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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let's Talk Christmas Books with Jim Vinson

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas book?
I'm generally interested in the origins of things; words, idioms, cultural practices, etc. The air of sanctity that surrounds Christmas traditions confuses and fascinates me, so I suppose you could say I've been researching the topic for over a decade at this point. In the end I guess I just launched into one too many diatribes at Christmas parties, and took people seriously when they said "You should write a book about this stuff."

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?The book is a collection of what are essentially humorous anecdotes about the historical origins of various Christmas traditions and icons. Some of the simplest concepts ended up being incredibly convoluted once I started digging into them, so I chose to emphasize brevity and succinctness of the narrative threads. If you've ever wondered why the hell people hang up stockings and then fill them with small gifts, this is probably a good book for you.

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
After years and years of causally researching Xmas-themed topics for the sole purpose of irritating friends and family around the holidays, I felt I should inflict what I'd learned on the rest of the world.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Well, binge drinking and gorging on baked goods comes to mind. I'm fairly certain that without the feasting elements, Christmas would just be a dour Christian religious holiday, not the secular bacchanal it is. My favorite modern holiday tradition is the Amazon Wish List... I do so love watching people pretend to be surprised when they open a gift they specially selected and knew someone purchased for them.

Are you more of a Christmas Grinch or do you look forward to the Christmas holidays?

I resolutely believe that a "Grinch" role is actually required to provide contrast for the more gleeful Christmas adherents. Much like Ebenezer Scrooge, the "Bah, humbug!"-type folks embody a sort of straw-man counterargument that is easily dismissed by the Xmas faithful. Personally, I take no side... I feel it's best to just submit to the holiday and let it have it's way with you. They say the only way to survive being picked up by a tornado is to go limp and just let it take you where it will... that is my exact Christmas strategy.

Your bio says you are “a character of dubious origins.” Is this a pseudonym or your real name?
Nope, that's my real name. I am fairly dubious in general, however.

When you are not writing Christmas books but other fiction or non-fiction writing do you do?
Living in Los Angeles means I write lots of spec screenplays. Lots. 

If you would like to learn more about Jim writing or buy the book, here are the links:
 To buy the book from Amazon
 To go to his website

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