Christine DeSmet is the author of the Mischief in Moonstone Series and the Fudge Shop Mystery Series. Learn more about Christine and her books at her website.
Rudolph and my Typewriter—Linked by Christmas
I’m in the middle of a move—I know, bad thing to do at the holiday time. Bring on the hot toddies! (Recipe for those later.)
We purged a lot of things in the house but not my Signature 510 model baby-blue typewriter still in its baby-blue case. It sent me off to college in the 1970s. You may have an old typewriter, too, hiding in a closet. You can’t get rid of it, can you? What is it about them?
Recently, I re-discovered my emotional link between the typewriter and my favorite holiday film: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, a one-hour TV special that premiered in 1964.
In going through boxes from closets, I found most of my notes and reports from grade school through college. In the past, when people have asked when I knew I was a writer, I couldn’t pinpoint a time. But I had only forgotten my storytelling fervor via required class assignments. My 5th grade Mexico report told the “story” of Mexico, illustrated with my drawings, stenciling, and lots of pasted photos from magazines. The teacher—my first reader—loved it. And so I was hooked on telling stories!
As the years have gone by, I always watch the TV special about Rudolph because it’s an incredible example of good storytelling. It uses the 12 stages of a story’s arc, as explained by Christopher Vogler in his famous book on writing, The Writer’s Journey, published appropriately at another Christmastime (1992).
My recently re-released novella, When Rudolph Was Kidnapped, came out of my love for Rudolph’s sweet TV story. There’s a romance in his story and a snowy mystery; the same goes for my novella.
The story of Rudolph was created by 34-year-old Robert Lewis May in 1939 for the Montgomery Ward company as a promotional booklet. My typewriter also came from that company. (Remember those hefty Christmas catalogs?) The Signatures were made by the Brother typewriter company. So there’s my link to Rudolph—Montgomery Ward. At first, the company execs rejected little Rudolph for his red nose. At that time, people associated red noses with drunkards. But Rudolph’s cuteness prevailed. The writer prevailed! Thank you, Robert May. I’m a writer partly because of you.
As for red noses, one of my best childhood memories at Christmastime was when Mom and Dad thought I was old enough (junior high, maybe) to taste a real “hot toddy.” The drink is made with Tom-and-Jerry mix, boiling water, and your choice of a splash or two (or more) of rum, whiskey, or bourbon. Christmas was the only time that a bottle of liquor found its way into our house, so this was a huge deal. Did my nose light up like Rudolph’s? No, but it felt like it! One hot toddy was enough.
Rudolph and I wish you a happy holiday season!
When Rudolph Was Kidnapped
When her pet reindeer, Rudolph, is stolen from the live animal holiday display, first-grade teacher Crystal Hagan has a big problem on her hands. Her students fear that Christmas will be canceled.
Ironically, the prime suspect is a man who lives in a mansion known as the “North Pole.” And to her shock, Peter LeBarron admits to kidnapping Rudolph and he won’t give him back without some romantic “negotiations.”