In the late 1970s, Patty Banker of rural Thorndike, Maine was writing a novel, longhand. She said she needed to free the characters yammering in her head; they wanted out. She knew where she wanted to go with it. The Church at Farewell’s Corner would be a family saga set in the 1890s, and its fictional characters would live, argue, and reconcile in a tiny town oddly reminiscent of Thorndike. Much of the story would center around the town’s small church.
I met Patty in 1980 when she was 42. I arrived in Thorndike as the new pastor at the Congregational Church. She and her husband Dick had me over for dinner. Dick new I was a published author and mentioned over dinner that Patty was writing a novel. He asked if I’d look at it. I agreed to, and Patty entrusted me with the hand-written copy of her novel-in-progress. I critiqued it positively; it showed promise. Her characters were solid and the story line was good.
But I moved to Vermont two years later and life got busy for Patty. She took on church committee jobs, headed the women’s group, sang in the choir, went through the various Grange offices, was elected to town positions, cared for her aging parents, and successfully raised a son (and her husband Dick). The novel went into a drawer and into hibernation for almost 40 years.
But in January 2017, thanks to the latest print-on-demand technology (Create Space website/publishing platform), the novel came out of hibernation. Because I now teach Create Space for seniors in Florida, I was able to help Patty’s younger sister Jacquie Ludden negotiate the Create Space system; Jacquie typed the original manuscript as a Microsoft Word document, I created the cover, and Jacquie agreed to be “the publisher.” We started the project around New Year’s Day and by the third week in January The Church at Farewell’s Corner was for sale on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Belfast, Maine’s Republican-Journal was the first local newspaper to tell the story, and more are climbing aboard.
This week first-time novelist Patty Banker, at age 79 1/2, did her first book-signing (appropriately) at, where else, the The Church at Farewell’s Corner – I mean, at the Thorndike Congregational Church.
That’s the Thorndike Church on the book’s cover (an historical picture, because the church recently burned and had to be rebuilt).
The book is a $10 paperback. It’s also available as a Kindle ebook. The sisters (author and publisher) will soon begin listening to audition tapes from voice artists vying to record the novel as an Audible audio book.
For anyone wanting to learn about the Create Space print-on-demand publishing platform the sisters used, check http://www.createspace.com (set up a free account) or read about how to set up a free account and use the system in the guidebook, Publish Your Book Free, on AMazon.com. It won a 2017 Florida Book Festival Award (silver) for Best How-to Book.