'Your Gift to Me'

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Atmore resident Bonnie Latino has been working diligently for the past 10 years on a novel, "Your Gift to Me" and it is finally complete.
Latino said her novel is a romantic and patriotic novel about a woman from a town called Williams Station.
"It's about a woman, Emily Meade, from Williams Station who married someone in special ops," Latino said. "He gets killed and she says she never wants to date anyone in a dangerous occupation again."
Latino said Meade moves to Hawaii in order to find happiness and to reminisce about her honeymoon with her deceased husband.
"It's nine years later and she's in Hawaii and still single," Latino said. "She gets set up on a blind date with a fighter pilot who is good looking."
Latino said the fighter pilot has his heart and mind set on hooking Meade.
"With 'Top Gun' determination he decides he's going to make her fall in love with him," Latino said. "She's a 'Steel Magnolia' and is determined it's not going to happen."
Latino said the whole moral of the story is to find out whether or not Meade and the new man will end up together or not, but the story also has a subplot about the military.
Meade is from a town in Williams Station and Latino said that that is also an important fact about the novel and will also bring good publicity to Atmore.
"I truly believe this will be good for Atmore because people will seek out Williams Station," she said.
Latino said the novel is inspiring.
"It is a very uplifting book," she said. "It's fun, romantic and really funny. The main character, Emily Meade, best friend is nuts. She breaks up a deep emotional story. It's also very patriotic and it has a huge tie in with Williams Station. It is a contemporary romantic suspense novel."
Latino said she had special inspiration from her husband, Tom, and deceased friend Jerry Cruit in making the dream of the novel come true.
"My husband is my rock and I couldn't have done this without him," Latino said. "And, Jerry was in special ops, he died in 2003. He helped me so much that in the novel I named Emily's husband Jerry. Jerry really wanted this book to be published. Part of the dedication will go to him."
Latino and co-writer Bob Vale are participating in an online contest where people can join the site www.gather.com and vote on Chapter One of the novel.
"Voting on Chapter One continues through Sept. 18," Latino said. "On Sept. 24 they (publishing company Simon and Schuster) will announce the top 25 contestants online. That same day Chapter Two will be put online and people can vote for it. That's the last day I'll ever ask anybody to do anything for me for the rest of my life."
Latino said she feels as if "Your Gift to Me" has a shot at winning because of the time and dedication put into it.
"I think we'll have a really good chance," she said. "Years have gone into this book. And, it has been No. 1 on the site since last Thursday."
Although Latino wants her book to win, she wants to win fairly. She asks individuals to only vote once. Also, voting is on a scale from 1-10. The vote will only count if it is a "10" so if Atmore residents would like to see Latino's book published, they must give a "10" rating.
Latino said the ratings have been high so far and that has made her feel honored, yet humble.
"It's given me validation that this book is as good as I thought it was," she said. "Emilie Mims sent a letter to the Chamber of Commerce asking them to vote. Before I even saw the letter, people were voting. Some people from Atmore that I don't even know were voting. I really appreciate their support."
Latino said Mims, the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, has been a great support. Also, Latino said she wants everyone to remember Atmore's history and that Mims does a good job in making sure that happens.
"I am determined to preserve Atmore's history," Latino said. "I would like to give Emilie great credit for doing that."
Atmore residents who would like to see Latino's book published should email her at BonLatino@aol.com.
"I really want to thank everybody who has voted," she said.

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