"I never considered myself a novelist," she admitted, adding that she had always been a C student in her English classes. But the urge to put pen to paper came as she was ending her work with Alzheimer's patients at the convalescent hospital, the Mountain View Health Care Center.
"This title kind of zapped into my mind, and I resolved to write it," she said. "I wanted to close off that part of my life by writing a book."
Eight months later, her self-published debut novel, "A Wisp of Regret," has come to fruition.
The story is told in a "then and now" format, with the flashback chapters following a young woman, Karen, whose first lover is an older man (and her college professor), Tom. Fast forward to the present day, when Karen, now a middle-aged woman working at a convalescent hospital, discovers Tom housed there and suffering from Alzheimer's disease. As a twist on — or a conflation of — both coming-of-age and end-of-life stories, Karen resolves to repay the love and kindness he showed her so many years ago.
Woven into this love story are minor elements of Reddington's own life. One of the supporting characters is a dog, Toby, based on the author's beloved poodle of the same name. The characters eat pizza and peanut butter, her favorite foods. They meet while swimming laps at the pool — Reddington swims every day at the local YMCA. And yes, when she was a young woman, she saw an older man.
"That's where the similarity stops," she quipped.
Reddington recommends her novel to older readers, and says she is donating all proceeds from its sales to the Alzheimer's Association.
"I wouldn't be here if the money was for me," she said.
Perhaps surprisingly, Reddington seems to have caught the writing bug, and she is already at work on her next novel. It's a mystery set in a small town, in which a park ranger finds herself in the midst of a murder case after her trusty dog discovers a dead body buried under a tree.
"I know who the murderers are," she said. "I just have to figure out how to get from where I'm at to there."
"A Wisp of Regret" is $12.95, with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer's Association. To purchase a copy, visit www.lulu.com and search for the title.
This story contains 439 words.
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