a publisher’s release schedule.
“I didn’t want to wait,” Holbrook said. “I wanted to get things done.”
She had a conversation with Karen Wyatt, publisher at Sunroom Studios in Dillon, to see how it could be expedited. An editor in New York put together a freelance production team while Wyatt focused on distribution to outlets to move the publication to July.
Holbrook is now recovering from chemotherapy and is ready to celebrate the book’s launch. A celebration and book signing will be held from 12:30-3 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at Next Page Books & Nosh 409 Main St, Frisco. Appetizers and beverages will be available.
“Even if it’s not exactly your story, it’s a familiar story of growing up and being confronted with major roadblocks and trying to figure your way around that of making some big mistakes and ultimately finding your way back home again,” Holbrook said.
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