According to Washington-Jones, the plot of the book revolves around a family who visits a “magic” Christmas tree grove in search of a “real” Christmas tree and get more than they bargained for.
Washington-Jones’ son, Josiah, inspired the book when he was in third grade. Josiah is now a ninth grade student at Natchitoches Central High School.
“It sprang from a Christmas writing assignment,” Washington-Jones said. “I thought the idea was cute and full of humor. It made me want to write stories again because I had always loved to write when I was in grade school. It took a while to finish it; I would say three to five years on and off.”
After finishing the book, Washington-Jones sent it to traditional publisher, but it was always returned.
“One of them kept the book for almost a year, 11 whole months to be exact, and then they sent me the dreaded rejection letter. This year, after I had received yet another rejection, I decided to self-publish it,” she said.
Washington-Jones is a writer and educator who has been teaching at Northwestern State for over 20 years. Although “The Runaway Christmas Tree” is a children’s e-book, Washington-Jones explores writing in many genres with a style steeped in humor, discovery and adventure. She has won numerous awards in education and also writes songs, poetry, business plans and seminars.
Joe Parrie, Northwestern State University’s webmaster, illustrated the book. Parrie has been engaged in free-lance web design and illustration for 15 years.
“The inspiration for the tree came from a small plastic toy Christmas tree Dorothy owns. It warbles a few seasonal songs and she passed it to me during our first meeting,” Parrie said. “This was the fastest, most time-intensive contract job I’ve worked on to date. Dorothy contacted me in early October and wanted a late November release, so my evenings and weekends were wholly dedicated to this enterprise.”
“Joe was a delight to work with and the most creative person I know. I was very pleased to work with him on this project,” Washington-Jones said.
The book is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and is compatible with Kindle, Nook, PC or Mac. A free Kindle app allows purchase for the iPad, iPod, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and other devices.