Title: The Model Maker
Author: Award-winning story by Lisa Loucks Christenson
Word Count: 55,000 words
Genre: Vintage Romance, Time Travel
Release: July 2018
Publisher: Snowy River Press
Lisa wrote her award-winning short story, in a few hours with her baby daughter on her lap. Somehow, she wrote it, but even more amazing, she won a contest with it. There were so many people who wrote in and thanked Lisa for her story (see below), she promised herself she'd expand it, some day, when time allowed.
Finally, the novelized version is complete, this time with a cat on her lap, while she wrote, edited, and expanded her award-winning, original story by another 54,000 words, give or take a few.
Lisa sends a special thanks to her classmates at Gotham Writers, and especially to her instructor, Leigh Michaels. Thank you all for believing in me! Thank you to my family who happily cheered me on. Thank you to my grandparents––now in heaven, that were in every sense–– including becoming the models for the cover of the novel––my inspiration for the hero and heroine, Jonathon and Cora. Thank you Don at the Plains Time Dealer in Cresco, Iowa, for your tour of the Opera House and its stories, for publishing the story––way back when. Thank you Cresco, Iowa for your hospitality, every time I pass through, to the librarians who helped me pull old newspapers for developing my ideas for the novel and for offering visitors an extraordinary town to visit. This story is rooted in your history and I am grateful for every visit.
The book will be released in July of 2018.
Here's what people are saying about Lisa’s award-winning story, THE MODEL MAKER: “I thought The Model Maker was reminiscent of a shortened, "Twilight Zone" episode or a Ray Bradbury story--and that ain't bad! The only thing wrong with this story is that it was too short! I wanted more!”––S.B. / Columbus, OH
"Dear Lisa, Congratulations on your award for your short story The Model Maker. I enjoyed it both as a writer and as a miniaturist. I shared the story with several friends who are doll house enthusiasts and they loved it also. One thinks it would make a lovely illustrated book for adults another said she would like to see a room box based on your story. One friend, a published author and miniaturist, just lost her husband two weeks ago. She was especially moved and promises to reread it many times. Good luck with your future writing.”––M.H.C.
"What a wonderful story. I loved it and wish Lisa had expanded it to a book. I read it with tears. Loved her portrayal and know she has the ability to make it a full story. Her talent should be encouraged and rewarded. Thanks for sharing.”––Mary
"Dear Lisa, I subscribe to a daily digest called "Small Stuff". The members are all people interested in anything miniature. There are artisans, crafters, and beginning doll house makers like me. One of our members read your winning story "The Model Maker" and posted the website in our latest digest, suggesting we read your story. I loved the story! You are a very talented storyteller! I hope you continue to write. I'm sure others also enjoy your story.”––S.Z.S. Bakersfield, CA
Opening lines from Lisa’s award-winning story THE MODEL MAKER: (THIS IS THE ORIGINAL OPENING FOR THE SHORT STORY ONLY)
At seventy-seven, Cora Stephans, a model maker, was nearing completion of her grand masterpiece. The city of Cresco, Iowa, commissioned her to create a room-size mechanical townscape based on her life study of the area, and they were darn lucky to get her for the job, too.
A self-taught engineer whose creations had brought historical figures back to life at the World Fairs from decades past, Cora was a robotics imaginer before the terms were even invented. During her studies over the years more than one man had studied her. In fact, if you asked Cora what made those old men blush, she'd confess, 'Beauty is only skin deep, but mine's still a dollar short of pin money.' Whatever that meant.
She ignored the leers of the widowers, and bypassed the steady gaze from men who never did settle long enough to marry. Cora avoided divorced men, because they couldn't forget their old baggage. After losing Jonathon, her only love, she ignored her yearnings. Living for her art was a hollow substitution for love, and Cora knew this in her heart, but it kept one's mind and hands occupied. The townscape of Cresco took years to create and each character had to be individually designed.
From handmade curtains to authentic flooring, everything within the walls of Cora's townscapes contained the stories, the hopes, and the dreams of real people. Who could resist the country general store? When you opened the door, a saggy bloodhound lifted its head from its paws and howled.
Every store was animated with characters and props that moved lights and fans that worked. The player piano cranked out a tune and the mechanical bartender poured a mug of beer. Cora struggled for a week trying to figure out how to keep the beer mugs frosted. She credited her mechanical skills to her father.
Everyone respected Harlan Stephans, he was witty and gifted. He could make anything tick and come alive. In moment of great weakness, Cora wanted to believe that if he had been alive when Jonathon had died, that her father would have found a way to save him, too. Cora tapped into her father's gift and expanded upon it . . . .