Debbie asked me what made me write this novel (beyond the contract, you may ask). J
A Woodland Christmas is an example of the patience school of writing Christian fiction. We originally prepared the proposal in 2007. In 2008 we learned the editor hadn’t ever received it, so we sent it in again. She asked if she could hold on to it for another year, and we received contracts in 2009. Now the book has seen the light of day.
I knew Barbour prefers geographically-themed stories, and I started with places I knew: Colorado (Snowbound Colorado Christmas); Oklahoma (not sold); New England (next year’s novella, Christmas at the Barncastle Inn); and Texas (my later proposal, Wild West Christmas, came out later).
I put out a feeler on the Barbour’s author loop and received an avalanche of interested parties; we ended up putting together two novella teams, one contemporary Texas, one historical.
And Ramona Cecil, on the historical team, had written an award-winning historical Christmas novella. Perfect! I believe Janelle Mowery came up with the idea of the woodcarver Gabe Noell and his “sawdust sermons.” We chose the Piney Woods as an appropriate backdrop for a woodcarver ... and we had our skeleton.
As for my story, The Face of Mary, I was fascinated by the idea of a romance between an artist seeking inspiration for Mary’s figure in his painting—and the woman who embodied Mary’s spirit. I borrowed liberally from the biblical narrative, including their names (Mary “Polly” Jessup and Joseph “Joey” Carpenter) as well as Mary’s engagement at a young age. Joey teases Polly that he’ll marry her when he returns from college, and she takes him seriously.
I also found myself writing out of my pain about my mother’s mental decline as I gave Polly’s father a nineteenth century version of Alzheimers. God was faithful to the Jessups, as He was to me and my mother.
God took a three year old idea and brought it to life. His choice for the mother of His Son inspired my character. And His faithfulness gave me courage to write about Polly’s father. I guess you could say this story is all about God!
I'm going to start posting the winners of the drawing so you know who's winning these wonderful books!
Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, October 11th