By Andrea McCann
Area residents looking for Christmas gift ideas for children or grandchildren may want to check out a book written by first-time author Wini Frances of Washington.
Frances will be signing copies of “Christmas at a Grand Hotel” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Touch of Heaven. The inspirations for her children’s book were the French Lick and West Baden hotels and their Christmas decorations, she said.
“The story takes place in a domed hotel,” Frances said. “I was inspired when we were there for Christmas two or three years ago.”
The plot revolves around two little mice, Charlie and Sam, who get in trouble while waiting for their parents in the hotel lobby. Frances said the key take-away message is the importance of obeying your parents and being responsible.
“Trouble happens when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do,” she said.
Frances said it’s a fun book for adults to read to younger children, and for slightly older children to read themselves. Adding to the fun, Charlie and Sam are hidden somewhere in the decorative border on each page, she said.
“It’s fun for kids to look for them as you’re reading and discussing the story,” she said.
“Christmas at a Grand Hotel” is her first published book, but Frances said she has others in the works, a lot of which also include animals.
A retired school teacher, she primarily taught special education at Barr-Reeve Junior-Senior High Schools and Washington Elementary Schools.
“I grew up in a storytelling family,” she said. “My father told me stories when I was growing up. I continued the tradition with my kids and grandkids.”
Frances said her husband, Mike Frances, encouraged her to put some of the stories into writing.
Self-published through WinePress Publishing, an independent Christian publisher, “Christmas at a Grand Hotel” is available through Amazon, WinePress or Wini Fagen Frances on Facebook.
“It lists for $9.99, but I sell it for $8, tax included,” Frances said. “If I have to mail it or ship it somewhere, I charge $1.50 for shipping and handling.”
She said she orders the books to be printed on demand in small quantities to avoid storage issues, but can get more fairly quickly when she runs out.
“I try to keep a few on hand, but if I do happen to run out, within a week or so I can have more,” she said.
Anyone who cannot attend Saturday’s book signing can look for Frances to be signing books at The Bible Book Store, 106 Main Street, Vincennes, Nov. 16 after the Parade of Lights.