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Author inspired by Sanibel publishes first book

By Staff | Sep 9, 2015

A vacation to Sanibel was one author’s inspiration of overcoming the worry of pulling together characters to form a story that surpassed the length of anything she had written before.

“My degree is in journalism. I worked as a news reporter for a number of years and then transitioned into public relations,” Linda Abbott, a Wisconsin resident, said.

As the founder of Never Forget Legacies & Tributes, she does quite a bit of writing, which often times resulted in compliments. She remembers saying “If I was a really good writer I could write fiction.”

That thought process led Abbott to purchasing a book at Barnes & Noble about how to write fiction. The book eventually was put aside until she traveled to Sanibel in 2003.

“I just decided to give it a whirl,” she said, adding that there was an exercise in the book that encouraged her to create a scene and dialogue for her characters. “It was really kind of interesting that the idea for that scene ended up sparking what was to become a novel. I was just doing a writing exercise.”

Her book, “Ten Days in Paradise,” took many years to complete and after coming close to having an agent, she decided to publish her first book through Create Space, a publishing arm of Amazon. Abbott became very familiar with Adobe Design, choose her cover and designed her book through InDesign.

“Its success has widely succeeded my expectations,” she said. “It has been a great adventure. I have learned so much. I cannot believe the tools we have at our disposal.”

The debut author dove into social media to help promote her book, as well as visiting some of the shops on Sanibel to have book signings.

“I did take my novel to the Sanibel Island Bookshop and a few others on the island a year and half ago before I published on Amazon. I wasn’t convinced I had a novel that would have an audience,” she said. “My last creative writing class was more than 30 years ago. I knew how much work it was going to take publish and promote it.”

Now her book is available at such store’s as Bailey’s, and Jerry’s on the island, as well as on Amazon and through Kindle.

Abbott first learned about Sanibel in 2000 when vacationing on Estero Island. After someone shared that they should take a day trip to Sanibel “it was love at first sight.”

Since then she has traveled to Sanibel for vacation.

“I have a special connection to the island,” Abbott said. “I am so relaxed by hearing waves. I find it to be the most relaxing place in the world. I go there and become renewed. I feel great when I’m there. It’s a place to come to recharge my batteries.”

While she traveled to Sanibel for her vacation, she worked on her book, “Ten Days in Paradise,” which has many inspired scenes from the beautiful white sandy beaches of Sanibel.

Although the initial idea of the book was for two people to meet it evolved into a book with a deeper plot.

“I had this idea that two people meet and they fall in love in a beautiful place. The next thought was where do you go with that,” Abbott said. “Did I have a vision for this book from start to finish? Absolutely not.”

The book follows the story of Ellen Bennett, a 45-year-old successful career woman who traveled to Sanibel Island for a break away from her family. While on vacation, she encountered David, a father married with three children who was on the island to celebrate his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

“Against an idyllic backdrop of white sand beaches, azure waters and lush palms, Ellen struggles to subdue a firestorm of emotions. David, the father of three young children, confronts the fault lines in his own marriage that lead to a stunning revelation,” said a description of Abbott’s book on Amazon.

The author worked one chapter at a time, one page at a time, until her two central characters, as well as many other characters, told the story.

“Once I started getting those characters in place, I used multiple view points,” she said. “Once I decided who the characters were, the ideas of what was going to happen came easier.”

Her story includes a scene inspired by Chapel of the Sea on Captiva. Abbott said the chapel is a location where older adults have come to cherish this place where they meet. She said she created Liz, this feisty and spirited character, who is trying to protect the church from demolition. The scene was inspired by the boom in the building industry Abbott witnessed while writing the book. She said a gentleman wants to demolish the church to build a mega home.

For more information, visit www.lindaabbott.net.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.