Thursday, September 10, 2015

Never Throw a Story Away! Great Advice from THE CANDLE MAKER Author Laura Thomas

We all have them: drafts and fragments of stories we tuck away in (real or digital) drawers, assuming we'll never look at them again. Today's guest, Laura Thomas, makes a great case for the importance of hanging onto those old stories.

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Returning to The Candle Maker
by Laura Thomas

I can honestly say that my latest book, The Candle Maker, was an absolute joy to write—possibly due to writing in the era of “A Christmas Carol”, which always warms the cockles of my English heart. I’m a multi-genre author, and sometimes I get a little turned around writing about a cute, displaced Octopus one day and an angsty, teenaged ballerina the next, but The Candle Maker was one of those stories that comes without the losing of hair or sanity. Bonus! 

It began its life several years ago, with the single word “candle” in a writing assignment with The Institute of Children’s Literature. I brainstormed “candle” in good old clustering fashion and created a Dickensian tale of a misunderstood candle maker. I needed a child to be the protagonist, so ten-year-old Benjamin evolved, making the story suitable for middle graders. Although it was merely a short story at this stage, I suspected there would be a deeper version to unravel one day…

Fast forward a few years and a few published books later, and I stumbled across my old Candle Maker friend in a file. NOTE TO ALL: Never throw a story away, even if you think it’s a painful reminder of how chronic you were as a writing babe. If nothing else, it will serve as a glorious reminder of how far you have come in your writing journey! I re-read the little tale and got to work fleshing out characters and improving the original storyline.

With a tad more wisdom under my writing belt, I added a little brother (I have two boys who give me ample fodder for sibling interaction) and an English bulldog (I have one of those, too, so it was an obvious choice—she would have been highly insulted had I used the Red Setter from the original manuscript.) The storyline already implied the ramifications of listening to rumors, and so I built upon that particular moral and added in some neighborhood bullying, a touch of poverty, and the issue of courage. 

I have to point out that my teenaged sons were flabbergasted that I finally wrote a “dude book” (my previous titles: Tears to Dancing, Tears of a Princess, Fairy Wings, and Pearls for the Bride… say no more!) even though they are significantly beyond its reading target age of 8—11 years. Better late than never. This is my first boy book and I’m delighted with the mix of mystery, history, family values, and the facing of fears. My “little guy”, The Candle Maker, was published by Dancing With Bear Publishing in July 2015.

“Every village has a mysterious character— someone to tell tales about, someone to fear. Meet The Candle Maker. One Christmas Eve in Victorian England, ten-year-old Benjamin Walker is forced to face the fabled old candle maker and see for himself if the ghastly rumors are true. Challenged by neighborhood bullies, lessons and lies, and an English bulldog along the way, Benjamin confronts his fears on a quest to discover the truth. But will this ragamuffin lad find the courage he needs in time to save a life?”

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You can purchase The Candle Maker on Amazon.
Learn more about Laura Thomas on her website; follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I save every scrape of writing. And, I find, I'm no longer facing that blank page or cold screen alone. It's like writing with a friend. A friend that doesn't mind me re-writing her or taking all the credit.
    Congratulations in writing your first boy book and good luck with The Candle Man. It's very intriguing.

    1. Thanks very much, Leanne! I'm glad you are a "saver" and I wish you well in your writing journey :)