WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Donna Demaio-Hunt, who grew up in Holden, said she gave up on her childhood dream of a career in music long before TV's "American Idol" ever became a concept.
But that didn't stop the show from dredging up memories of what could have been.
"In some way or another, I always had a dream of being a recording artist," she said.
Hunt, who graduated from Anna Maria College with a degree in psychology, became a school guidance counselor. And it wasn't until she became a stay-at-home mom that she decided to start writing.
Her book, "Reaching Out to the Stars: American Idol Dreams" was published in 2011, and "changed direction" several times for the confessed addict of the show.
Demaio-Hunt will conduct a book signing of the self-published work at Tatnuck Booksellers from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 24.
"This book is basically how this show affected my life in my last eight years," Hunt said. "It's meant to be an inspiring book. It pretty much says 'you may not do this in your life, but you have to follow it though and do the things that make you happy.'"
Now living in Rutland with her husband and two children, Demaio-Hunt said she attempted to shop the book around to publishers after she initially completed her work in 2010. After about a year, she decided to self-publish. She said the biggest difficulty she's run into is advertising, because she's just one person trying to get the word out.
One of her biggest successes so far:
"Steven Tyler has a copy of my book," She said.
The book signing is one of several she has planned over the past year, including events at Holden Days and the Rutland Public Library. Hunt said she would like to branch out into the Boston and Hyannis areas to help develop recognition of her work there.
Now that her children are both of school age, 6 and 8 years old, Demaio-Hunt said she has drafted a few children's and reality-based books, but has no concrete plans as to when she may begin writing. She said she's also considered going back to work as a school guidance counselor or psychologist.
Hunt said completing a published work, which is available for purchase on Amazon, is something very special to her.
"It's just really cool even when you get that first copy and you hold it in your hands," she said.
"It's not about money for me, it's about the thrill and doing something that not everyone does."