The Magic of Christmas and The Secret to Success How PC SCE Alumna and Author Has Captured Them Both
Christmas wishes are magical. Sometimes, they come true. But most times it’s up to us to make our wishes come true all on our own. Andrea Twombly ‘SCE14 knows this well. In the last four years Twombly, who is now 60, has earned a long-desired bachelor’s degree and has become a published author of three Christmas stories (with more to come) – all while helping to run her family’s fourth-generation manufacturing business. Although perhaps not as whimsical as her Christmas stories, Twombly’s own personal story inspires a special kind of magic all its own.
Along with her brother, Twombly runs Guyot Brothers Co., a manufacturer of decorative brass stampings and filigrees based in Massachusetts since 1904. The company’s products can be seen in jewelry, Faberge eggs, stained glass windows and more. Though Twombly and her brother have been running the successful business for decades, she says she was always a bit disappointed that she never continued her education beyond an associate’s degree.
“Not having a degree wasn’t a barrier to promotion for me, but it was a hankering to finish what I had started,” she says. “It bothered me for years that I hadn’t gone the whole way with my education. It was an accomplishment that I wanted to achieve for myself.”
So, she enrolled in the Liberal Studies bachelor’s degree program at Providence College School of Continuing Education. In 2014 she finished the program and earned not only the bachelor’s degree she’d wanted for so long but, unbeknownst to her at the time, the foundation that would lead to her becoming the author of a short story that would become Amazon’s 112th most popular book just three months later.
“Going back to school and doing the writing for the coursework was the catalyst to get me writing again; it gave me the confidence and the discipline to sit down and write,” Twombly says. “Marcia Harrop’s children’s and adolescent literature classes were an inspiration. I took both of those classes in part because of the requirement to write a story and present it to the class. And I’m grateful to Gerry Schnell and Carol Bedard for all of their positive feedback on my journals at the end of their theology courses as well.”
Around that same time, Twombly began following an independent author and publisher, Annie Acorn, on Twitter.
“She promoted some of her books on Twitter and I saw one that she had posted, “A Tired Older Woman Loses Weight and Keeps it Off.” I read it and thought it was interesting and helpful, so I emailed her about how I enjoyed the book. She answered within a day. We struck up a conversation by e-mail and she asked if I write. I’d always liked to write but had never written for publication. She said that every year she publishes a treasury of Christmas stories and she invited me to write one,” Twombly recalls.
The result was Christmas at the Inn, Twombly’s first published story, which was included in Annie Acorn’s 2015 Christmas Treasury and also published on its own for e-readers. Next came Mildred Sauer’s Christmas Gift in 2016. This year Twombly published Amey’s Rocker, another Christmas story based on an act of kindness that Twombly experienced herself. Both of those last two stories were included in Annie Acorn’s Christmas Anthology as well, available in print and for e-readers.
“I’m delighted with [the success I’ve had] but just astonished that here I am, because I know there are people who have written wonderful things that have never seen the light of day. The stars just all aligned for me, from my experience at PC to Annie Acorn actually returning my e-mail,” Twombly says.
Perhaps the stars did align for Twombly; but she was also aware and brave enough to seize the opportunities presented to her – and that is more likely the secret to her success and the magic of her story.
That success is already set to continue for Twombly, who has two more stories in the works; next year’s Christmas story (a fairy tale) and a sequel to Christmas at the Inn, which is turning into a novel. All of Twombly’s books are available on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com and kobo.com.