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Saturday, December 2, 2023

It's Beginning to Read a Lot Like an International Christmas: Author Interview with Anna Jensen

What made you decide to write Christmas themed booksCould you give a short synopsis on the books for my readers?

I wanted to offer readers something from me at Christmas. I wondered about an advent or Christmas devotional, similar to others I have written, but then I got an idea for a fictional story.

I’d published an historical fiction novel earlier in 2021, and I fancied trying my hand at something more contemporary. Growing up in the UK, I was a member of an Anglican church. It was lively and fun but also centred on tradition, especially at times of the year like Christmas.

I decided to create a fictional church parish somewhere in London with a Christmas-loving vicar. In A Candle for Christmas, the first in the St. Saviours Seasonal Stories series, I wove four inter-related stories together around the four candles of advent – one for each of the Sundays in advent.

It was such fun to write, and enjoyed by readers, so I followed it in 2022 with The Nine Readings of Christmas, based on the service of Nine Lessons and Carols. I released a third novella, One Passing Easter, in the series this April. 

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

I find Christmas a tough time of year, to be honest! I moved from the UK to South Africa twenty-six years ago, and still struggle to get my head around the concept of a summer Christmas. So many of the traditions I loved growing up – dark evenings with candles and fairy lights; singing carols around our village; a long slow lunch, with mince pies and Christmas pudding; an afternoon winter walk on the beach – just don’t apply here. 
I think I wrote A Candle for Christmas out of my nostalgia for the familiar!

What’s next for you? 
I am currently writing my third historical fiction novel. Remembered Lives is a dual timeline story about the Anglo-Boer War and Liverpool Football Club (you’ll have to read it to understand the connection!).

Next year, I plan to continue the St Saviours series with a summer story – hopefully in collaboration with a friend to make it even more exciting!

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given you’d like to share?
Allen Arnold talks a lot about writing with God, rather than for him. It has revolutionised my writing, encouraging me to find the stories Jesus wants to tell rather than just conjuring up my own. 
It’s also a whole lot more fun! When I get stuck, I can just ask for help. I always come unstuck with great ideas or phrases which I know didn’t come from me.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?

I wish I’d realised that when we do it all with Jesus – the writing, the marketing, the hard work – it is so much more enjoyable and effective than when I thought of most things as something I had to hustle. His burden is light and his yoke is easy!

 Any last words or tips?
Connect with other authors and readers as much as possible! The upside of the global pandemic was that we all learnt new ways of connecting and building relationships. Journeying together makes the writing life so special.

Are there any other books that you’d like to tell my readers about?
I mentioned the historical fiction novels I write. I love exploring how ordinary people can do extraordinary things which impact into the future when our Creator God is involved – like when a stone is thrown into water, and the ripples seem endless. My series, 
The Ripples Through Time explores this concept.

Given Lives tells of a small village in the north of England impacted by the plague in 1665-6, and the decisions the community took to protect their neighbours. 300 years later, we are still talking about them. 

Secret Lives
is a WW2/present day story of young women volunteers working for the British Special Operations Executive as cryptanalysts and code breakers. Sworn to secrecy about their war work, many lived their entire lives without even family knowing of their contribution.

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Anna's books, here are some links to get you started.
Amazon: This gives you options for UK, USA, and South Africa

And here's tip for my readers... Sign up for her newsletter and a receive a free ebook, Seeking Light – a novella set in Poldark’s Cornwall. 

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