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Red Level woman releases first book

Andalusia Star News

By christophersmith

Published 10:59 am Tuesday, December 17, 2019

After technical writing for years, Deborah Hoffman moved to Red Level and found a passion for storytelling. Now, she has just released her first book, “The Last Christmas Tree.”

Hoffman grew up on a ranch and a farm in the Wildcat Range in the Western Panhandle of Nebraska. She is the mother of five and has one other daughter, lovingly referred to as the acquired daughter. After moving to the south and living in a 118-year-old house that her husband chose to rescue, Hoffman was brought back to the quiet times she knew as a child.

“I wrote this story after a Christmas parade in Red Level,” Hoffman said. “When I write, I don’t do a storyline. It just comes to me. All my stuff is hand scripted. I have tried typing it, but I lose my train of thought. With this book, I was getting lunch and I was ready to go back to work and in the air, I saw this little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I just thought it was really cute. In my vision, I just saw the words, ‘The Last Christmas Tree,’ So, a few weeks went on and it was the night after the Christmas parade and I got another cup of coffee and my pen and paper and out came the story. I wrote it in an hour and 15 minutes.”

Hoffman said that her stories are often very real and have a real connection with people.

“Everything is very real,” Hoffman said. “I don’t write with a lot of adjectives and adverbs. I don’t write with flowery things and painting the scene. It’s just like people speak. I don’t use huge descriptors of my characters either, because I want the reader to develop that in their own minds. I think it’s more important to show who they are inside and their thought process.”

Initially, Hoffman put away “The Last Christmas Tree” for almost nine years, but she said she needed people to have the story.

“I had nine years of just, ‘No. Not yet,’” Hoffman said. “And then everything just fell in line. The theme of the book is to just not give up and not put yourself down for things that are just innately you. I just want people to be content and to know that there is a purpose in their life. I truly believe this book is for all ages and all people. I cried the whole time writing it, because I was just touched by the story.”

Hoffman and her daughter Abby Turner have opened their own publishing company PipStones LLC., in the hopes of providing publishing services to new authors.

Hoffman will be at Walker’s on this Saturday from 11 a.m., until 2 p.m. doing a book signing and at the Christian Book and Gift Shop beside Tabby D’s on Thursday from 11 a.m., until 2 p.m.

The story of the Last Christmas tree is below:

How could anyone know that a simple tree farm would be the home of a miraculous event? Only one person knew: Mr. B…

With a plan rooted deeply in his heart and mind, he plants a scrawny little tree amid all the other trees (the residents of Mr. B’s Famous Tree Farm).

The trees and the birds all wonder who this “stranger” is – the one who is so unlike them. The traditional trees nickname him TWIG. This little tree, with almost zero chance of survival, is encouraged by messages carried in the wind and sometimes repeated by the birds. The soft words and caresses of the gentle tree farmer always bring strength to TWIG.

One day, Mr. B shares two secrets with TWIG. The wind overheard the first secret and carried it throughout the entire tree farm. Only TWIG heard the second secret. TWIG makes the decision to stand tall and honor the second secret. This simple decision eventually brings Mr. B’s plan into full view for the whole world to see.

TWIG becomes a revelation of the impossible and belief in things not seen, but hoped for. A true miracle.

The book is written by Hoffman and illustrated by Award winning painter Robert Sauber.

The Last Chrstmas Tree Award  Winning Ce

Local Author Wins CBA Gold

Andalusia Star News

By: Donnamy Steele

Local writer Deborah Hoffman was awarded the 2020 Gold Medal Christian Book Award today for her children's book, The Last Christmas Tree. Hoffman has been a writer throughout her life, but she has found new motivation as of recently.

Hoffman was excited about the success of her book. "We received such a lovely review from the owner of the Christian Book Award. I was really touched by it and it was really warm," Hoffman said. "It was exciting to read."

Hoffman's award-winning book was crafted during the Christmas holiday season. "Two weeks before the Red Level Christmas Parade, I was inspired to write this book," Hoffman said. "After the parade, I sat down and wrote the entire book in one hour and fifteen minutes. I copyrighted it and then left it there for a while. None of the publishing houses at the time felt right, so I waited to publish it."

"It's a story of not giving up and being exactly who you are, even though we aren't the same as everyone else."

Leaving the book alone and focusing on other projects was the right decision at the time, said Hoffman. Once she felt ready, she began searching for an illustrator to collaborate with. "I didn't like the illustrators that publishing houses had because they didn't capture what I wanted for my book," Hoffman said. "We decided to tuck it away until my daughter Abby came with a list of 50 illustrators for me to look through. I found one named Robert Sauber and I really liked his work. I contacted him and we set everything in motion."

Last December, Hoffman had a successful pre-launch for her book. "In our pre-launch at the end of December we sold 300 books in two weeks," Hoffman said. 

Hoffman published her latest book with her own publishing company, PipStones, LLC. "Indie publishers are people who individually publish their own books, and we are a modified version of that. We are a joint publisher with Mascot Books, which gives us access to more resources without having to build them on our own. We have a dual goal, to help others publish and help ourselves."

Hoffman has produced many short stories and other works from multiple genres. "We have a wide variety of things we're working on," Hoffman said. She is currently editing two of her upcoming books, a Christian murder mystery novel entitled Except A Seed, and an interactive musical children's book named Eskimo Joe.

Hoffman's book will be available at Mascot Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and PipStones, LLC. 

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