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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's Talk Christmas Books with Tara Pollard

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas book?
There is a poem in the story that becomes a focal point directing the action. It was the poem that was written first, by several years actually, and the story somehow emerged from that.  By “somehow” I mean that I think that for many writers, it is a complete mystery where ideas come from.  For many, I am convinced they are “inspired” and the stories write themselves.  For me, I think that is what happened. 
This Christmas story focuses on the inspirational and spiritual aspects of Christmas.  Believe it or not, I would sit in a Sunday service at my church, and while trying to listen to a very interesting sermon, my mind would wander and the story would just present itself.
Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?

Season is a young golden dog of mixed breed, (could be part Golden Retriever and another smaller breed) who is best friends with his master's little girl, Melissa. But in the days before Christmas, a canopy of darkness covers the skies, ash blankets the ground, and the land seems to wither and die. Worse yet, his little friend becomes seriously ill. Melissa needs sunshine and clean air to survive and Season, left alone to worry as she is rushed to the hospital, becomes desperate for a way to save her. He makes a fateful decision to embark on a dangerous quest to search for a way to end the darkness.

Season learns the darkness is a rare catastrophe of historic proportions that could even possibly end the world, as well as Melissa. As he sets out on a frightening journey of magic and mystery, he encounters battles with heartless forest creatures that constantly test his courage, perseverance and intuition. From the dark forest to the highest mountaintop, Season finds a perilous world in the wild, but he is about to discover just how dangerous it really can be as he ventures ever further to the ultimate battle of survival.
 What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book? 
The first questions I asked myself before I began writing the book was, “What would happen if man failed his mandate on Earth? How would the rest of creation handle it? Would they…could they…come to the rescue?  Christmas has always been my favorite time of year because when I was growing up it was magical in every aspect. It was at Christmas-time that people were suddenly happy with anticipation of wonderful things to come. 
One day life was normal and the next there were tinsel decorated trees, twinkling stores, and even street lights that glittered with silvery light.  There was, in some places, snow to play in, the magic of Santa Claus, the legend of talking animals, gifts that miraculously appeared beneath the Christmas tree and, of course, the mystery of the birth of the Christ child that Christmas was named for with all the music that went along with that. What better time to drop an “end of the world” scenario into the mix and watch a miracle of Christmas unfold?
Here is a quote from the book, “Mankind has a mandate to care for the earth and all that is within it, especially the animals, and an animal should never be placed in a position where he needs to be concerned about such things. But this is not that time.”
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? 
Traditions have a tendency to change over the years.  There are certain ones from childhood that just don’t carry over as an adult.  But when new children are added to the family, some of those become resurrected again. There is always the fun of shopping and gift giving, families getting together, Christmas parties to attend, driving around to look at displays on private homes and businesses, caroling, etc.  As to decorating, I would go so crazy on the interior of my home that it looked like a Christmas store at times.  I suppose that came from growing up in the Air Force without much money for decorations. 
One of my fondest memories as a child was the year my sister artistically wrapped garland around the dining room chandelier and I used aluminum foil to decorate the outside front door. My mom made a glittery clock with the hour set permanently to one minute before midnight. We traveled a lot so I was able to see many different traditions from other walks of life, but that clock always made its way onto the wall every Christmas.
One day, when my daughter was young, I discovered a home-made Advent calendar in someone’s home.  She had a simple gift for her child for every day of the Advent. The idea was so incredible to me that I rushed home and made my own and it became an instant Christmas tradition. I made pockets for each day and filled each pocket with a small wrapped gift. It seemed to take forever to wrap 24 little gifts, but it was so much fun because each day my daughter would leap out of bed and rush to get that gift. One day it could be a piece of candy and the next day there might be a little money to collect so she could buy her own gifts for people. As the month went on, her gift might be a piece of paper directing her to a scavenger hunt. Since then, I have seen many extravagant Advent calendars for sale, with little doors that open for the gifts. I guess the idea caught on.

Are you more of a Christmas Grinch or do you look forward to the Christmas holidays?
I guess that by now you know the answer to that one. I love the Grinch though. I love the way he begins so hurt, angry and vindictive and is completely changed by the end because of the love of a child. You find out that he was not so bad after all is said and done…he was just lonely and misunderstood. The story is genius.
When you are not writing Christmas books, what other fiction or non-fiction writing do you do?
Season’s Christmas Quest: The Dog’s Story is my first book. I have written some poetry that I have mostly kept to myself, mainly because it seems that most people are not too interested in poetry these days. I mention something to that effect in the story, but with the conclusion that it is sometimes wrong not to share inspired words that can heal and help. There is a quote in the book that says, “Human words are very powerful—even simple ones. They can create or they can destroy, depending on what is said and how it is said. If people understood the significance of that, they would choose their words much more wisely.”
But poetry gives me an opportunity to focus my thoughts and be creative in the meantime. I do write on my on my website and Facebook pages though. It is good to get feedback on my thoughts and sometimes people get into some heavy discussions. Some of those I have had to delete as some topics become fuel for fire for some people. I do like to read a lot and I will give a review for books I like. I try not to criticize anyone else's work because I feel that is disrespectful to their creativeness and, honestly, we all have our own opinions and our opinions have a tendency to change with time. What I don't like today, I may love tomorrow.
Do you have any other books in process now? If so can you give me some details?

I am working on another adventure for Season, but it won’t be set at Christmas next time. My first thought is Halloween where maybe he can get into some trouble with some otherworldly beings...
If you would like to purchase a signed copy of the book, it can be ordered through PayPal from her website . No shipping charges for signed copies. 
Here's an option for purchase from Barnes & Noble or Amazon
Hardbound, Softbound, Nook and Kindle are all available.

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