Friday, December 23, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Beth's story about Christmastime by the seaside

Welcome Beth Wiseman to the blog. She's a former journalist who decided to become a full-time novelist. Her stories are so intriguing! Today, she's here to talk about her holiday novel, Christmas by the Sea. Enjoy!

Here's the book blurb for Christmas by the Sea: A short story introduction to the Surf's Up novella collection. Each Surf’s Up novella takes the reader to a beach locale, weaving romance and adventure into a soul-soothing journey of hope.

Parker McIntyre is late evacuating Galveston Island prior to a hurricane, despite advisement from local Texas authorities. When Parker becomes trapped in rising floodwaters, he is going to drown if help doesn’t arrive soon. Fearing death and questioning his faith, he thinks about the young son he’ll be leaving behind.

Alexandria Hanson is on her way off the island to escape the immediate storm threat, but she spots a person trapped in the water. Alex—as she’s called by friends and family— isn’t adventuresome by nature. Helping the man is going to require great personal risk, but she can’t leave him to die.

As Alex joins Parker in the murky Gulf waters, a dangerous situation becomes even more serious as they wait to be rescued. With only each other to lean on, they attempt to quell their fears by praying together and sharing stories.

If Parker and Alex leave the island alive, will they have a chance to explore their feelings during the holiday season? Or will the opportunity be lost forever?

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Enjoy the interview with Beth!
Interview with Beth Wiseman, author of Christmas by the Sea:

Alexis: What a whimsical title for a Christmas story! How did you create it? 

Beth: Our family is very traditional when it comes to Christmas, so eating tacos by the ocean on Christmas wouldn’t be something we would consider. But I kept having a vision of Alexandria (Alex) with her father on the ocean’s edge celebrating Christmas. And even though her father had passed, I wanted her to be able to carry on that tradition.

Alexis: Galveston Island is the setting for your story. Is it based on a real-life island or pure fiction? Paint a picture of the island with words. 

Beth: Galveston Island is a real place on the Texas Gulf Coast, located about fifty miles southeast of Houston. It’s the city and beach that I frequently visited while I was growing up in Houston. Galveston is a barrier island that is not only appealing to beach lovers, it is also rich with history and offers fine dining and lots of shops on ‘The Strand’.

Alexis: Your story is said to take the reader to a “beach locale, weaving romance and adventure into a soul-soothing journey of hope.” Do you feel that your book accomplishes that purpose? Why or why not? 

Beth: Each Surf’s Up novella is at a beach, and there is an adventure and/or mystery in each story. But ultimately, the journey is a learning experience for the characters, leading them onto the right path for their specific trek. In Christmas by the Sea, Alex must face the possibility of two deaths in one evening, the parallels of a stranger she just met and her father. Despite the potential for her to fall apart, she relies on prayer. Parker also turns to prayer when things become desperate. When we face something difficult, and God sees us through it, I think that these challenges make us stronger, better, and that yes—through the strength of Christ, we can do all things. When the Holy Spirit is present, our souls are soothed.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero Parker McIntyre. What makes him relatable to your readers? What are his strengths and character flaws? 

Beth: Without giving away too much of the plot, Parker suffers an injury that might make some people bitter and angry. But instead of allowing anger to rule, he embraces his situation, happy to be alive. I think Parker is relatable to readers because we see his vulnerability. He’s a real person in a perilous situation, fearing death.

Alexis: Why does Parker wait too late to evacuate the island prior to a hurricane despite being warned by the local Texas authorities? 

Beth: Folks who live on the Texas Gulf Coast are used to storms and hurricanes. And oftentimes, locals who have ridden out storms in the past don’t feel the sense of urgency that they should. Thus is the case with Parker. He made a mistake. But it’s that mistake that leads Alex to him. Otherwise, they might not have ever met.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Alexandria Hanson. What are her strengths and character flaws? Describe her personality and include what moves her to help rescue Parker from the rising floodwaters. 

Beth: Alex is fearful that her father has died in the hospital while she is in the water with Parker. Even though grief threatens to consume her, she does what is necessary to keep Parker alive while they wait for help to arrive. Alex is stronger than she thinks, and when God pushes her to the limit, she learns this about herself.

Alexis: Leaving your hero and heroine surrounded by floodwater makes the story all the more interesting. Were these scenes difficult to write? Why or why not? 

Beth: I guess everyone has a fear of something, and I fear drowning, so it was particularly hard to write this story. But sometimes facing a fear is the best way not to let it get the best of you. And there was an important message here that I was trying to get across also.

Alexis: How much time do Alexandria and Parker spend in the floodwater? Hours? Days? What role does their faith in God play in this situation? 

Beth: Alex and Parker are in the floodwater for several hours. As two complete strangers, they cling to the one thing they are sure of—their faith.

Alexis: What lesson are you trying to teach your readers through this story? 

Beth: A couple of years ago, I had a severe reaction to an antibiotic. I was told I might die on the way to the hospital. Despite my strong faith, I was terrified. Later, when I was past the scare, it bothered me that I was as fearful as I was even though I completely believe in heaven and an afterlife. I wanted to show that through this story—that no matter how good of a Christian you might be, fear of death is still normal.

Alexis: If you could have Christmas dinner with Alexandria and Parker, what would be on the menu and what would be your talking points? 

Beth: Tacos would be on the menu, like in the story, and I would want Alex and Parker to explain to me how having Christmas tacos by the sea became a tradition for Alex and her father.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Beth! God bless you. 

Beth: Many blessings to you also! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Author bio: Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.5 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. 

She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published thirteen novels and thirteen novellas to date.

As a former newspaper reporter, Beth was honored by her peers with eleven journalism awards, including first place news writing for The Texas Press Association. She has been a humor columnist for The 1960 Sun in Houston and published articles in various publications. However, writing novels is where her heart is. She left her job as a journalist in 2008 to write novels full-time.

Beth has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas. Her first non-Amish, contemporary—Need You Now—released in April 2012 and landed on the CBA Bestseller List. She enjoyed writing the story based in a town near where she lives, and she chose another small Texas town for her next non-Amish contemporary—The House that Love Built—which is based in Smithville, the same quaint town where movies such as Hope Floats and Tree of Life were filmed. 

Beth continued to spread her wings when she released The Promise in October 2014. Inspired by actual events, The Promise follows Beth’s characters all the way to Pakistan. Beth was involved in the real-life rescue when her friend was held captive in Pakistan. Beth is currently working on book #2 in her new Amish Secrets series. Book #1—Her Brother’s Keeper—recently released and was chosen as a Top Pick by RT Reviews Magazine.

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying the country life in Texas with three dogs and a rooster. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family. You can find Beth at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers and on Twitter at

1 comment:

  1. I live in San Diego so we often hang out at the beach in the winter! We love riding bikes, having bonfires, and cooking in Dutch ovens.


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