As we move to the heart of the holiday season, it's really coming down to the wire to get those wonderful holiday-themed books to read or to give to your friends. I've worked on holiday-themed stories in the past and I know how tight the deadlines can be and how hard it can be to come up with special books aimed at a certain time of the year. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is Kathy Otten. She was with us a few weeks ago and she is back with a new holiday book, Ordinary Angel.
Kathy, what are the joys and difficulties of writing a story for the holidays?
time line is my biggest problem. I start to get in the mood at Christmas time
and come up with a story idea. I work with a small press and for a story to
come out for the following Christmas, it needs to be submitted by February.
Which doesn’t give me enough time to write it, which means it would have to be
written during that year and submitted the following February in order to come
out that next Christmas, two years after my original idea. That’s why I write
holiday novellas. For me a year isn’t enough time to research and write a whole
novel. I don’t write that fast and I’ve got several other projects going at the
same time as well as family and a full-time job.
I love writing them because it’s fun to incorporate all the elements of
Christmas I enjoy, but with a historical twist. The characters and their
stories are a way to remind people that Christmas is about making memories,
family, friends, giving of ourselves and love. Things we tend to lose sight of
the rest of the year.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season.
A lifetime of polite indifference is all Julianne Spencer sees when she envisions a future with her current suitor, Mr. Terrel Lee Parker. She is looking for someone more passionate, more heroic, who can love her for who she really is, and not the proper young lady she pretends to be.
Her future seems hopeless until Christmas Eve, when fate drops a wounded outlaw at her door and she comes to realize true heroes can be found inside even ordinary men.
Let's talk to Julianne, and find out more about her story:
Julianne, can you tell us a little about
Yes, I live in Ashville, Colorado. It’s a
small town surrounded by small outlying ranches. I’m the youngest. My sisters
are all married and have started their own families. My father is a doctor. I
help him out when he’s busy, though my mother doesn’t approve. I enjoy singing
and I help out with the annual Christmas pageant at church.
Have you been lucky in love?
No, I’ve had several suitors,
but they have always bowed out early in our courtship. Mother blames me. She
constantly reminds me I’m a young lady and that I need to mind my tongue and
comport myself appropriately. But I can’t see how any of it was my fault. Mr.
Paul Carson dropped his suit because he saw me take a ride on Sue Ellen
Pomfret’s velocipede. My skirt blew up and people were able to see above my
ankles. Niles Rutledge thought I was flaunting myself like a painted lady
because I was swimming in the pond. I had on my chemise and drawers. It’s not
my fault those boys were spying on me. And Howard Benton took offense because I
told him his mother was better off divorced, than to stay married to Howard’s
father, who is a cruel, sadistic man with a terrible temper.
What did you think of Terrel Lee
Parker at first?
Mr. Parker is a fine southern gentleman. I
thought him a handsome man, but stuffy. All we ever talked about was the
weather, or what a fine sermon the reverend gave. I could not see a future with
him, other than one of polite indifference.
Did you feel an immediate attraction
to Terrel Lee?
Not many men wear spectacles,
but Mr. Parker looks quite fine in them. He has a battered hat he wears
constantly, with the brim pulled low. My friend Maggie thinks he should buy a
new hat, but somehow that old hat suits him. There were times when we were
alone, I’d see him looking at me, and I’d just wish he’d grab me and kiss me,
really kiss me. I understand him better now. He was not only raised to be a
gentleman, but he was painfully shy.
What do you see for your future together?
Lots of happy years. I love living at his
ranch. Watching the sunset from the front porch is something we do almost every
day. And it’s all right if he doesn’t say a word. There are layers to Mr.
Parker, and like a gift inside a gift, I unwrap a new one every day.
What is your favorite thing about Christmas?
Trimming the tree. We string popcorn and
cranberries for garland. After the Christmas Eve pageant we light the candles
on the tree and sit in the dark. He puts his arm around me and pulls me close.
He never says much, but I can feel his love. We eat a few Christmas cookies. I
know his favorite now. It’s quiet and peaceful. I love him.
Thank you, Julianne, and thank you, Kathy, for bringing us another special romance.
Here is the information to contact Kathy and to buy Ordinary Angel.