Local Christina Holbrook plans to autograph copies of debut novel All the Flowers of the Mountain at Next Page Books & Nosh Sunday

All the Flowers of the Mountain is the debut novel by Christina Holbrook. Holbrook wrote the “Lark Ascending” column for the Summit Daily News from 2016 to 2022.
Ashley Prine/Image courtesy

Longtime Summit Daily News readers may recognize Christina Holbrooks Surname. The Summit County resident wrote the Lark Ascending column for five years, from 2016 to 2020. Hailing from New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the non-fiction column details what it was like transitioning into life in the West.

Holbrook moved to Summit County in 2014 to be with now husband Alan Dulit, whom she married in 2018. Holbrook said Dulit was good friends from high school, but they went their separate ways after graduation. However, 35 years later, they began to meet over long distances.

Now the 61-year-old draws on her personal experiences in her debut novel “All Flowers of the Mountain”. The book was released on Monday July 4th. It tells the story of how Dr. Michael Pearce sees a sculpture by artist Katherine Morgan, and the couple tries to rekindle a relationship that began as teenagers by a New Hampshire lake.

The book begins in the present, moves back in time, and then returns to the present as it shows how crucial the rural summer was for both of them. Classified as a women’s fiction, the story aims to delight fans of Delia Owens and Nicholas Sparks with their family secrets and painful choices.

Holbrook said she’s discovered that both the fictional reunion experience and hers are more common than people realise.

“I find it amazing how many people in my age group are actually reconnecting with someone they knew when they were younger,” Holbrook said.

Although she is known for her non-fiction writing – alongside poetry and short stories – her flexibility meant she wanted to write a fictional love story. Holbrook said the freedom is satisfying because it allows her to address different topics without having to be 100% factual.

“You create a world that is yours and characters that are your imagination and a story that unfolds based on how you envision it,” said Holbrook.

Writing is a relatively new pastime for Holbrook. She studied French and political theory at Wellesley College in Massachusetts before working in the publishing industry in New York. Her main focus was art books for museums and the like. Then she got to a point where she wanted to pick up her own pen and be more introverted.

Holbrook’s desire to build the world helped her stay on course during the coronavirus pandemic as she dealt with deadlines more nebulous than her regular newspaper columns.

“Once I had that first draft, I just couldn’t let it go,” said Holbrook, “…the more fleshed out the world, the more it feels like a world you want to be in.”

This first draft came in 2018 after about six months of writing. But it wasn’t until 2019 that she got an agent, and then she spent the following years in a cycle of makeovers and rejections. Shortly after her agent felt the work would be in a good place to sell to a publisher, Holbrook was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late March 2022.

Holbrook is trying to be hopeful but also realistic, as it could take two to three years to hit a publisher’s release schedule.

“I didn’t want to wait,” Holbrook said. “I wanted to get things done.”

She had a conversation with Karen Wyatt, publisher at Sunroom Studios in Dillon to see how it could be sped up. An editor in New York assembled a freelance production team while Wyatt focused on distribution to points of sale in order to push the release to July.

Holbrook is now recovering from chemotherapy and is ready to celebrate the book’s release. There will be a celebration and book signing at Next Page Books & Nosh on Sunday 10 July from 12:30pm to 3pm main street 409, Frisco. Snacks and drinks will be offered.

“While it’s not exactly your story, it’s a familiar tale of growing up and confronting major roadblocks and trying to find your way, making some big mistakes, and finally finding your way home,” Holbrook said.

Christina Holbrook grew up in New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Her book All the Flowers of the Mountain is set in rural upstate and borrows from her personal life.
Alan Dulit/Photo courtesy

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