Hello internet! This is SA Stovall, author of Thirty-One Days and Legos, here to wish you all Happy Holidays!
Real talk: I love stories of adoption. In my life, lots of people have entered my family through unconventional means, and adoption is just one of life’s many wonderful, yet unconventional, circumstances. Building a family on love really hits home for me, so after I wrote my short story, Ranger Station Haven (about foster kids getting lost in a National Park) I knew I wanted to follow their story with one of finding a new home.
Thirty-One Days and Legos takes place one year after the end of Ranger Station Haven. While Ranger Station Haven was a more whimsical tale of Christmas heartwarming goodness, I wanted to bridge the gap of fairy tale to reality with Thirty-One Days and Legos—Owen and Carter, the married couple of the story, finish their parenting classes and are ready to take two new kids into their home. While Owen is super excited to be a father, and has enough energy for a small star, Carter is a bit of a prickly grump, and worries he won’t be the best parent, though he wants to try.
Luke and Edmund, the two boys, aren’t a handful, per se, but they do have scars from their life before. Edmund wants to adopt a cat (because he’s adopted, and now they’re best friends, you see) and Luke remains quiet and distant, much to Carter’s frustrations.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but instead of whimsy, I tried to capture the feel-good warmth of a hard-won relationship. Carter wants to be a good father, and he’s going to do everything he knows how to do that (even if he appears grumpy to most people). His relationship with Luke takes center stage of the story, while Carter and Owen discuss what needs to be for the future.
Ranger Station Haven is a short story, and Thirty-One Days and Legos is a novella. My goal, and hope, is to write a novel with the new family for next year—one where they’re a family dealing with park ranger business, and warm feel-good holiday cheer. Thirty-One Days and Legos sets up what I hope will be a good start to a Christmas story for everyone like me: happy at the thought of festive cheer, new families, and lots of love.
Real talk again: I love Christmas (and any holiday that celebrates friends and family). My favorite Christmas stories when I was younger were a Christmas Carol and the Gift of the Magi, both stories focusing on the cheer and love of the season. I always loved that Scrooge joined Tiny Tim’s family for Christmas dinner, and I liked the idea that he joined their family, almost like a reverse adoption.
It’s this kind of passion I hope I get across in my writing. I want everyone to be happy around the holidays, no matter who they are. Sure, gifts are nice, but the spirit of family and love is what really gets me smiling. I tried to capture that feel with Thirty-One Days and Legos. Not only are kids adopted, but so is a cat—and Carter’s determination to make everything great is the love-glue that holds it all together!
So, as one person who loves the festive spirit, I wish everyone a happy holidays! Whatever you celebrate, I hope you’re surrounded by friends and family—and hopefully you all enjoy Thirty-One Days and Legos!
Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.
Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.
But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how….
S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.
As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.
You can contact her at the following addresses.