Author features Wilmington’s gems in new novel

Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A teacher’s new book, inspired by the life of a late student, features several Wilmington locations.

Courtney Turcotte Bond’s book, Breathtaking, will be available and on bookstore shelves Sept. 1.

The teacher-turned-author, who lives in Kansas, said she taught Madison Taliaferro for several years. Taliaferro had cystic fibrosis. A lung transplant from organ donor Alex Lott, a teen who died in a tragic accident, allowed Taliaferro to live until the age of 18.

“She was too sick to come to school and I was her home-bound teacher,” Turcotte Bond explained. “I met her at her house three nights a week for two years and got to know her very well so she has this really incredible story with her organ donor, who is from Mississippi and he was a teenage boy who had an accident and passed away from that. His lungs were going to Madison and they gave her a chance to live an extra six years. So they are the inspiration behind the story.”

She said the book follows childhood friends, Karen and Adam.

“Their bedroom windows face each other, they are next-door neighbors and she has this life that looks perfect from the outside looking in but everything is crumbling on the inside and so she escapes by writing and confiding in her best friend, Adam.”

Part of the book is based in Wilmington, and includes places like Old Books on Front, Dixie Grill, UNCW and Wrightsville Beach.

“I needed the end of the plot to be near the ocean and it’s also when the main character is in college so I needed her to attend a college at the ocean,” she explained. “My cousin’s husband attended UNC Wilmington and so I asked him a little bit about that and when he was telling me about it it just seemed like the perfect place. So, last summer my husband and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and we wanted to go somewhere and I said why don’t we go to Wilmington so I can do some research for my book. We went out there and absolutely loved it. It was just the most charming town I’ve ever been to and I managed to incorporate lots of little gems and I think that the locals in Wilmington will get a kick out of it.”

She said her characters explore Old Books on Front in one chapter.

“There are just so many little things in that store in real life that I incorporated, like the quote that they have by the checkout and the machine where you can play an audiobook like a jukebox,” she said.

Old Books on Front will carry the book. It will also be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, iBooks and Kobo.

Turcotte Bond said Taliaferro knew that she was the inspiration of the book, but, sadly, she died before the work was complete.

Part of the proceeds from Breathtaking benefit the Madison Taliaferro Memorial Scholarship and the Alex Lott Memorial Scholarship.

More details can be found here.

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