As I strolled up Park Avenue, the light change. In the mood to read, I decided to reread my "House-Sitter's Christmas" book when I got home. While waiting for a green light, I turned to peek at the magnificent townhouses on East 61st Street. And BLAM! There it was.
I'd forgotten where the townhouse was that inspired "The House-Sitter's Christmas." It was on East 61st street. I'd passed it by on several occasions while visiting the dentist.
I hadn't been back to that neighborhood for a year, so I hadn't seen it. Having some free time, I wandered over to get a closer look. My book had just tied for a third place award, and I wanted to refresh my memory on the magnificent building.
I couldn't believe it, but there was someone working on the building. He was adding some cement to the wall by the stairs down to the basement door. I ambled over and started a conversation. Of course, he didn't own the building, but he worked on it often for the people who did.
I told him about the book. He seemed fascinated, surprised that anyone would write a book about a building. It's a sweet romantic story, like a modern fairy tale. But the building does take on the role of supporting character.
As we chatted, he assured me that the owners took good care of the building, maintaining all the old wood and beautiful features of a townhouse of that era. Practically drooling, I wished I could have seen the inside. Of course, I'd never ask. Too shy. Still, my imagination began to churn.
Up close, the house is still stunning. The big staircase is one aspect that attracted me in the first place. And, yes, just like in the book, it has a big wooden door.
We exchanged names. He wanted to know where he could get the book. I gave him my card and wrote the name of the book on the back. I doubt he'd actually buy it, but just the fact that he wanted to made my day.
Such a serendipitious meeting. What are the chances I should happen to walk by that enchanting edifice, totally out of my neighborhood, on a Saturday and he'd be working there, outside? I guess I was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. As I gazed at it, I could swear I saw Laura Fleming and C.W. Banley in the window.
A writer's inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time. I owe the elegant townhouse a vote of gratitude for inspiring an award-winning story. The romance of the era rubbed off on me.
a bit about the book:
At Christmas, Laura Fleming lived her fantasy adventure. Paid to house-sit for the fabulously wealthy financier, C.W. Banley, while he traveled, she eagerly headed for New York City. As mistress of his elegant townhouse, she baked cookies and dressed the old gent’s richly-furnished residence for the holidays.
As December rolled around, the lonely, lovely writer eagerly anticipated soaking up the Christmas atmosphere in the grand city. With only the cat for company, she’d turn Banley’s elegant home into a wonderland of sparkling lights, fragrant garland, and shiny tinsel.
Every year, she wished, in vain, for a happy ending. Will this be the year that Miss Fleming discovers her dreams can come true, even in a big city, like New York?
A sweet, New York City Christmas Fairy Tale.
You can get a copy in ebook, paperback, even in large print paperback, or audio (with male and female voices) here (click on the site name):