Western Springs author spins tale of Reverse Santa Claus
Western Springs resident Dennis Canfield's book deals with a "Reverse Santa Claus."
Book: South Pole Santa — Return to Christmas
Author: Western Springs resident Dennis Canfield
Other career: Financial adviser for Northwest Mutual Financial Network
Available: Through Amazon in paperback print, Kindle or an audio version
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:33AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Marmel the Elf doesn’t understand Christmas at all.
Neither do the Krumwerths, an affluent family residing in an apartment near Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Given this extreme situation, Santa decides to take radical action. He calls in the services of Reverse Santa Claus, who resides at the South Pole, to teach the Krumwerths, and Marmel, the true meaning of Christmas.
This potentially dire scenario sets the opening for South Pole Santa — Back to Christmas, a story written by Dennis Canfield and targeted toward grade school children. While listening to the radio with his wife and hearing a story focused on a family who had “way too much,” Canfield declared that family actually needed Reverse Santa Claus.
Contrary to what the name may imply, Reverse Santa Claus doesn’t really take things away. At least, not things that matter. Instead, the role of Reverse Santa Claus is to remind each of us that the hustle of the holiday season — the shopping, the lights and baubles, the wrapping or even the gifts under the tree — does not represents the heart of the holiday season.
In the case of the Krumwerths, their possessions had actually come to possess each of them, serving as distractions that distanced each family member away from the others. It is left to Reverse Santa Claus to put the Krumwerths back on the right course.
“I’ve tried to create a story that the whole family would enjoy,” Canfield said.
Canfield uses about 25,000 words to relate his story, which is rendered over 90 pages and features six illustrations by Bryan Burke and a cover illustration by Matt Jones.
In book terms, Canfield’s tale is considered a novella, longer than the 15,000 words in a typical short story but much briefer than the 50,000 words in a conventional adult novel. It is actually a bit shorter than Charles Dickens’ iconic Christmas story A Christmas Carol, which runs 30,000 words, Canfield explained.
Canfield, who does not consider himself a full-time writer, completed the first draft of the book in about a week. However, the editing process required more than six months before Canfield and his editor, Susan May Warren of My Book Therapy, had settled on a version they were both happy with.
“She was a tremendous help in editing the story,” Canfield said.
Canfield said the he has received overwhelmingly positive reactions for his book from reviewers and the general public alike. The story seems to resonate with readers who identify with its hopeful message.
“What I want people to take away from the book — that has to do with the way technology has changed the ways we communicate with each other. Not all of these changes have been for the better,” he said. “One objective I hope my story accomplishes is to raise this issue with readers in a lighthearted way that may even lead to some discussions within families about this issue.”