Short novel has Parkersburg flavor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Parkersburg native Mysty Westfall has written a novella titled “Christmas at The News and Sentinel.”

Westfall, a 1983 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, never worked at The News and Sentinel nor does she know anyone who has worked at the Parkersburg newspaper.

So why the title?

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel is a local landmark, Westfall replied.

“When the story developed and the main character became a writer, it made sense for her to come back and work at the paper,” Westfall said.

“In some way Francesca (the main character) is my alter ego,” Westfall wrote in an email.

Westfall and Francesca have similarities. “I have written about Art for a design magazine and I am a crazy coffee snob…,” Westfall said.

The short Christmas novel, 56-pages long, involves Francesca “Frankie” Tavenner, a Parkersburg South High School graduate who attends Columbia University in New York City. Frankie later lands a job as a columnist and editor of the Arts Section at The Observer newspaper in New York.

She is enjoying working and living in New York when her father, Franklin Tavenner, managing editor and publisher of the News and Sentinel, has a heart attack.

Frankie returns to Parkersburg to see her father.

Westfall, who lives in Nashville, said the idea for the story developed from her visits to Parkersburg at Christmas to see her family. Her parents are Robert Westfall and Jackie Barnett, both of Parkersburg, and several of her six sisters live here.

“It (novella) is nostalgic. My memories of Christmases in Parkersburg,” she said.

Westfall believes she has written a heart-warming story. It is a fictional story, but features many Parkersburg landmarks (historic and present day), she said.

She is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Westfall is the author of “Ready to Dream: How I Found My Purpose After 40”.

She is the owner of Westfall Creative, a boutique book publishing house in Nashville.

Although she has lived in Nashville for nearly 20 years, Westfall said she loves her hometown of Parkersburg.

“Christmas at The News and Sentinel” will be available Nov. 15 at J&M’s Used Book Store, 1215 Blizzard Drive in Parkersburg, and from

Westfall said she is in the early stages of working on a sequel.

“Since this is a novella, I will likely combine the two and publish it as a collection – for next Christmas,” she said.