The Best Christmas Gift


Those of you who know me are aware that when it comes to the holidays I can make Scrooge (prior to the visit from Marley’s ghost) look like the epitome of Christmas. This attitude is due to a number of events that I won’t go into. Now to the subject of this blog.

A week before Thanksgiving I got a message from Lorie Voisine, a teacher at Fort Kent Community High School asking if I would be willing to visit the school and speak to a group of students. As most writers would do, I jumped all over the opportunity to speak with aspiring writers and I agreed. We settled on Thursday, December 7th as a good date to do it. When she asked if I would have books for sale I was surprised. The last thing she said caught my attention. WENDIGO takes place in the north Maine woods and the towns along the Canadian Border, including Fort Kent. This must have caught the eye of some one at the school and Lorie informed me that reading the book had become the thing to do at the school. Now I was thoroughly interested. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe that one of my books would be the rage anywhere, let alone at a high school. The book was so popular that the library and faculty were ordering more copies.

Still not certain what to expect, I arrived at the school at the appointed time and was met at the door by Lorie. She informed me that over thirty students had signed up to attend. I entered the school library and got the first of several surprises I was to get that afternoon. When I was introduced to the librarian she was reading the book. In short time the students came in and I got the the second surprise, almost half of them had their personal copies of WENDIGO!

I spoke for about my journey from a junior high school student to published author for thirty minutes and then opened the floor for questions. Surprise number three, the questions asked were thoughtful and the majority were on writing and the writing process.

In short as the afternoon passed I asked if they had a writer’s group in the school. The answer was no. I replied why not? I’ll bet you have a Science Club and a Math Club. Then I said, “If you decide that you want to start a group I’d be more than happy to assist in setting it up.

Two days later Lorie messaged me to thank me and she said, “The students went back to their classes and started talking to others about my talk and surprisingly they emphasized the fact that I had told them to read, read, read–especially in the genre they wanted to write.

As I write this blog I realize that I took away as much as I gave at that talk–and isn’t that really what Christmas is about? I had never seen so many copies of one of my books in the hands of readers and sold books too. Most importantly, I left there in a rush to get back to my word processor to write my next book.


About Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn C. Hardacker has published seven novels and numerous short stories. He is a member of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and the International Thriller writers. Three times he has been a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction category, SNIPER in 2015, THE FISHERMAN in 2016, and WENDIGO for the 2018 award. The second installment of his Ed Traynor series, MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, was released in July 2019 and is available through all major booksellers. A signed copy can be ordered directly from Vaughn ( RIPPED OFF is his most recently published crime/thriller, it was released on January 25, 2023 by Encircle Publications. He is a veteran of the U. S. Marines and served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Technical College, the University of Maine and Southern New Hampshire University. He lives in Stockholm, Maine.
This entry was posted in Vaughn's Posts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Best Christmas Gift

  1. kaitlynkathy says:

    Glad to hear you had such a great experience, and lucky kids to have had the chance to talk with a writer they WANT to read.

  2. If you want to keep it you have to give it away.

  3. Lea Wait says:

    Speaking at schools is the BEST! Sounds as though you made a lasting impression …. and maybe the students did on you, too! Hope they decide to organize that writing club!

  4. What a great story! I hope they do form a writing group, and you get to advise them. That would be so cool.

  5. Brenda Buchanan says:

    This is a wonderful story, Vaughn! I’m sure you inspired some students that day. And you are right, the joy is in the giving, especially the older you get . . .

  6. It was the high point of my Christmas thus far!

  7. Vaugh,

    You make a good point.

    Humankind has been writing for what, several millennia?

    I’ve yet to see a writing club in a school, but, I’m willing to bet there are more than a few video gaming clubs in schools out there somewhere!

    Good luck with your club!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    (Any hints on when we may see your next book?)

Leave a Reply