In 1999, Lily Price decided to give herself a present for Valentine’s Day. And this year, she is reaping the rewards.
Four years ago, Price, who lives near Ironton, set out to make a dream come true when she started to write her first novel.
“I told my husband I’m going out to the van until noon and write,” she said with a laugh. “And that’s what I gave myself that Valentine’s Day. I started writing longhand and I wrote six chapters that first day.”
She wrote about 50 more and just had her book published. It’s called, “Taste of Ashes.”
It’s a story set in the Civil War based in part on a couple of dreams Price had over the years and a story told her by a friend.
“The idea for this book has just tumbled around in my mind for years. I dreamed I was a 14-year-old girl driving a covered wagon,” she said. “And I had a friend who told me about her great-grandmother who had been separated from her family during the Civil War. I thought that would make a great story.”
And so, the fictional tale of 14-year-old Dulcie Wilson was born. It’s the story of how the young girl was separated from her siblings during the war and how she set out on her own to find them. Along the way, Price made sure she had adventures with various types of people.
“She grew up a lot during that time,” Price said. “And if you want to know whether she finds her family, you’ll just have to read the book.”
She did some research as she wrote, brushing up on her knowledge of Civil War times. While Dulcie is from the South, she believes her book is neutral — making neither side out to be the one in the right.
Price said she took her notebook everywhere as the story unfolded in her imagination. By last February, it was ready to be published.
“I contacted an agent I had met, but he didn’t think it would work out,” she said. “So I got on the Internet and found out about publishing-on-demand.”
Through that process, Price could have copies of her book published as she needed them or as they are ordered from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com. She received her first copies Dec. 20 and gave them to friends and family for Christmas.
“Everybody who’s read it so far seems to ask me when I’m going to start the sequel,” she said. “They think there has to be a sequel. My sisters read it and it made them cry.”
Price has always loved to write and over the years, she attended a few seminars about how to publish a book. She entered short stories in contests and placed and joined the Parkland Writers Group where she found support from other budding authors.
Price will be featured in a book signing March 1 at Whistle Junction in Arcadia from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. She will have books available for purchase, as well.
“I wrote it mainly for me to feel as if I had accomplished something,” she said. “And now that it’s published, well, it’s kinda like when you’re expecting company and you do so much to get ready and you anticipate their arrival and then they come and stay and stay and stay. Then you’re ready for them to be gone. And I was ready for this book to get published.”