An avid knitter, coffee junkie and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. An enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women's issues, and writing. Visit her website at www. alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com. .
So to start things off I asked Allie to tell us a story that begins with my favourite question. Life hasn't been quite the same since... The hitch is that the story must be about a trip. Of course the story could be anything from a journey around the world to a journey to the corner store. I have to admit that Allie had a unique and inspiring reply to my oft-asked question.
Life hasn't been quite the same since...Italy
Thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation, my family and I went to Italy this summer. I used to think Make a Wish was only a last hurrah for terminal patients, but when my son was diagnosed with cancer, I learned they support any child facing any life-threatening illness. As such, Italy became my son's "victory lap" for getting to a successful remission.
It was the first time abroad for all of us, and a huge life lesson, post-cancer prize aside. On our eight day cruise through Rome, Naples, Florence, and Barcelona, we learned several surprising things:
1) Fun is a choice. Some parts of this trip went exceedingly wrong. We left in a tornado, had hideous flights, and did most of Italy without our luggage. I laughed "it's hard to botch a free trip to Europe, but we tried." Never before have I had to work so hard to cling to the bright side, to not let the bad stuff out of our control taint the good stuff right in front of our faces.
2) We're not as cool as we think we are. As Americans, we tend to think of ourself as the global cool dudes. Standing in a breathtaking gazillion-year-old cathedral, that mindset falls flat. We took the time to do some research, to try and understand the cultures we were visiting. This made for the golden moment when my children recognized the difference between "tourist" and "traveler". There's no better way to understand your place in the world than to be standing in a foreign country and find yourself inching away from a U.S. citizen who embodies everything America ought not to stand for.
3) Adventure is as much on the inside as it is on the outside. There's a reason my new tagline is: The adventure starts right where you are. Our "victory lap" had to be as big and awesome as cancer is dark and scary--that's the whole philosophy behind Make a Wish. I've embraced this "counterbalance" strategy in many areas of life since that time.
My Falling for the Fireman characters Jeannie and Chad embrace the same philosophy. Jeannie celebrates by nature--she's an unsinkable optimist until now. So much so, in fact, that she refuses to even look at the darkness threatening her son. Chad, on the other hand, has spent so much time dwelling in darkness that he's lost the value of celebration. He's lost sight of how those around him can give the victory lap he needs to release himself out of survival mode.
Chad and Jeannie, like true lovers everywhere, become what each other needs most. How they get there, like good stories everywhere, is more than a bit complicated. I hope their story takes you on an adventure that changes you for sharing it.
Falling For The Fireman
Harlequin Love Inspired February 2012
Back Cover Copy:
There's something achingly familiar about the look in fire marshal Chad Owen's eyes. Widowed mom Jeannie Nelworth knows firsthand what it is: loss, hurt and yes--bitterness. Ever since the fire that changed their lives, Jeannie's young son has borne that same look, pushing everyone away. So she's grateful when Chad tries to get through to the boy with the help of his trusty station dog.
But the man who's all about safety and prevention keeps himself protected--from loving and losing again. Seems as if Jeannie will have to add his kind, guarded heart to her rebuilding efforts.
Click here for an excerpt from Falling for the Fireman.
Questions? Comments? I know I have a dozen for Allie but for now I'm turning it all over to Allie. Remember - every commenter is entered for a chance to win a signed copy of
Falling for the Fireman. Ryshia