Blog Archive

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let's Talk Christmas Books with Liese Sherwood Fabre

How did you come up with the idea of your most current book?
Reindeer Wars started off as a short story. I saw a feature on Christmas crafts where they recommended using old holiday sweaters as pillow covers (you cut and sew them). The sweater used had been one auctioned off on eBay and there had been a bidding war for it because people like to wear them for “ugly Christmas sweater” parties. Something clicked with me. I thought about two people in a bidding war for one sweater then winding up at the same party. The original story involved only a scene at a party. Then I saw a call for holiday novella and decided to lengthen it. I kept the scene at the party as the climax, but added to the front of the story with more about the hero and heroine.

I had no idea that “ugly Christmas sweater” parties were so popular until I started to research it. Three men in Vancouver, Canada are credited with the creation of the first party in 2001. The annual event grew in popularity, moving to larger and larger venues and now quickly sells out of the 1000 + tickets each year. Not able to make it to Vancouver? You can hold your own party following the directions in the originators’ book Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On.

Thrift stores now report a brisk business each year in old holiday sweaters. I found a really interesting one I’ll be giving away during my own virtual party on facebook.

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
Tina has a tendency to go a little overboard when decorating for the holidays, but Brian decides her skills are just what he needs to get into the Christmas spirit. Can this budding relationship survive when they find themselves in a knock-down-drag-out competition to win the office’s “most outrageous holiday sweater?”

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
The topic dictated that it be a Christmas story. As far as I know, they don’t hold “ugly Fourth-of-July sweater” parties J. I had a lot of fun coming up with some of the ideas for the other sweaters. I had no idea that some of mine were mild compared to what people have posted for some of their creations.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
We have done a lot of traveling, and we try to buy ornaments wherever we go. Getting them out each year to hang on the tree brings back memories of each place we’ve been and the fun we had. I just traveled to Scotland with my sister (she won a week at a Scottish lodge in a raffle) and will be adding some I picked up there this year.

You’ve written a thriller, a compilation of short stories, this new book and have works in progress for what sounds like MG novels. Do you have a genre that you lean to more than others?
I tend to write what I like to read (yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan) and so that’s kind of eclectic. At the same time, my main characters are always women. I consider myself a women’s fiction writer, regardless of genre.

In reading your bio, it seems that you have done a lot of traveling outside the U.S. What would you say is the most misunderstood concepts about the U.S. with people who live outside of the states? What did you look forward to most in returning to the U.S?
I really can’t think of any misconceptions about Americans or the US from those overseas, but I’ve come across Americans who have misconceptions about other countries. After you’ve traveled a while, you learn not to expect things to be just like in the US. What’s the use of traveling if it’s the same as where you’re from? Learning to be patient, accepting, and respectful will get you far wherever you go.

As far as returning, I was most glad to see my family. After ten years abroad we moved back to my hometown. Both my parents passed within the last four years, and I was glad to be in town and spend the last years with them and my siblings.

What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)
I’m currently working on a second thriller. This one is set in Mexico and is loosely based on the Lori Berenson case. In mine, a young woman is arrested by the Mexican army and charged with terrorism—only in this case, the woman is the daughter of a U.S. Senator.

And then there’s my virtual Outrageous Holiday Sweater Party starting December 1 on Facebook. You’ll be able to post photos of your sweater, comment on others, and have a chance to win a prize, including an outrageous holiday sweater of your own!

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
I’ve been very fortunate to receive several, but I guess I’m most proud of the EPPIE thriller final for Saving Hope. To have your debut novel recognized by such an organization is pretty thrilling. Other awards include my short story, “Stranger in the Village,” that won first-place in The Briar Cliff Review short fiction contest and then was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

How can readers follow your news?
I have a newsletter that comes out sporadically and can be joined through my Website: Also you can follow me through Facebook
(!/liese.sherwoodfabre), Twitter @lsfabre, and the Plotting

Any last words?
Please drop by the Facebook page for your chance at a copy of Reindeer Wars, a gift card, or your own outrageous sweater.


  1. Very nice interview. I enjoyed reading about you and your work, Liese. The ugly Christmas sweater parties sound like fun. Never heard of them. Love the cover of your book.Best of luck.

  2. Thanks. Drop by my facebook page and join the party! Lots of prizes!