The original title of my last novel, Fallen Women, was Holladay Street. Holladay was the Denver street where most of the city’s 19th century brothels were located. After my agent read the manuscript, she phoned me and said, “You have to change the title. Your readers are going to think this is a Christmas book.” A week later, she called again and suggested, “Why don’t you write a Christmas book–a Christmas quilt book?”
Easy for you to say, I thought. What would I write about? For me, coming up with a plot is the most difficult part of writing a book.
Not long after that, I had lunch with a writer friend, a Jewish man who obviously didn’t celebrate Christmas and probably couldn’t thread a needle. “Come up with a plot for a Christmas quilt book,” I joked.
He thought a minute. “What if a woman makes a quilt for her husband, a soldier in Iraq? The soldier dies…” and the plot spilled out.
I couldn’t write about Iraq, I told him, but I could set the story in the Civil War. So with some changes and refinements, that lunchtime scenario became A Quilt for Christmas. I don’t think I even picked up the lunch tab.
A Quilt for Christmas
BY SANDRA DALLAS
The Civil War, 1864: Eliza Spooner’s husband, Will, has joined the Kansas Volunteers to fight for the Union. Confident that he will return home, Eliza helps pass the time by making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter months. When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie among the women of her quilting group. And when she is asked to help hide an escaped slave, she must decide for herself what is right and whom she can count on to help her.