Message From The Author

Wendy Markham

Genre: Paranormal, Historical Romance

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Author's Message

A Mother's Gift

Wendy Markham on the Bittersweet Inspiration for Her December
Time-Travel Romance

In the past few years, I've watched my mother and my mother-in-law, both
in their early 60s, fight breast cancer. Though both battles ended in heartbreak for our family, modern drugs bought my two moms time to celebrate more wedding anniversaries, to see their children marry, to meet their grandchildren.

Last December, grieving the fresh loss of my mother -- the embodiment of joyful holiday spirit -- I was compelled to write a Christmas time-travel romance. Inspired by Mom's infallible courage and fervent hope, I created its heroine, Clara, and a plot that's simultaneously poignant, whimsical and uplifting.

Newly diagnosed with breast cancer, Clara travels back to early December 1941, when an unwitting America was poised on a precarious threshold -- just as Clara is with her disease. There, she falls in love with a soldier she knows is doomed to die in the impending war. She's powerless to change his fate even if she stays with him in the past -- and she'll lose access to life-saving drugs that can alter her own. But how can she leave behind the man she loves?

My beloved agent, Laura Blake Peterson, sent out the manuscript regardless of the traditionally "unmarketable" elements, warning me that the industry had ground to its annual holiday halt and we wouldn't hear anything until at least January. The next day, I traveled with my husband and children to spend our first holiday in my hometown without my mom. As I walked into my strangely barren childhood home, it hit me: Never again would my mom be waiting with homemade cutout cookies, impeccably decked halls and the perfect gift chosen especially for me out of maternal love. I broke down ... and then the phone rang.

Within 24 hours of submitting If Only in My Dreams -- and just a few days before Christmas -- my agent had an offer from Laura Cifelli at Signet, where I had never before been published. Against all odds, two angelic Lauras and the industry powers-that-be had miraculously pulled together an overnight deal. And I knew
that I had just received one last heavenly Christmas gift from someone dear -- someone who wasn't so far away after all.

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