Anyone who has been reading my online posts for a while will already know that I’m a bit of an odd duck when it comes to sewing bloggers. Rather than being a sewist who writes, as most sewing bloggers seem to be, I am a writer who sews—that’s why my posts usually contain a story or two. I don’t just tell you what and how I’ve been sewing. I usually have a story about why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I’ve been sewing since I was about twelve years old and writing for as long—but I’ve spent more of my adult life writing than sewing. About two years ago, I wrote a book that combined these lifelong passions. Until then, most of my writing had been a thirty-year career as a nonfiction health and business writer with a bit of historical fiction added to the recent mix. When The Year I Made 12 Dresses launched in mid-2020, I had no idea it was the start of a book series. I had no idea that Charlotte (Charlie) Hudson, who learned as much about herself as she did about sewing that year she made 12 dresses, would stay in my imagination through so many stories.
Charlie has become slightly more peripheral to the stories recently, although I would argue that she is pivotal—and that will become increasingly clear when the next (and final book) is published. In the last book, Charlie found an unfinished manuscript for a romance novel among her great-grandmother’s belongings after she died. And Charlie, being a writer herself, decided to finish the story. What she never counted on was that she had the ending wrong. Charlie discovers the real people behind the characters in her great-grandmother’s story and knows she has to listen to them. Today, I’m launching the fifth book in the series.
It’s 1989, and Antonia St. John has a single goal. To crash through that glass ceiling created by 1960s Madison Avenue advertising men. Then, the one thing she never saw coming threatens to derail her plans until she can find a solution. She never planned on having a baby―especially a baby who turns out to be a ballet dancer, something Antonia cannot get her head around. But the baby is just the beginning of Antonia’s journey into family life.
When she learns her baby’s father, Tim, has a secret buried in his past―a secret so big it changes everything― Antonia has to dig deep within herself to find the courage to see it through to the end and to find her place in the family. With an unlikely ally in her mother-in-law, Grace, who never liked Antonia, she finally begins to learn the lessons that families―even dysfunctional ones―have to offer. Figuring out where you fit into a family―and the world―may be the ultimate challenge.
There’s another thing about me that many of my readers don’t know. I’m a ballet mom. My son lived away from home in residence at Canada’s National Ballet School from the time he was eleven until he graduated in 2007. That experience as a parent of a student at an elite ballet school was part of the inspiration for this book, which is dedicated to 2007 graduates of the National Ballet School.
Charlie doesn’t do a lot of sewing in this book (just wait until next time, though!), but she learns a lot about life.
I hope you enjoy reading it.