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09 December 2010

Christmas Week #1--Chat with Authors

All about the authors!
Rachael Phillips, author of Ride Me into Christmas
Former music director Rachael Phillips owes her unplanned writing career to a church secretary who demanded newsletter articles at gunpoint. An Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award winner, Rachael's work has elicited giggles from moms, Rotary Club members and Harley bikers alike. Active in her church, Rachael cherishes her quiet times with God. Sometimes she fasts and prays. Other times, she and the Lord share lattes and macadamia cookies. Rachael and her very patient husband Steve have three children and four perfect grandchildren. They enjoy watching sports, talking theology, and riding their tandem bicycle. They have never crashed--so far.   
Shawna K. Williams, author Orphaned Hearts
Shawna K. Williams writes, "I'm a Christian, wife and stay-at-homeschooling mom of three wonderful teenagers. We live on a ranch and have an extended family of doggies and kitties, pigmy goats, miniature horses and other critters. I love old houses, especially the abandoned ones --though I wish I could fix every one of them up. I usually just snap a picture so when the house falls something will remain. I like to hike, rock hunt, read about ancient history and geology, read period, and make jewelry. My hope is that I will be able to share the glory of God's Grace through my writing."
Authors Interview with Amanda Flower
Amanda: You both have children in your Christmas-themed stories. Do you have a favorite Christmas memory from your childhood?
Rachael: My parents were missionaries in Mexico when I was a preschooler, and Christmas was a strange, colorful event. We decorated a Christmas thorn tree surrounded by angel hair and a Nativity set. My mother made a black-and-white polka-dotted dress for my doll Julie. Juan, the handyman on the mission station, made my sister and I two doll beds from scrap lumber, and Mom sewed little blankets after she finished bigger ones for our soon-to-be-born brother. We had plenty of fruit--oranges and tangerines grew in our back yard--and what seemed to me a wealth of candy. My folks passed out bags and bags of it to poor children who crowded our back porch. My blindfolded dad clowned for them and finally whacked the pinata to pieces. Two brothers, the poorest in the village, grabbed the biggest prize!    
Shawna: I can't say that I have one particular Christmas memory that stands out as my favorite. What I do know is that Christmas brings a wealth of memories from my childhood that sort of jumble into this wonderful cozy feeling centered around time spent with family at my grandparents' house. There are smells, sounds and objects that trigger this feeling:  the scent of pine, the smell of wood burning, creaking wood floors, crunchy leaves underfoot, the woods, trains, blackberry jam, crystal chandeliers, funny shaped Christmas trees, a fat red and white Basset Hound or a dingy white German Sheppard, snow and the sound of gravel beneath rolling tires. None of these would mean anything if they hadn't been accompanied with tons of laughter and love. This was Nonnie and Papa's house at Christmas time, and it was the most magical place in the world.
Amanda: What's the best Christmas gift you ever received?
Rachael: When I was an awkward eleven-year-old, I wanted white ice skates so badly I dreamed about them. My mother told me we couldn't afford them, and I'd have to continue to rent the ugly brown ones at the rink. I drooped in despair. But on Christmas morning, I opened a big package, and there they were: perfect white ice skates that magically transformed me into an ice fairy. My family went skating Christmas night, and I'll never forget the silvery snow falling as I twirled on the ice, wearing my new skates.    
Shawna:  My Kindle! Hubby surprised me with it. It was something I mentioned once after signing my contract with Desert Breeze in August of 2009. I secretly wanted one so bad, but at the time they were nearly $300, so I kind of dismissed it as a possibility. Hubby isn't really a surprise kind of guy, and he's usually a last minute shopper. It totally shocked me that he not only bought me one, after that one little mention, but that he'd planned it long before Christmas. It actually ended up being an early Christmas gift because he was so excited to give it to me he couldn't help himself. It was the cutest thing ever!
Amanda: Why do you think novels and stories about Christmas are so popular among readers?
Rachael: Because most of us, despite our gripes, love the holiday! Christmas is a time when people, deep in their hearts, want to go home--and for many reasons, often can't.  Christmas stories attempt to take us home. I think God uses them to nudge people toward Him and their forever home. At Christmas, I pray every word other Christian authors and I have written will be like the fragrance of fresh-baked Christmas cookies, drawing them to Christ.   
Shawna: There's just something about Christmas! It's cause to celebrate our faith and family. I think nostalgia plays a huge factor. We remember the innocence of being a child -- the excitement and anticipation. As parents' we've been able to pass that on to our own children. I think we seek to submerse ourselves in the season and celebrate every aspect through all of our senses; music, food, sights, and stories, too. They're a wonderful build up to the big day.

Have more questions for Rachael and Shawna?  Leave a comment!
Thank you Ladies for taking part in Clash of the Titles this week!
Check back tomorrow to see our winner and runner-up revealed!
Don't forget the drawing for a free book from one of these authors.  Those winners will be announced tomorrow as well!
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Item Reviewed: Christmas Week #1--Chat with Authors Rating: 5 Reviewed By: April Gardner