MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Christina Leigh Pritchard, 33
As a little girl, Christina Leigh Pritchard imagined her toys as characters in an imaginary world.
As she grew older, she began to write about their adventures. As she got new toys, she would insert new characters into her stories.
Now, after many years of honing her writing craft, the 33-year-old Boca Raton resident has just published her first novel based on these childhood manifestations.
“It’s really exciting, especially since it’s a story I grew up writing, so it means a lot to me,” Pritchard said.
“Lark’s End: Book One” introduces readers to awkward Tahmi and her best friend, Andy, who are sucked through a portal to a strange world with fantastical creatures that want her to save them.
Lark’s End, launched June 25 through Tate Publishing, is actually the first book of eight. Pritchard has written the first five books already, and is currently in revision mode.
The publishing of her first book is even more special because she submitted the work for years before it was picked up.
“You know how Mark Twain said you could cover a wall with rejection letters — I don’t even want to know how many rejection letters I got,” said Pritchard, who works part time at a restaurant and does Web design.
Passion, persistence and grit helped her get published. When she was in school, she would write stories instead of taking notes and transcribe the pages when she got home. She’s an avid participant in “Nanowrimo”, a website which encourages writers to finish a novel in one month.
Pritchard’s written more than 50 books, ranging from poetry and short stories to a serious story about a mother with cancer.
But “Lark’s End” appeals to her – and to the publishers – because of its diversity.
“It’s a story about characters of different ages and gender, and they all grow up differently,” she said.
More than 100 fans attended a prerelease book signing on April 27 at RESTA salon in Delray Beach, which featured a free cut and highlight as gifts to two raffle winners. Her next book signing is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at Big Apple Books in Fort Lauderdale.
Annamarie Tamburri, a first-grade teacher at Banyan Creek Elementary in Delray Beach, plans to share the book with her school.
“Her book contains important parts of the school curriculum,” Tamburri said. “I love the descriptive words and details. I think it could be the next Harry Potter, that’s what I’m hoping for her.”
Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.
Who is your hero?
Judy Blume because she wanted to write realistically about life.
What is your favorite movie?
Tie between “Goonies” and “Empire Records”
What are your hobbies?
I write, collect elephants, ride bikes to the ocean and love animals.
What do you do to get away?
Write a story, go to the beach, go to the Keys and read.