Viola Shipman

Viola Shipman

Dear Reader: Welcome! I'm SO glad you're here! I am the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of a dozen books that have been translated into 21 languages. I write fiction under the pen name, Viola Shipman, as a tribute to the working poor Ozarks woman whose heirlooms, sacrifices, love, life and lessons inspire my novels and inspired me to become a writer. My novels are a tribute to family and our elders and meant to inspire hope. My grandma used to say, "Life is as short as one blink of God's eye, but we too often forget what matters most in that blink." My novels are also meant to remind readers of what's most important in life: Each other. My new book, The Secret of Snow, is much more than just my first “holiday novel.” It’s a deeply personal story about family, faith, forgiveness, overcoming grief and second chances. Growing up, my family personified the holidays. My mother and father were a real-life Mr. and Mrs. Klaus, my grandma (Viola Shipman, my pen name), drenched her home in lights and filled her yard with dancing inflatables. She had the most beautiful heirloom Christmas ornaments and bought so many gifts for our family that she had to create a walkway through her living room. But my brother, Todd, loved winter and the holidays most of all. Todd loved nothing more than cutting down a pine from our woods every year, dragging it into the house and drenching it in tinsel. But when he died in a tragic accident when he was just 17, and I was 13, it crushed our family and our holidays. We were grief stricken, and the holidays only magnified our pain. I expected future Christmases to come and go as quietly as a church mouse, but the following December I walked into the living room one evening to find my mother putting up a tree she had cut down herself. My mom, a hospice nurse, patted the carpet, and I took a seat. "Think of how much your brother loved this holiday," she whispered to me, tears in her eyes. "Why are we all trying so hard to forget about him? We shouldn’t just cast our memories away. We should start treating Todd like he’s still here. Because he is. And always will be." In the midst of all the holiday cheer, there rarely is room for grief. But these past two years have magnified the loneliness for too many Americans. We’ve lost over 600,000 parents, grandparents, siblings and friends to Covid, and we too often forget these are aren’t just numbers, they’re names, like Todd, and my father-in-law, George, who died of Covid. There will be too many empty chairs at the table, and too many empty holes under the tree and in our hearts. And those of us who are suffering too often try to hide from the holidays, praying they will pass as quickly as Santa’s sleigh. The Secret of Snow is a beautiful reminder that, no matter if those we love are no longer with us, family still surrounds us. It is a gentle reminder to reach out to those who need a hug, to let them know you care and that the names of all we’ve lost and still love shimmer as brightly as tinsel, and that their memories will never fade away as long as we refuse to let them. Publisher’s Weekly raved about The Secret of Snow, writing, “Shipman delivers a beautifully written story about second chances. After 50-year-old meteorologist Sonny Dunes is fired from her Palm Springs, Calif., TV station and replaced by an artificial intelligence system, she gets drunk with a former colleague, then heads back to the station to voice her opinions, live and uncensored. In the aftermath, she agrees to return to her northern Michigan hometown and serve as chief meteorologist for the local station. In addition to working for a college acquaintance, Sonny is immediately targeted by local mean girl Polly Sue Van Kampen, who makes it clear that she blames Sonny for taking the job she expected to get and does everything she can to sabotage her. Sonny also finds love with a local man, Mason Carrier, and when an unprecedented career opportunity arises, Sonny is confronted with the choice of whether to stay with Mason or take the job. The author adds emotional gravitas with a subplot about Sonny’s deceased younger sister, and perfectly sketches Sonny’s mother, while also sensitively handling the topic of mental health, with one character having obsessive-compulsive disorder and another having lost a loved one to suicide. Fans of women’s fiction won’t be able to put this down!” The Secret of Snow is might be my favorite novel to date because it is so meaningful to me. I hope it speaks to your heart and that you consider buying a copy for yourself and gifting a copy to someone you love. Wishing you the merriest of Christmases and happiest of holidays! XOXO, Viola
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