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RPLA Showcase: John Hope

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Welcome to the RPLA Showcase


2016 Published Short Story

Daddy Was Santa by John Hope

In “Daddy Was Santa,” Christopher discovers a secret: Daddy’s Santa. But reality stops Christopher from having what he desires most.

At the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, author John Hope won First Place in the Published Short Story category. Each year at the RPLA Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. We’re showcasing the best of the best with our First Place winners spotlight. Not only does RPLA recognize extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.

Click the link to read a sample:

Excerpt from Daddy Was Santa

Ready to read the rest of the story?

Click the link to purchase John’s Shorts: Vol 2 featuring “Daddy Was Santa” from Amazon Smile and support the Florida Writers Foundation.*

Q & A with John Hope

Q: Where do you get your story ideas?

A: Everywhere. From conversations with friends, from me staring at a painting or a tree, from my mind wondering in the middle of a 13-mile run, from books and articles I’ve read, from movies, from songs, from memories of experiences I had when I was eight. Every story I write says something – about people, relationships, and society, whatever. I look for those things. Once I find something that feels important, I work the idea into a story structure with characters and conflict–elements that people of every age understands. Then I slowly reveal the truth to the reader one scene at a time. I was once told from an avid reader that my stories require a reader to reach the end before he/she gets the point. I agree.

Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?

A: I took a different approach with “Daddy Was Santa” than with most stories. I wanted to write a Christmas story, so I started with photos. I scoured various photograph websites and saved off about a dozen photos that I found interesting­­­­–the cover for “Daddy Was Santa” was one of them. For each, I thought up a story idea and selected my favorite. I liked the concept of how realizing the truth of Santa was akin to the death of a childhood fantasy, a critical moment in a child’s life. The story came out well, and like many I write, it’s surprisingly emotional. My favorite moment in the story was when the little boy starts to accept the truth and he asks his older brother, “Why’d {Daddy} have to be Santa?” And rather than his brother fumbling through a typical adult answer of explaining fantasy and growing up, his brother simply says, “I don’t know,” showing how even now, he was just as befuddled and marked by this truth.

Q: Whom do you credit with inspiring your writing?

A: I’ve been blessed with a number of wonderful people in my life who inspire me–almost none of them writers themselves. These people include my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my teachers, various friends, my friend’s mom, my coaches, and even people on TV, including Mr. Rogers. But most importantly God, who’s been a constant throughout my life. Everyone who has dedicated part of their life to instill something in me who made me who I am today is my inspiration. Every time I write, I express myself, my whole self. If nobody ever invested in me, I’d have nothing say. When I was little, I had many moments of burning frustration, of me angry that no one understood me. I find the hardest part of writing is discovering those avenues of expression, so I can finally reveal those truths that others have poured into me.

Q: Any tips for new writers?

A: Force yourself to finish. Over the years I’ve spoken with a number of people who have a book inside them, some of them have started their stories and many have given up on the dream of writing. As difficult as it is to complete a story or an entire book, it’s worth it. The reward comes when others read your story and are moved by your words, perhaps inspiring them to better their lives or at least opening their minds to a different way of looking at life. But this reward will never see the light until your book is complete and ready for consumption. My best advice is: keep writing, don’t give up, and force yourself to finish. You’ll never regret the effort, but you may regret never finishing.

Thank you for sharing, John, and congratulations! Visit his website: www.johnhopewriting.com

*When you purchase this book from the Amazon Smile link provided, you are promoting literacy throughout Florida. You pay no extra cost for the book. The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Florida Writers Foundation.

For more details about FWF, visit www.floridawritersfoundation.com

For more details about Amazon Smile, visit https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/ch/about

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Follow Bria Burton:

Blogger at St. Pete Running Company

Award-winning author Bria Burton lives in St. Petersburg with her wonderful husband and two wild pets. They will soon welcome a baby boy (their first) in November 2017. Her fiction has appeared in over twenty anthologies and magazines. Her novelette, The Running Girls, is a 2017 Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist. Her novella, Little Angel Helper, won a 2016 RPLA. She has earned two First Place RPLAs for unpublished manuscripts. While she writes, her dog and cat do their best to distract her, which is why they star in her family-friendly short story collection, Lance & Ringo Tails. She's a blogger and customer service manager at St. Pete Running Company. As a member of the Florida Writers Association, she leads the St. Pete chapter and serves on the statewide FWA Board. She's also a member of the Alvarium Experiment, a by-invitation-only consortium of outstanding authors who created The Prometheus Saga, Return to Earth, and The Masters Reimagined anthologies. Website www.briaburton.com

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4 Responses

  1. Phyllis McKinley, poet

    Appreciated interview with John Hope. His words brought me encouragement and inspiration today. All those who “invested” in John must be extremely proud of the excellent return on their investment!

  2. David-Michael

    “Daddy Was Santa” is everything a short story should be. A good ear can pick out the cut-to-the-chase version of Berry’s 6 C’s or Aristotle’s 3 acts if you cared to check such things. But better to enjoy the work. Lay a yardstick next to it on the 2nd pass. You’ll find the same thing with Mr. Hope’s, “No Good.” He lists it as YA, but I’m 105 (at least when I first wake up) and enjoyed it immensely. If you want to spend an enjoyable few mins, or a pleasurable hour, ask John what he’s reading or writing then just hold on. You can recognize him by being the guy volunteering to do anything & everything around the conference. Oh, if that doesn’t work for you, look for the guy with an armful of trophies at the RPLA banquet!

  3. Joni M Fisher

    John Hope’s books really engage young readers. It’s inspiring to learn about his process.

  4. Tom Swartz

    John is one of my favorite authors in any genre. His talent far outstrips his fame.