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Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Christmas Measure of Love: Author Interview with Linda Brooks Davis

Last year you released a Christmas novella and you are following it again with another one this year. What made you decide to write another Christmas novella?
After the release of The Calling of Ella McFarland in 2015, I heard from readers that they wanted more about Ella and Andrew's love story. What better way to do so than in a Christmas novella? In A Christmas to Remember, readers peek into the cottage on the banks of Rock Creek and see what's up in the Evans household three years later. I loved writing the novella, so I decided I'd write a collection, each pairing with my novel series.

This year's A Christmas Measure of Love not only catches readers up on Lily five years after The Calling of Ella McFarland but also serves as a prequel to the next full-length novel, which I hope will release in 2018. Both novellas are available in "combo" in A Rock Creek Christmas Collection. My plan is to add another novella to the collection in 2018.

Could you give me a short synopsis of the story for my readers?
Five years after The Calling of Ella McFarland, Lily—an abused girl Ella McFarland rescued in 1905—leaves Oklahoma for the College of Industrial Arts in Denton, Texas. Returning home for Christmas a different young woman, she wonders if others will notice the changes. But she never imagines what's waiting for her in the old sharecropper shack on the other side of Rock Creek.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
I particularly enjoy opening the ornaments bins and finding brand new treasures, although all are decades old—from the 1950s all the way to only a decade ago. There's something about revisiting Christmases past that touches my heart and gives Christmas present a beautiful glow.

You have an interesting section on your website called "Legacy Stories" where you have a start to some stories using your family history. Where do you think you will go with these stories?
Growing up, I often heard someone say after the telling of a family story, "Someone ought to write a book about that." Those stories of my ancestors overcoming hardship through faith and grit—and a desire to hand them down to my grandchildren—inspired me to write in the first place. 

Learning my heritage through and DNA inspired the brief openings to novel ideas I call "Legacy Stories" on my blog. After I finish my current set of three novels set in the first two decades of the twentieth century, Lord willing, I hope to expand those openings into full-length novels. Deciding which to tackle first will be quite the challenge. 

What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to
I'm currently working on Novel #2 in a series that begins with The Calling of Ella McFarland. This second novel is set just as WWI is breaking out in Europe and a battle of a different sort is raging in Lily's life. Women have yet to gain the vote. The consequences of their being denied a voice in their governance are numerous and varied. Lily learns a dreadful consequence in an Oklahoma courtroom on a hot July day in 1914. And her life is never the same again.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been give that you’d like to share?
When asked this question, I always think of Jerry Jenkins saying, "Get the story down." This speaks to me because I tend to keep going back over what I've already written, tweaking something here and there, which can sometimes turn into a bog of quicksand. Other sage advice from Jenkins: "When I know my deadline date, I figure how many words I have to write each day to meet it. And I write them. I don't write ahead, only my day's requirement, and I enjoy the rest of my day." When I follow his advice, I feel FREE.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
Decide why you want to write. If the answer is dependent on accolades or financial gain, you might want to reconsider. Develop a thick skin means exactly that! 

Follow the advice of experts like Jerry Jenkins whether it feels natural at first or not. 
And be prepared to wait ... and wait ... and wait some more. In the meantime, keep writing every single day. 

Any last words or tips?
I remember being a bit stunned at the first Christian Writers’ conference I attended to see the authors supporting, encouraging, and promoting other authors. It seemed counter-intuitive at the time, but isn't that how Jesus' teaching affected people in the First Century? And when we read the Sermon on the Mount today? It reminds me of something my wise and wonderful father said to me once: "If you find happiness in receiving, you'll never be happy because there will never be an end to what you want to receive. But if you find happiness in giving, you'll always be happy because there will never be an end to what you can give."

Great words of advice! That’s all for today’s interview. If you would like to learn more about Linda’s books, here are a few links to get you started.

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