CAMDEN — Sales of a holiday novella written by Maine State Representative Vicki Doudera, of Camden, will benefit two nonprofits in her part of the state.
Looking for Travolta: A Ghost Story of Christmas features Millicent Plenty, a scheming, stingy Scrooge of a woman who makes everyone around her miserable. Hard-working, down-on-her-luck waitress and mother of four Dena Pease bears the brunt of Millicent’s abuse.
Doudera retells Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, in present-day Maine. Residents of the coastal town of “Canterbury” are in the holiday spirit. They’re shopping on the bustling streets and sipping cocoa in the local café. But they’re also keeping a close eye out to catch a glimpse of a celebrity who lives on a nearby island: the actor John Travolta.
Doudera loves Charles Dickens’ story in any variation, according to a news release. She appreciates its beautiful language, its theme of redemption, and its invention of Christmas traditions as we know them. Her twist on the tale came about because, for years, she has been “looking for Travolta” during the holidays.
“For close to 30 years, John Travolta has had a home on Islesboro,” Doudera said, referring to the island a short ferry ride from Lincolnville, “and during the week before Christmas, everyone sees him in Camden and Rockland, shopping or eating or having a drink someplace. I’m out and about every December but never seem to be in the right place to spot him.”
Doudera said that the classic story and her quest to see the famous actor were, “both in my head at the same time, so this story just sort of came to me.”
As with Dickens’ character Scrooge, miserly Millicent Plenty is visited by her old business partner on Christmas Eve, followed by a trio of ghosts revealing Millicent’s past, present and future. The spirits in Doudera’s tale are characters familiar to fans of Travolta’s movies, and her story has a satisfying, Dickens-like ending.
Two local nonprofits will receive the net proceeds from book sales. United Midcoast Charities serves organizations dealing with hunger relief, housing, health & safety, and economic insecurity in Knox and Waldo counties through grants and educational programs. Midcoast Habitat for Humanity builds safe, affordable homes in Knox County. Doudera is on the board of Midcoast Habitat and served as president in years past.
“Vicki does a masterful job of casting a classic tale onto a coastal Maine community and provides a deeper resonance to its ageless message,” said John Viehman, Executive Director for United Midcoast Charities. “We’re delighted she’s chosen UMC as one of the beneficiaries, especially now when there is such an alarming demand for the most basic services here in Knox and Waldo counties.”
Tia Anderson, Executive Director of Midcoast Habitat for Humanity, said: “Vicki has a huge heart for Habitat! We are thrilled she has created this opportunity for others to enjoy her latest work and support the needs of our community.”
Doudera’s book is available on Amazon in a Kindle version for $4.99 and in paperback for $24. Net proceeds will go to the charities. Readers who send Doudera a $50 check will help the charities even more. These “holiday heroes” will receive an autographed copy of the book and an invitation to a special Zoom party on December 21. Partygoers will discuss Looking for Travolta, Charles Dickens, and the craft of writing in general.
“Even with the cost of shipping, the nonprofits will receive more than $40 per book at that special price,” Doudera said, “and given the need out there, every little bit counts.”
For more information, visit www.vickiformaine.com/.
About United Midcoast Charities
UMC energizes Midcoast Maine nonprofits through finance and guidance, supporting a network of resources stronger than any single organization. UMC’s primary focus areas are food, housing, health & safety, and economic security. Through a thorough application and review process, UMC has awarded grants totaling $1.8 million to more than 50 local agencies in the last three years. Individuals and businesses throughout the region give generously to support the vital work of clinics, daycare centers, food banks, soup kitchens, medical services, housing providers and many other organizations. For more details, visit www.unitedmidcoastcharities.org.
About Midcoast Habitat For Humanity
Midcoast Habitat for Humanity serves Knox County and is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization building homes, communities and hope. For 30 years, Midcoast Habitat for Humanity has been dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, healthy place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. For more information, visit www.midcoasthabitat.org.