Dear Ellen and Portia,
I hope this letter reaches you–somehow–some way– before Christmas. Last year this time, we debated about sending a copy of my book, True North, to you via Santa at the North Pole; however, my five year old said, “Mom, if you want this to go to Ellen, just send it to her straight. Santa is busy with children and toys and maybe doesn’t have time for your book.” She was right, and so we sent this out to you in Ellen Land with love from New Hampshire. Twice. Now you and Portia can each have your own copy.
So, I’m shamelessly using my children’s photo in front of this year’s Christmas tree, dreaming of a holiday miracle, that this letter with these little hands holding copies of their mom’s FIRST ever published book, will reach your eyes. We are your people, Ellen, and you would love us– the 42 year old mom trying to do right by her children, working as a high school English teacher, but also trying to pursue her own dreams of becoming a well known writer. You would also love my husband, Geoff, paralyzed when he was 25 in a snowmobile accident, making his living as a professional skier and director of a non- profit organization Eastern Adaptive Sports. He helps people with physical or cognitive disabilities find their passion for life again through sport. You would love to know our kiddos were conceived through in vitro fertilization, and we donated our remaining 10 embryos to help other families like ours to become parents.
Here’s the thing; I’d like to kick off 2017 by writing another book, but I can’t without your help. I need more people to read True North and so that a publishing company or literary agent, with my best interest at heart, will contact me with the words: “Heather Krill, we would like to represent you on your next book.” My first book was written after I’d received a Rotary grant for teachers wishing to pursue a professional dream, and the draft was a living, breathing Google document, which my current students were able to read and comment and critique as it was in process.
The back cover of this realistic fiction novel, True North reads: “Andrew and Elizabeth have been able to have two children thanks to the help of in vitro fertilization, and now they have decided to make their remaining ten embryos available for adoption by others. Their choice creates ripples through the lives of their two children, Michelle and Stephen, and of two others born from their embryos, Caroline and Brian, who were transferred as embryos to a lesbian couple. Set between the White Mountains and seacoast of New Hampshire, these four teenagers discover by accident that they are siblings. When Caroline develops pediatric leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant, her mothers must search for the family whose embryos they had selected from a fertility clinic sixteen years earlier. The tragic illness draws the two families together, bringing to light a secret that has been hidden for years. Over the course of one school year, the young characters and their parents navigate depression, substance abuse, developing sexuality, homophobia, chronic illness, and suicide. They represent only part of the complexity comprising today’s modern family, with each member in search of his or her true north. This novel tells a tale of four teenagers struggling with the different challenges of youth as well as the uncommon revelation of their origin and relationships as genetic siblings.”
Fascinating, right? And so, this is why my family would so appreciate you and Portia, or just you, or even just Portia, taking a few hours to read my book, a mere 192 pages. Teenagers and old people alike have told me the situations in the novel have left them thinking long after they’ve finished reading. And in a world, like ours today, where uncertainty and fear and sometimes, sadly, even hatred, fill our news feeds, True North is a little nugget of hope and goodness and a glimmer of all that is possible for families overcoming different kinds of challenges. You LOVE little nuggets of hope. You would LOVE this book, and you, too, would really do anything to help someone like me write another one; I know this much to be true, Ellen.
I also believe in the Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation, which means I know someone, who knows someone, who maybe went to college with your cousin, or maybe slept with that person’s sister, who once did an internship on your show and then recommended a babysitter to one of your marketing people. See that. I’ve lost track of how many degrees that was, but I know this letter will reach your hands before Christmas.
May this holiday season be filled with laughter and love– Ellen and Portia, thank you for the light you bring into this world. Best wishes for a Happy New Year.
Love, Heather Ehrman Krill