For Gloria O'Donnell of St. Thomas, Pa., a freelance writer, columnist and photographer, a friendship with former President Bill Clinton lasted more than 20 years and resulted in a book published in 2010.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
"Letters From Bill: 20 Years of Correspondence With Bill Clinton" was O'Donnell's first book. Through letters between O'Donnell and Clinton, the book tells the story of their friendship from the time when Clinton was a congressional candidate through his time at the White House.
Though there are many other books that have been written about Clinton, O'Donnell said she wanted "to present another side to him that I didn't think had been presented before."
O'Donnell became involved in Clinton's congressional campaign after she met him in 1974 while attending a lecture he gave in Russellville, Ark. She remained involved in politics for many years, and her friendship with Clinton also continued.
"Friends come from all directions," she said.
For O'Donnell, Clinton wasn't just another politician; he genuinely appreciated all the hard work that people contributed to help him and his campaigns.
One of her favorite letters from Clinton that she included in her book is one in which Clinton expressed his gratitude for every small detail that she and other supporters had contributed to his campaign. This personal quality defined Clinton for O'Donnell.
O'Donnell said one reason she wanted to write the book was that she wanted "to encourage people not to be afraid to get involved in politics."
"Once you believe in something or someone, there's a lot you can do," she said, adding that people can be a part of the process and learn from it.
"I did learn a lot about myself, and I did learn a lot (about) public relations, and a lot about meeting people and networking with people," O'Donnell said.
In writing this book, O'Donnell wanted to be genuine and candid about her experiences and her friendship with Clinton.
"I wanted an open and honest book," she said, adding that one of the hardest parts of writing it was having to extract some of her own feelings about the story and tell it as it was.
O'Donnell said she kept letters and journal entries that helped her as she wrote the book and she also conducted some of her own research to verify for accuracy.
When the book was completed and published in 2010, she even received praise for her work from Clinton himself.
"I sent him a copy of the book, and he wrote back and said that he loved the book and it brought back a lot of good memories," O'Donnell said.
O'Donnell published a revised edition of "Letters From Bill" in 2011 with Storyline Publishing, a company that O'Donnell owns. The new edition includes some more recent correspondence from Bill Clinton through March 2011, she said.
O'Donnell hoped the book would convey a message to readers about the impact a person can have even if their role is small.
"Whatever you do impacts someone else," she said, "I was honored to have been included in something that impacted America."