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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Romance Unexpected: Author Interview with Jan Elder

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas themed book?
A couple of years ago, the jewelry store right up the road from my husband and I was robbed. The saleswoman we know best was threatened by the criminal. When she was relating the story of how the kid had pointed a gun at her face—half scaring her to death—I could feel her trembling angst down to my tippy toes. And thus, a story was born!

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
On a bright, crisp December morning, jewelry store manager, Peridot Keaton-Jones, arrives at work expecting to find her beloved uncle, Marty. Instead, she’s greeted by the muzzle of a gun pressed to her temple. When thugs assault her, threaten her life, and steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, Peri can only pray her uncle is late for the first time in his life.

Christopher Lane is a TV news cameraman in the right place at the right time. He witnesses the heist, calls the police, and offers help when Peri needs it most. She can't deny her attraction, but is he really her hero, or is he just after a story? And with Christmas right around the corner, can Peri and Chris avert a holiday disaster?

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
The publishing company, Pelican Book Group, does a Christmas Extravaganza each year, putting out a dozen or so books. I’d been impressed with the books I read from the previous years and thought, hey, I can do this! Since they had published my first book, Manila Marriage App, I dashed off a novella (Ha! It took longer than I thought to write a good short book) and I sent it in.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
My mom is also an author and every year she would write a Christmas poem or short story. As part of our Christmas day celebration, she would read her latest creation to my dad, my brother, my sister, and I—after we opened presents and enjoyed a big pancake breakfast, that is. I think that stellar example is one of the main reasons I have always wanted to write. Thanks, Mom!

What’s next? (future books, novellas,  you want to mention)
My third book is coming out in September of 2016. It’s called Love, Lies, and Fireflies, and it’s a full-length Christian romantic suspense novel. The premise of the story? What happens when Mr. Right turns into Mr. Dreadfully Wrong? Can a woman learn to trust again?

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?

Just recently, Manila Marriage App, came in second in the OK Romance Writers of America International Digital Awards contest. Gee, that’s a mouthful, huh? Thanks for asking. I feel very blessed to be recognized.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
If you’re going to be a writer, just get used to the idea that your first draft is going to be yucky. Words do not spring off the tips of the fingers and land on the page in perfect harmony. The important thing to do is just get it down and not worry about how it sounds. After you have something to work with, you can edit, buff, and polish to your heart’s content.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
I wish I had started writing earlier in life. When I hit 50, I figured if I was ever going to do it, I’d better start. I’d been waiting for the perfect time, the perfect office to write in, the perfect idea to pop into my head with a fleshed out storyline and characters that whispered secrets in my ear. Well, those critters do whisper their thoughts, but not until I take the time to get to know them. 

So…if you’re thinking about writing a book, just start. Read good books on how to write. Go to a conference, maybe join a good writers group. Don’t expect it to be perfect. Just…boot up your computer and strike those keys!

Any last words or tips?
People often ask me what it’s like to be a writer. I'm an introvert and a homebody. When I write, I sit cross-legged on my living room couch with my laptop in my lap, a cup of hot tea on the coffee table, and a warm cat on either side of me. On a typical night, my dear husband is close by lounging in his easy chair watching Maryland Terps Basketball. When I need a little help with word choice, grammar, or male dialogue, he's my go to guy. (yes, my husband is a sweetheart!)How much better can it get?


  1. THANK YOU, Christine, for having me on your blog! You had great interview questions and I had a lot of fun answering your queries. Merry Semi-Precious Christmas!

  2. A good interview and good advice! I have joined a good writing group ;) and my husband is helping me overcome my fear of dealing with my second draft ("Just sit down and do it!") Full disclosure: Jan leads our writing group and is doing a great job of showing the way.

    1. Grin. Thanks, Tawn. Meeting with the group keeps me on task...most of the time. It's so nice to have an encouraging group!

  3. Another great interview Jan!
    Beautiful blog, Christine!
    Good luck and God's blessings to you both.