I recently had the opportunity to read a wonderful book, The Christmas Village, by Melissa Ann Goodwin, as part of the WOW Blog Tour. This book is geared towards children ages 8-12, but will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. .In addition to reading Melissa's book, I had the opportunity to interview her, and am including her responses below for you to enjoy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the idea?
The Christmas Village is the story of Jamie, a 12 year old boy whose father has recently left under rather mysterious circumstances. Jamie is sad, hurt and angry, and wishes that he could live in a perfect place where nothing ever changes – a place like his grandma’s miniature Christmas Village. One night just before Christmas, Jamie’s wish magically comes true. But things aren’t quite what they seem – even in the Christmas Village there are unexpected dangers. It’s a fast-paced and suspenseful holiday adventure in which Jamie tries to help his friends in the village, while trying to get back home for Christmas.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I got the idea from looking at my own miniature Christmas Village and wondering what it would be like to live there.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
It wasn’t intentional, it just happened. I do enjoy writing for the pre-teen age group because I am very in touch with my 10-year-old self. When I was 10, I knew that I wanted to write books like the ones I liked to read. So maybe that’s why I wrote that kind of book as my first novel.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
There’s not much that I don’t like, as long as it’s well written. My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird. My favorite children’s book is The Secret Garden. I love cozy mysteries like the ones Louise Penny writes. I could read Mary Stewart stories every day for the rest of my life. I love historical fiction and cop thrillers. I especially like Michael Connelly and Sue Grafton. Recently, I enjoyed Unbroken, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Help. And I love the Harry Potter series.
What’s typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I write on my laptop, in my comfy chair. I don’t really have a “typical” working day – each one is different. I set high level goals, like finishing the book in a certain timeframe. Then I manage my day-to- day effort toward that overall goal, rather than to a rigid daily goal. I just write until I run out of steam, whether that’s four hours or just one. I also think that taking time away from writing is very important. I often get my best inspiration when I’ve stepped away from it for a while.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
There is a point when I’m into the story a little way, and I can see where I want it to go. But the idea of the actual detailed writing that needs to happen to get me from here to there feels overwhelming. That’s when I remember writer Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. The title refers to the time that Anne’s brother was writing a report about birds, and he became overwhelmed because there were so many different kinds. Their father calmed him down by telling him to just “take it bird by bird.” So, when I feel overwhelmed like that, I just try to take it word by word to move the story forward.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
At a recent book signing, I was sitting at the table in the bookstore, signing extra books during an afternoon lull. A nine-year-old boy walked over and asked what my book was about. I described the story and off he went. A few minutes later, he came back with his mother in tow. He showed her my book and begged her to get it for him. For me, that is the best part – when a little boy likes the idea of my story so much that he begs his mother to get him the book.
What are you working on now?
My next project is another novel. It’s young adult historical fiction, inspired by my mother’s experiences in Wales at the start of World War II.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Don’t ever let anyone scare you away from writing. People will say, “It’s not practical.” Or, “You’re not good enough.” Or, “It’s too hard to get published.” When they say these things, you must do this: Stick your fingers in your ears and sing “LALALALALALALALA.” Don’t you dare listen to them! Do what you love. Love what you do. Keep going, step by step, day by day, word by word, and tune them out.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer that question?
All right, I’d like to be asked: If you could be a character from literature, who would it be and why?
And my answer would be: I’d like to be Robin Hood! He camps out in the woods with his friends. They play hide and seek from the bad guys. They play tricks on the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. He shoots a bow and arrow. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He speaks with an English accent. I mean, really, who is cooler or has more fun than Robin Hood?
I hope you all enjoyed my interview with Melissa Ann Goodwin, author of The Christmas Village. If you or your child are looking for a great book to read this holiday season while snuggling up next to the fire, or while unwinding at nigh time, you should definitely check out this book. I enjoyed reading it, and have passed it along to family and friends, of all ages. Each person who reads this book can't stop raving about it, and all said it put them in the holiday spirit.
One lucky reader will win a copy of this book, thanks to the author. I will make this giveaway easy to enter. Simply leave a comment below letting me know why you want to win this book? Who would it be for?
I will draw a winner from the US (No PO Boxes) on 12/5, giving you time to receive the book before the holidays. I will use Random.org to draw a winner. The winner will have 24 hrs. to respond to my email in order to claim the prize. If I don't hear back within 24 hrs., then I will have to draw another winner.
About the Author:
Melissa Ann Goodwin treasures fond memories of a happy and carefree childhood growing up in Andover, Massachusetts. She is especially grateful for the many wonderful teachers there, who encouraged her to read the books that inspired her to become a writer. She now lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her husband, artist J. Richard Secor. Melissa has written many stories, poems and articles for children's magazines, and her non-fiction pieces have appeared in national magazines and regional newspapers. The Christmas Village is her first novel for children.
Melissa Ann Goodwin
The Christmas Village
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the author for participating in this book hop. The views above are mine and mine alone.