Fenton — Susan’s mother and grandmother both met the love of their lives when they were dressed up as Santa Claus. Is Suzanne destined for the same fate? That’s the main question in Viola Shipman’s latest novel, “A Wish for Winter,” written by internationally bestselling author Wade Rouse.
The author, who writes under her grandmother’s name, talked about her latest book at a sold-out book signing at The Laundry Room on Thursday, November 3. He was invited by the Fenton Art & Cultural Commission. Karen Piacentini, owner of Fenton’s Open Book, contacted the author and helped organize the event. Entrants pre-ordered the book and purchased his other novels through Fenton’s Open Book. It was the first event he did for this book, which he described as an Emily Henry romantic comedy with deeper issues.
After writing nearly 10 women’s fiction books, her latest is about a 40-year-old independent bookseller named Susan Norcross.
“In the small town of Petoskey, Susan’s mother and grandmother both met their future husbands while he was dressed as Santa Claus. The whole town felt it was her destiny, she feels like it was her curse, to meet a man in exactly the same way,” he said.
Susan is also the same age as her mother when she died, and she can’t help but think of all the things she didn’t accomplish. Her friend forces her to attend the 10k Santa Run in Chicago where everyone is dressed as Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus.
Susan meets a guy at the start of the race and they have an instant connection. He tells her to meet her at a bar in Chicago, but he doesn’t show up.
“Behind her back, her bookstore workers and best friends decide to fix her and try to find this guy. So they started a social media dating site called Single Kringle,” he said. “She goes on all these random dates, but the deepest part of the book is that she never really really liked herself.”
All of Rouse’s books are set in Michigan. He and his husband travel to Michigan, which he says has “breathtaking scenes” and “quirky stories.”
“To me, this is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking geographical locations – and I’m not just talking about the scenery, I’m also talking about the people – that I have ever seen in my life,” he said. -he declares.
Rouse began his writing career as a journalist and memoir author. Every book he writes is inspired by a memory. The inspiration behind “A Wish for Winter” was finding a Sears wish book in her husband’s mother’s house. He said it was a “knee-breaking moment” because his grandmother couldn’t afford to buy many things for the family when he was younger.
Rouse lives near Saugatuck in a knotty pine log home, which he says is the closest replica of his grandparents’ log cabin. He grew up spending his summers with his grandparents. He chose his grandmother’s name as his pen name because of the influence she had on his life. He described her as one of his best friends when he was growing up.
“My grandmother never finished high school. My grandmother never learned to drive and she worked every day in an overalls sewing factory,” he said. “My grandfather, in the oldest mining town in the southwest, was a natural ore miner… My grandparents were everything to me growing up.”
Grandma Shipman always had books on her hands and volunteered at the local library.
“She always made me feel like the most important special person in the world,” he said. “My grandmother is the one who taught me to have a passion for what you do and what you love.”
He decided to write female heirloom novels using his grandmother’s name and moved from non-fiction to fiction.
“I felt like I had to make sense of my life. I was 47, but I just figured it out,” he said. “It was, I think, a while ago. eight novels.”
Rouse said there aren’t enough books about the good people who were continually knocked down but continue to forge themselves every day.
“A Wish for Winter” premieres November 15 and is available for pre-order. Her next Christmas novel is set in Frankenmuth and her next summer novel is set in Mackinac.
Rouse praised independent booksellers and Karen Piacentini, owner of Fenton’s Open Book.
“If you don’t know the beauty of having an independent bookseller in your community, know how blessed you are. It is a rare gift as they are the heart, soul and spirit of our communities,” he said.
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