Monday, December 19, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Interview with author Linda Rondeau


Welcome Linda Rondeau to the blog today! She's here to talk about her new novel, Miracle on Maple Street. Here's the dreamy cover of her book:


Book blurb: “Christmas is a time for miracles,” Ryan McDougal tells his mother, when he is told that a long lost cousin, Millie, has resurfaced after nearly forty years, the cousin whose picture his mother clasped the day his father abandoned him. Though they occurred decades apart, he always believed the two disappearances were connected like opposite links of a chain. With Millie’s arrival, perhaps he might finally receive the answers he so desperately sought. 

However, Ryan has a third thorn in his side, more devastating than any mystery. His wife, the love of his life, has left his arms and his bed. How long before she moves out of the house and takes his beloved son with her? He prays for his own Christmas miracle. Millie’s anticipated visit prompts Ryan’s mother to reveal secrets that bring all to light. However, when past and present collide, the truth is more than Ryan can bear.

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Enjoy my interview with Linda! 
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Interview with Linda Rondeau, author of Miracle on Maple Street:

Alexis: I like the title for your Christmas story. How did you think of it?

Linda: The title is “borrowed” from the Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street". No, there’s no Santa Claus in this story, but a miracle does take place—one of spiritual healing for four people that has been four decades in the making.

Ryan says, “Sometimes miracles happen instantaneously and sometimes miracles happen over time.”

Alexis: Why did you write Miracle on Maple Street?

Linda: This story evolved over fifteen years. It is actually a revision of the first novel I ever wrote, and that was developed from a short story titled, "Marigolds Don’t Hold Grudges".

The idea first came to me when I reunited with my long-lost cousin. We hadn’t been in contact for twenty years. For us, it was merely the fact that life pulled us in different directions. It was wonderful when we saw each other again and relived wonderful memories. Now we make a much better effort to stay in touch. That made me wonder what sort of things could separate two cousins who loved each other deeply? That question led to a lot of, “what ifs” and Miracle of Maple Street evolved.

Alexis: What do you want your readers to remember most about this story?

Linda: That forgiveness is a two-way street. Sometimes we stand ready to forgive the person who wronged us; yet we fail to acknowledge that we may have contributed to the wrong done to us. We need to ask forgiveness for our part.

Also, we fail to forgive ourselves. We wear our guilt, like Dicken’s Marley, the chains we forged in life.

If God casts our sins into the sea of his forgetfulness, then we mitigate his cleansing power when we continue to be weighed down by them.

Alexis: There’s an air of mystery surrounding your main character Millie. Why? Tell us about her role in this story.

Linda: Ryan McDougal woke to a boyhood Christmas and found his father had disappeared and his mother clutches a mysterious photograph of a teenage cousin who ran away on her 16th birthday. His mother spends the better part of two decades in depression. Ryan feels like an orphan. And he wonders what part the picture plays in his mother’s sadness and his father’s disappearance.

Although Millie’s disappearance and his father’s abandonment occurred decades apart, Ryan believes they are somehow connected, like opposite links to a chain.

When his mother receives a letter that her cousin Millie is visiting for Christmas, He wonders why the cousin returns after nearly four decades. Could it be a sign? Ryan seizes the opportunity to confront his mother once and for all as to how the events connect. He can’t explain how, but he also believes his wife’s rejection is in the mix of mysteries that only Millie will unravel.

We don’t know Millie’s story until later in the book. But we learn that after she ran away from home, her life followed a much different path than his mother. Did Millie’s faith make a difference?

Millie will be the source to answer Ryan’s question, "Why didn’t my father ever come back?"

As Ryan’s mother answers these two questions, Ryan discovers the reasons for his wife’s emotional withdrawal. The pain of her revelation is more than he can bear. Will he abandon his family as his father did?

When Millie arrives, she finds a family torn apart. Through the miracle of her story, the family finds hope and a place where healing can begin.

Alexis: Tell us about Ryan. What makes him the hero of your story? Share insight into his character, flaws and strength.

Linda: Ryan wants to think of himself as a Cal Ripken, the baseball player famous for the most consecutive games played as of the setting for this story. He has grown tired of his wife’s rejection and wonders if he can “stay in the game.” He’s a good man, a good son, and tries to be a good father, and he thought he’d been a good husband. Through introspection, he sees he is flawed and in need of redemption.

Alexis: What kind of miracle are your characters hoping will happen? Why?

Linda: Ryan believes his mother’s reunion with her long-lost cousin is her miracle. He desires a healed relationship with his wife, and perhaps to finally receive an explanation why his father abandoned the family.

Alexis: You touch on emotional abandonment, which is an issue in real life. In what ways do you hope that your fictional story world will help people in the real world?

Linda: Sometimes forgiveness is a two-way street. We are quick to realize the wrong someone has done to us; however, we fail to recognize our own contribution to the problem. Sometimes we fail to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Sometimes, emotional abandonment leaves a deep hole and mars our ability to receive love for fear we’ll be rejected once again.

Alexis: Why did you choose to make this story set at Christmastime?

Linda: Christmas is a time of deep reflection. Millie’s visit, prompts the long avoided conversation between Ryan and his mother that brings all into light. As Ryan begins to realize his need for a Savior, he contemplates the babe in the manger. When his internal struggle ends he says, “Finally, all is calm and all is bright.”

Alexis: Was there anything or anyone that you couldn’t live without while writing this story? If so, explain.

Linda: Food. When I write, I get really hungry, but I don’t like stopping to eat. I’m grateful for a spouse that likes to cook. He yells to me, “Ready!” We share our meals then I go back to work.

Alexis: Complete this sentence: If I needed a miracle, I would _________________________because________________________.

Linda: If I needed a miracle, I would ask God to reveal himself to my prodigal son because now he has a child who is curious about life. I pray that he will get right with God so he can show his little girl who he is. 

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Linda! Merry Christmas!


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Author bio:
Winner of the 2012 Selah Award and Carol Award finalist Linda Wood Rondeau writes to offer hope for those with damaged lives and demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. 

After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida. When not writing, the author enjoys golfing, hiking, and spending time with her best friend in life, her husband of nearly forty years. 

Her recent release, Miracle on Maple Street, has already won the hearts of many. 
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Buy Linda's book on Amazon
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Connect with Linda: Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com where they’ll find a list of her books and her blog, Snark and Sensibility. Email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads. 

2 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the interview with Linda. I have read and loved Miracle on Maple Street.

    ReplyDelete